The 2019 Orange Marmalade Juicy Book Awards

Awarding my annual Juicies provides me with the great pleasure of looking back at all the books I’ve loved over the past year —
such fascinating, beautiful, expansive places I’ve traveled via their pages!
Yet whittling down the list to arrive at just these few is tough!

These titles outstandingly reflect six core values of Orange Marmalade.
An extra List of Ten gives me wiggle room to include a few gems that don’t fit as easily into those groupings.
Click on the title to read my review.

As always, I am immensely appreciative of the tremendous skill and love poured into these books by authors, artists, and publishing teams. Thanks to you all!


Here are the 2019 Orange Marmalade Juicies!


run wild cover image

The Juiciest: Run Wild
David Covell/Viking Books for Young Readers

The untamed joys of free-wheeling outdoor exploration, the deliciousness of bare feet and fiddlehead ferns, breezes and racing rabbits, explode from the pages of this stunning ode to playfulness in the great out-of-doors.

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Oh-So-Juicy: We Are Brothers
Yves Nadon and Jean Claverie/Creative Editions

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Oh-So-Juicy: Everything You Need for a Treehouse
Carter Higgins and Emily Hughes/Chronicle Books


adrian simcox cover

The Juiciest: Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse
Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken/Dial Books for Young Readers

The richness of imagination, its ability to lift us above our circumstances, its nondiscriminatory dispersal across economic and cultural divides is on display in this thoughtful, brilliantly-illustrated, story.

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Oh-So-Juicy: Grains of Sand
Sibylle Delacroix/Owlkids

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Oh-So-Juicy: The Little Barbarian
Renato Moriconi/Eerdmans Books for Young Readers


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The Juiciest: The Patchwork Bike
Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd/Candlewick

A zest for life, the thrill of speed, the possibilities for inventiveness, the love of home, shine amidst the grit and verve of a Muslim household in the desert, uniting these siblings to their compatriots across the globe.

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Oh-So-Juicy: Saffron Ice Cream
Rashin Kheiriyeh/Arthur A. Levine Books


Oh-So-Juicy: Seven Pablos
Jorge Luján, Chiara Carrer, Mara Lethem/Enchanted Lion Books


they say blue cover

The Juiciest: They Say Blue
Jillian Tamaki/Harry N. Abrams

A child’s naive observations, ponderings, wonderings, glide and transition like velvet from one page to the next in this stream of color, life, and small things, calling us to slow down, consider, appreciate, luxuriate in the ordinary splendors of our world.

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Oh-So-Juicy: Tiny Perfect Things
M.H. Clark and Madeline Kloepper/Compendium Inc.

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Oh-So-Juicy: All the Animals Where I Live
Philip C. Stead/Roaring Brook Press


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The Juiciest: Mustafa
Marie-Louise Gay/Groundwood Books

In a world of overwhelmingly large-scale problems, it is the small, individual, day-to-day acts of kindness that transform lives. The simple reaching out of one child to another, an effort of welcome and kindness, is a healing force in this tender story.

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Oh-So-Juicy: Pie is for Sharing
Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and Jason Chin/Roaring Brook Press

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Oh-So-Juicy: Louisiana’s Way Home
Kate DiCamillo/Candlewick


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The Juiciest: The Elephant
Jenni Desmond/Enchanted Lion Books

Jenni Desmond’s brilliant exploration of the glories of elephants is utterly compelling, making us fall in love with these intelligent creatures. Her combination of epic, wrinkled, enormousness and merry panache is irresistible. How can we not long to protect such magnificent beings after such an introduction?

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Oh-So-Juicy: The Golden Glow
Benjamin Flouw/Tundra Books

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Oh-So-Juicy: The Variety of Life
Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie/Sterling Children’s Books


Favorite New Black History Read

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So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Towards Freedom
Gary D. Schmidt and Daniel Minter/Roaring Brook Press
(My review of this book will appear on January 21.)

Best Old Book I Just Discovered

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Minnow on the Say
Philippa Pearce/Oxford University Press

All-Around Loveliest Picture Book

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Hello Lighthouse
Sophie Blackall/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Jolliest Book in a Dreary Year

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Sports are Fantastic Fun
Ole Könnecke/Gecko Press

Most Thought-provoking Biography

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The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler
John Hendrix/Harry N. Abrams

Dearest Father-Son Relationship

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Night Job
Karen Hesse and G. Brian Karas/Candlewick

Most Marvelous Ode to Trees

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The Things That I Love About Trees
Chris Butterworth and Charlotte Voake/Candlewick

Most Accessible Refugee Read for Young Children

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Marwan’s Journey
Patricia de Arias and Laura Borràs/minedition

Most Gorgeous Minnesota Book

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Hush, Hush Forest
Mary Casanova and Nick Wroblewski/University of Minnesota Press

Best Portrait of “The Beautiful Game” in a World Cup Year

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The Field
Baptiste Paul and Jacqueline Alcántara/NorthSouth Books


And so, onward we go to uncover all the juiciest of books in 2019!

You can find past Orange Marmalade Juicies’ Lists here, here, and here.