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Just For Fun

2015’s Biggest Moments in Children’s and YA Literature

by Devon A. Corneal

The problem with capturing the world of children’s and YA books in 2015 isn’t finding amazing, incredible, interesting, or unexpected events, it’s narrowing them down to fit into a single post. We could write a book (pun intended) about what made 2015 special, but we’ve tried to winnow it down to a manageable list. Let us know what we’ve missed, or what you loved in this remarkable year.

Magnus-ChaseSeries and sequels were big this year. Rick Riordan left ancient Greece and Rome behind and turned his eye to the Norse myths with Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer. Percy Jackson fans, don’t despair, I’m pretty sure you haven’t seen the last of him. The Day the Crayons Came Home, the companion to the fantastic The Day the Crayons Quit, made its debut and it was just as quirky and clever as we’d hoped. Teens had something to look forward to as well when Jenny Han released P.S. I Still Love You, book two in the popular To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series.An-Ember-in-the-Ashes

2015 also welcomed An Ember in the Ashes, a big debut from Sabaa Tahir that has been described as a mix of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Expect big things in 2016 from this now bestselling author.

In a wonderfuwhat-pet-should-I-getl mix of twists and turns, we also saw unexpected books from authors we loved as children. Seventy-five years after Caps for Sale was published, you can enjoy double the caps and double the fun with More Caps for Sale. Although Dr. Seuss is no longer with us, he also published a new book this year, What Pet Should I Get?

In another odd twist, Anne Frank got a co-author. Not to worry, her diary is still her own. It’s just a legal move to extend Diary of a Young Girl’s copyright.

Books embracing the diversity of children’s and young Redadults’ lives were also front and center in 2015. The magnificent George tackled LGBTQ issues, as did Gracefully Grayson. Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall, helped young readers think about loving themselves for who they are, not who society might expect them to be. Readers with physical challenges could relate to Cammie McGovern’s A Step Toward Falling, proving again that she has a unique ability to make her character’s disabilities just one facet of their complex and engaging lives.

If you headed to the theatre, you probably saw some of the great The Little Princeclassics reimagined for the big screen. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was brought to life in “Pan” — Hugh Jackman makes a fine Captain Hook if I do say so myself. Cinderella danced her way to the ball, and seeing the The Little Prince animated made me cry. Less classic, but certainly no less loved, the Goosebumps series also made it to film this year, just in time for Halloween, of course.

Filmmakers also brought some of our favorite YA books to life. The final installment of The Hunger Games, “Mockingjay, Part 2,” kept us on the edge of our seats as Katniss and mockingjayPresident Snow went to war. Tris and Four were back in the adaptation of Insurgent. And teenagers checked out director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s touching and funny “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”.

Adults got into coloring books, discovering what kids have known forever — coloring inside and outside the lines is fun no matter how old you are. Some of our favorites are by Johanna Basford, who creates whimsical and detailed drawings that beg to be colored.

Alice-in-WonderlandSpeaking of adults, Eloise turned 60! Alice in Wonderland turned 150! They’d be horrified to see themselves with wrinkles, and Eloise would die if she knew what happened to The Plaza. Strega Nona, on the other hand, turned 40. She should stay out of the sun, because she looks waaaay older than that.

MadelineIn the art world, original paintings by Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the timeless and quintessentially Parisian Madeline, went on the auction block, which means someone now owns a small piece of history.

We mourned when the Harry Potter series ended, but now is the time for rejoicing, because in 2015 J.K. Rowling announced that she is working on Harry-Potteranother Harry Potter story. Sort of. Rowling is writing a play, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” that tells the story of Harry and his son Albus. I can’t even imagine how long the lines for those tickets will be.

Expectations are equally high for John Green’s next book. In September, he announced a social media hiatus so he could focus on writing. Teenage girls are already stocking up on Kleenex. Okay? Okay.

Studies continued to show that reading to your children is good for their brains. So pull out those books and fill their heads with wonder.

And in news close to our hearts, Brightly made its official debut this year, making it possible for all of us to share our love of all things reading with all of you. Here’s to another year in which anything is possible.