2013 Favorite Children’s Books through YA

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and life is treating you well. We’ve been enduring some horrific weather here in Illinois. Today the high temperature has come and gone: -8 degrees F! It snowed all day yesterday and the temps dropped last night. Everything is blowing and freezing. If you’re affected by these conditions please stay safe and warm.

Now onto my post; my 2013 favorite children’s books. I have four books on my list, but I am holding Dragon Defender by J.A. Blackburn back due to the fact that I am participating in the blog tour on January 20th hosted by MotherDaughter Book Reviews. I don’t want to spoil my review so I’ll focus on the other three.

First on my list is The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove. I love baseball and I loved this book. If you missed it you can take a look at my review here.

 “I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, “Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?” I was only nine, but mom said, “come on, let’s play.” This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He’s grinning, because he took mom’s five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got me, because we didn’t have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get mom back something, you know, for her five bucks.” A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.

Next is a real gem I came across called And Don’t Bring Jeremy by Marilyn Levinson. This is a timeless classic in my opinion, and guess what? Baseball is a theme in the book. Guess I’m kind of predictable. You can read my review here

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And Don’t Bring Jeremy

Sixth-grader Adam Krasner wishes every family decision wasn’t based on his brother Jeremy and Jeremy’s problems. The Krasners have even moved  to a new town because it has a great school system for kids with disabilities. If only Jeremy didn’t always act so goofy. And if only their mother didn’t insist that both brothers be placed on the same Little League team, especially since Jeremy couldn’t catch a fly ball if his life depended on it.

Making friends in a new school isn’t easy, which is why Adam’s excited when Eddie, his coach’s son, starts spending time with him. Eddie’s the best player on their team and in seventh grade, like Jeremy. Eddie invites Adam to join some of the team for pizza before Saturday’s game. Adam’s about to ask if Jeremy can come, too,, when Eddie tells him, “And don’t bring Jeremy.”

Adam becomes friendly with some of the members of the team. Eddie, he soon learns, often lies and makes fun of Jeremy every chance he can. Still, when Eddie comes to apologize, Adam agrees to be friends again. Issues continue to escalate between Jeremy and Eddie. And then Jeremy’s accused of doing something truly awful, forcing Adam to take a stand and support his brother.

And finally we have The Newstead Project by Melanie Schultz. I couldn’t put this book down. I highly recommend it, and guess what? No baseball. You can read my review here.


The giant.

Joel Cranston shouldn’t exist. He just doesn’t know that yet. He’s lived a pretty normal life for the last sixteen years. If you consider being almost seven feet tall and good at about every sport you’ve ever played normal. Normal ends the day Newstead shows up with an invitation to come to their school.

The school.

Newstead is a private high school in Central Vermont by the Green Mountains. It’s a great place to hide a few hundred people who shouldn’t exist while you train them to become tomorrow’s rulers, tomorrow’s dictators, tomorrow’s gods.

The unexpected.

Rachel Newell thinks she’s just passing through. She never stays any place more than four months and with Newstead so close to Weston, she has even more reason to make this her shortest stop ever. The last thing she expects is to have a reason to stay. Together Rachel and Joel uncover the truth behind what is the newstead project.

Well that’s it folks; my 2013 favorite children’s books. I hope you had a chance to read them and, if not, get the chance this year. You won’t be disappointed. What were your favorite children’s books (through YA) of 2013? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear from you. 

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Hoping you are getting some warmer weather!

    I haven’t read any of these book, but they sound great. I think The Real Boy was one of my top favorite reads of 2013.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Jess,
    Great to hear from you. I hope all is well.


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