Celebrating 20 Years of Sonderbooks: Favorites from 2016

20 years ago this month, I began writing Sonderbooks!

To celebrate, I’m looking back at each wonderful year of reading and reminiscing about some extra-special favorites.

Today I’m looking at the 2016 Sonderbooks Stand-outs.

For Grown-Ups

Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy, by Anne Leckie

This amazing award-winning science fiction series follows a person who was once a sentient ship. As a ship, they had been able to experience the world through many ancillary bodies, and the ship was destroyed when one ancillary was away from the ship. Now they live on, with all the knowledge and experience of the ship.

Den of Wolves, by Juliet Marillier

The third and final book in Juliet Marillier’s wonderful Blackthorn & Grim trilogy.

Champagne for the Soul: Rediscovering God’s Gift of Joy, by Mike Mason

This is my favorite book ever for going through in a church small group. He’s got ninety short meditations on joy and helps you look for joy in your daily life, a wonderful habit to start.

Soar Above: How to Use the Most Profound Part of Your Brain Under Any Kind of Stress, by Steven Stosny

Steven Stosny’s books are great at helping you rise above difficulties. This one doesn’t talk about a specific situation such as marital difficulties, so can apply to anyone who wants a happier and more meaningful life.

Camino Divina: Walking the Divine Way, A Book of Moving Meditations with Likely & Unlikely Saints, by Gina Mammano

Gina was my good friend from college, and she passed away a few years ago from colon cancer. Before she did, she wrote this beautiful book of walking meditations. Each chapter highlights a different poet or author and gives you lines to mull over as you walk with the words.

How To Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of Mathematics, by Eugenia Cheng

Here’s a general interest book about the mathematics of Category Theory, using recipes as examples.

Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science – and the World, by Rachel Swaby

This book has short, readable biographies of 52 important women in science who are not household names but should be.

For Teens

The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry

A beautiful novel about a medieval mystic and miracle-worker being hunted by Inquisitors.

23 Minutes, by Vivian Vande Velde

A girl has the ability to rewind time precisely 23 minutes. When she’s witness to a bank robbery and someone dies, she keeps trying to do something to change those 23 minutes and make everyone survive. This turns out to be more difficult that she thinks at first.

My Lady Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

A playful novelization of the life of Lady Jane Grey — with magic. Instead of Protestants and Catholics, we’ve got shapeshifters and non-magic users. Things also don’t end up as tragically for the people involved, so it’s a nice feel-good tale.

For Children

The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

An incredibly moving tale about an abused girl with a clubfoot who gets evacuated during World War II and finds a surprising new family.

The Creeping Shadow, by Jonathan Stroud

Book Four of Lockwood & Co., the series where ghosts roam an alternate-reality London, and the agency run by kids starts tracking down why this happened.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, by John David Anderson

A heartwarming story about three sixth-grade boys who devise a plan to ditch school and do something special for their teacher in the hospital. Then every part of their plan begins to go wrong.

Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

The story of a fox and his boy, separated by circumstance, trying to find one another again, in a landscape scarred by war.

A Hungry Lion, Or: A Dwindling Assortment of Animals, by Lucy Ruth Cummins

The title of this picture book makes me laugh every time I see it. There is some eating in this book. There are also some surprises. Delightfully silly.

Grumpy Pants, by Clare Messer

A wonderful solution to toddler grumpiness — blame it on your underpants and wash your grumpiness away.

Nanette’s Baguette, by Mo Willems

One of my favorite books to read aloud! A Mo Willems tongue twister about a little frog who — accidentally — eats the baguette she was entrusted to buy.

If you’ve missed any of these books, I recommend making up for lost time! And there are more on the 2016 Sonderbooks Stand-out page!

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