The Orange Marmalade Juicies!! — Best of 2016

This is my second year giving out the Orange Marmalade Juicy Book Awards.


There are plenty of august review committees naming the best illustrated or all-around best books published in the past year and I love seeing who garners those prestigious awards.

My goal is to highlight books that epitomize some core values of my blog and draw attention to them. Each title is linked to my original review and has an Amazon link.

With buckets of thanks and heartfelt admiration for the authors, illustrators, and publishing teams, here are the Orange Marmalade Juicies for 2016.





The Juiciest: This is My Dollhouse
Giselle Potter/Schwartz&Wade
Giselle Potter consistently delivers stories commending imagination. This book is proof that creating it yourself with tape, scissors, and the odd bits and bobs makes playtime juicier.
Amazon link: This is My Dollhouse

Oh-So-Juicy: Secret Tree Fort
Brianne Farley/Candlewick
Amazon link: Secret Tree Fort

Oh-So-Juicy: Captain Jack and the Pirates
Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury/Dial Books
Amazon Link: Captain Jack


Outdoor Play



The Juiciest: Dragonfly Kites
Tomson Highway and Julie Flett/Fifth House Publishers

I love this narrative of a First Nations family summering in the great out-of-doors along with all the delights of a simple, nature-filled life. Julie Flett’s illustrations are utterly captivating as usual.
Amazon link: Dragonfly Kites

Oh-So-Juicy:Yellow Time
Lauren Stringer/Beach House Books
Amazon Link: Yellow Time

Oh-So-Juicy: Finding Wild
Megan Wagner Lloyd and Abigail Halpin/Knopf Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: Finding Wild


Cultural Diversity



The Juiciest: The Journey
Francesca Sanna/Flying Eye Books

Probably my favorite book of the year, Sanna’s piercing elucidation of the refugee experience stuns me every time I look at it.  Brilliant, relevant, and world-expanding.
Amazon Link: The Journey

Oh-So-Juicy:We Came to America
Faith Ringgold/Knopf Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: We Came to America

Oh-So-Juicy:Mabrook: A World of Muslim Weddings
Na’ima B. Robert and Shirin Adl/Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Amazon Link: Mabrook


Quiet Books



The Juiciest:The White Cat and the Monk:A Retelling of the Poem “Pangur Bán”
Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith/Groundwood Books

The aesthetics of this quiet story are stupendous. Text and illustration work together to shine a gentle light on solitude, thoughtfulness, and purpose. Extraordinary.
Amazon Link: The White Cat

Oh-So-Juicy: You Belong Here
M.H. Clark and Isabelle Arsenault/Compendium
Amazon Link: You Belong Here

Oh-So-Juicy: Cricket Song
Anne Hunter/HMH Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: Cricket Song





The Juiciest: A Year of Borrowed Men
Michelle Barker and Renne Benoit/Pajama Press

Kindness soothes the world. This story of kindness towards enemies and kindness at great cost is particularly heart-warming and inspiring.
Amazon Link: Borrowed Men

Oh-So-Juicy: A Hat for Mrs. Goldman:A Story about Knitting and Love
Michelle Edwards and G. Brian Karas/Schwartz&Wade
Amazon Link: Mrs. Goldman

Oh-So-Juicy: How to Share with a Bear
Eric Pinder and Stephanie Graegin/Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: How to Share


Love for the Earth



The Juiciest:This is the Earth
Diane Z. Shore, Jessica Alexander and Wendell Minor/HarperCollins

Restoration and sustenance of the health, glory, and sheltering capacity of our planet is one of the issues that moves me most. I love the vision set forth in this gorgeous, hopeful book.
Amazon Link: This is the Earth

Oh-So-Juicy: Otters Love to Play
Jonathan London and Meilo So/Candlewick
Amazon Link: Otters

Oh-So-Juicy: The Bear Report
Thyra Heder/Harry N. Abrams
Amazon Link: Bear Report


And this year’s Ten Extras…in which I squeeze in a few books that don’t fit in my categories but I can’t resist recognizing:


Most Captivating Portrait of Jesus:


miracle-man-cover-imageMiracle Man: The Story of Jesus
John Hendrix/Harry N. Abrams
Amazon Link: Miracle Man


Hurrah! You Put a Nursing Mom in a Picture Book:

lets-go-to-the-hardware-store-cover-imageLet’s Go to the Hardware Store
Anne Rockwell and Melissa Iwai/Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: Hardware Store


Best Old Book I Discovered This Year:

an-episode-of-sparrows-cover-imageAn Episode of Sparrows
Rumer Godden/New York Review Children’s Collection
Amazon Link: Episode of Sparrows


Loveliest Vision of Community Transformation

the-night-gardener-cover-imageThe Night Gardener
Terry Fan and Eric Fan/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: The Night Gardener


Pluckiest Goblin

nobody-likes-a-goblin-cover-imageNobody Likes a Goblin
Ben Hatke/First Second
Amazon Link: Goblin


Most Likely to Get a Smile from J.R.R. Tolkien

du-iz-tak-cover-imageDu Iz Tak?
Carson Ellis/Candlewick
Amazon Link: Du Iz Tak


Most Thought-provoking Depiction of Strength

real-cowboys-cover-imageReal Cowboys
Kate Hoefler and Jonathan Bean/HMH Books for Young Readers
Amazon Link: Real Cowboys


Best Secret Tunnel Ever

the-secret-subway-cover-imageThe Secret Subway
Shana Corey and Red Nose Studio/Schwartz&Wade
Amazon Link: Secret Subway


Swizzliest Display of the Joys of Reading

a-child-of-books-cover-imageA Child of Books
Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston/Candlewick
Amazon Link: Child of Books


Most Vivid Voice for Freedom

dont-cross-the-line-cover-imageDon’t Cross the Line
Bernardo Carvalho and Isabel Minhos Martins/Gecko Press
Amazon Link: Don’t Cross the Line