This end-of-the-year column features several of my own favorite children’s authors who published new books this past year.

“Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick, 2011, Scholastic, Ages 9 and up.

The story of Ben, a deaf boy, who loses his mother and searches for his father, is told through words. Interspersed between the chapters is the story of Rose, which unfolds through beautifully detailed and compelling illustrations. Although their story begins 50 years apart, the lives of these characters collide unexpectedly in New York City, where both long for someone they love. Brian Selznick is the author of The” Invention of Hugo Cabret”, which is the basis for the movie Hugo, currently in theaters.

“Waiting for the Magic” by Patricia MacLachlan, Illustrated by Amy June Bates, 2011, Atheneum, Ages 8-12.

As William’s parents are drifting apart, he finds security in the new members to his family, four dogs and a cat. These furry friends with the large eyes remind the family of the love and support each one must give to make their family strong. Patricia MacLachlan also wrote “Sarah Plain and Tall”.

“PIE” by Sarah Weeks, 2011, Scholastic Press, Ages 8 and up.

When Alice’s Aunt Polly, the award winning pie maker, passes away, it seems like everyone wants to get their hands on her pie crust recipe. Through her work to solve her beloved aunt’s pie mystery, Alice realizes others close by are also important in her life. Recipes for pies, such as sour cherry and buttermilk appear throughout the book. This one will make you hungry for pie! Sarah Weeks’ other books also include “So B. It and Oggie Cooder”.

“City of Orphans” by Avi, Illustrations by Greg Ruth, 2011, Ages 10-14.

In 1893, the streets of New York City held children whose immigrant parents spoke little English and worked in low paying jobs, when they could find work at all. These children faced illness, hunger, and dangers as they tried to eek out an existence for their family or even on their own. Maks Geless, one of these children, works as a newsie, selling the daily newspaper on the street corner. Although only thirteen, Max takes on the responsibility of contributing to the rent money, protecting his younger brothers, and getting his older sister out of jail for a crime she did not commit. Through these difficulties, Maks realizes who is really his friend. Avi is also the author of “Crispin: The Cross of Lead”.

Get the new year off to a great start with a good book.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler