Top kids' books of 2008

Mar 24, 2010 at 2:01 p.m. ET

In a year with no new Harry Potter releases, what's a kid to read? Fortunately, more than a few authors stepped up to take the spaces vacated on the bestseller lists by the great Ms. Rowling.


Teens took solace in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn all did their time on the New York Times Bestseller List. The books, in case you don't have a teenager in the house, are about a teen girl who falls in love with a vampire. Also, her best friend happens to be a werewolf. It's a fantastic love story teens are devouring -- and if you happen to pick up a copy yourself, you won't regret it.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Younger readers -- particularly reluctant ones -- enjoyed Diary of a Wimpy Kid and its sequel Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. The books, written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, are a journal kept by middle-schooler Greg, who illustrates his narrative with cartoons. Both are New York Times Bestsellers. Look for the third book in the series in January -- it should hit the List by February at the latest.

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village

Of course, it's not just the bestseller lists that identify great books. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year. The 2008 winner is Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, a group of interconnected monologues. The speeches, all told by characters between 10 to 15 years old, give a unique glimpse into medieval life.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Another award given annually to children's books is the Caldecott Medal of Honor. This medal awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American Picture Book for Children published in the United States during the preceding year. The award is given to the artist, even if he or she is not the author of the book. The 2008 Caldecott was awarded to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. It's the story of an orphan who lives in hiding in a Paris train station in the 1930s, and spends his time puzzling over an invention left to him by his father. The story is told in words and pictures, and the book provides hours of pleasure for children and adults.

If you'd like to take a look at other award-winning books, take a trip to your local library and ask to see your state's chosen children's books.?

For more book ideas for kids:

5 top book series to read with your kids
Top 10 kids' books for fall
7 Books to read aloud with your teen or tween