ALSC – 2012 Notable Children’s Books

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, and outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways.
Source: All rights reserved.

This particular collection only includes some of the notable books of ALSC’s Notable Children’s Books of 2012 list.


A Monster Calls (2011)

Written by Patrick Ness

Illustrated by Jim Kay

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting—he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd—whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself—Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined. This book is recommended for young adults ages 12 and up. (Copyright © Candlewick/Random House. All rights reserved.)

Source:  Penguin Random House Company.

Patrick Ness was born in the US in 1971, living in the western states of Hawaii, Washington and California, before moving to England in 1999.

He studied English Literature at the University of Southern California, and worked as a corporate writer at a cable company, before the publication of his first novel, The Crash of Hennington, in 2003. His second book was a collection of short stories, Topics About Which I Know Nothing (2004).

In 2008, he published the first in his 'Chaos Walking' trilogy for young adults, The Knife of Never Letting Go. It is set in a dystopian world where everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts. This book won the 2008 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal. In 2009, the second book in the trilogy, The Ask and the Answer, won the Costa Children's Book Award. The third book, Monsters of Men, was published in 2010.

Patrick Ness has taught Creative Writing at Oxford University, and written journalism and criticism for the Sunday Telegraph, the Daily Telegraph, and the Times Literary Supplement. He currently reviews books for The Guardian. He has also been a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, and in 2009 was the first Writer in Residence for Booktrust.

For more information on Patrick Ness and his works, visit his website at

Jim Kay's first love was for art and for natural history, in particular for botany and entomology and its relationship with the environment. He attended the University of Westminster based at the Harrow Campus, the vantage point for the best views of London in the smog which was used by Victorian painters.

Jim Kay studied illustration and worked in the archives of the Tate Gallery and the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, two experiences that heavily influence his work. His images for A Monster Calls use everything from beetles to breadboards to create interesting marks and textures. Jim Kay lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

For more information on Jim Kay and his works, visit his website at


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