TC&TBC’s Top 10 Favorite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens and Teens

The Book Connection recently posted its Top 10 Favorite Books of 2009, and we’re going to do that now too.  While choosing only 10 out of all the books we reviewed in 2009 is tough, we’re going to give it our best shot and then hand out a few honorable mentions.

Feel free to share some favorites of your own!

TC&TBC’s Top 10 Favorite Books of 2009 for Kids, Tweens and Teens

10. Princess Tea by Janeen Sarlin

  9. Wenda the Wacky Wiggler by Christopher Aslan

   8. One Noble Journey by Dixie Phillips

   7. Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish by Linda Thieman

   6. State of Quarries by Elysabeth Eldering

   5. The Legend of the Golden Monkey by Renee Hand

   4. Across the Pond by Storyheart

   3. Just Breeze by Beverly Stowe McClure

   2. The Secret of the Sacred Scarab by Fiona Ingram

   1. It’s Not About Me by Michelle Sutton

Honorable Mentions

Slob by Ellen Potter

Cynthia’s Attic: The Magician’s Castle by Mary Cunningham

The Peril of the Sinister Scientist by Janet Ann Collins

Freckleface and the Dodgeball Bully by Julianne Moore

Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley

A Talent for Quiet by Kim Chatel

The Puzzle King by Nadia Cordelia Craft

Moonbeam Dreams by Gina Browning

Jamie’s Dream by Susan Berger

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Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O’Connor

Do you have a family of goodie lovers?  If you say no, I probably won’t believe you.  This has to be the best cookbook for goodie lovers, even the title is perfect.  What lover of sweets doesn’t want to own a cookbook that says Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids on it?  Actually, it should say kids of all ages, but that’s probably because my sweet tooth refuses to grow up too.

In this spiral bound book, sweet lovers will find three sections of sticky, chewy, messy and gooey treats to make with their kids.  I’m wondering if O’Connor and I were separated at birth because her Introduction to this book says, “I have a secret. Baking with children isn’t always easy…My older daughter, Olivia, in all her teenage wisdom, likes to call me, ‘mean chef’.”  And here I thought my kids were the only ones that called their mommy “big, fat meanie”. 

Also in her Introduction is her objective to make baking with kids stress-free for parents by having recipes that are simple and made with common pantry staples–Thank You!–and some that kids can make with little adult help.  I’m in heaven already and I haven’t gotten past Page 7.

When this book came in, my two girls who love to “help” me cook/bake fought over who would get to see it first.  I won, so I got to see it first.  Na, na!  Kudos go out to the book designer and also photographer Leigh Beisch for putting together such an attractive cookbook, with tons of appealing pictures and lovely details such as the scalloped edges on the pages. 

O’Connor put together a great deal of fabulous content and managed to create a cookbook you will find yourself turning to time and again.   From Pepperminty Wintery White Hot Chocolate–what we hope to try soon–to Jumbled Berry Jam, and from A Is for Apple Pie-Stuffed French Toast to Chock-a-Block Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Muffins, you and your kids will be able to make treats for any event or just to have at home for no reason at all.

Also included is a list of equipment, some tips on ingredients, and a section titled “Success Made Simple” which shows you the importance of getting organized, reading the recipe completely, measuring correctly and taking your time.  The author has also included little tid-bits of commentary throughout the cookbook that you’ll find helpful.  The last page of the book is a Table of Equivalents.

Now is the perfect time to pick up a copy of Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids by Jill O’Connor and to get your kids baking for the holidays.  There are so many great recipes in here that I don’t even know what to try first!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:  Chronicle Books
  • ISBN 9780811867825
  • ISBN10 081186782X
  • SRP:  $19.95

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Tweet for Literacy Giveaways – Prize Package 12 Announced!


Our Motto: “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!”

The Tweet for Literacy Giveaway is a campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of involving the whole family in a child’s reading activities. Tweet for Literacy will be giving away literacy-related prizes every two days throughout the month of November in honor of National Family Literacy Month. Help a child to read, and let the fun begin!

How to Enter the Tweet for Literacy Giveaways

Step 1: Follow our 7 sponsors on Twitter. This step is required. We will all follow you back!

Step 2: Re-tweet (RT) any post about the giveaway. Use the hashtag #Tweet4Lit on each RT. Be sure to add the URL link for this contest page. It’s .

Sample Entry Re-tweets

RT @ccmalandrinos Tweet for Literacy is giving away 12 prize sets and a grand prize thru Nov. Enter here. #Tweet4Lit

RT @ccmalandrinos Enter Tweet for Literacy giveaways here! New prize sets every 2 days. #Tweet4Lit

Step 3: That’s it! See the Official Rules below.

Official Rules

You can re-enter as many times as you like. Prizes are awarded every 2 days starting on November 8. First day to enter is November 6, 2009. Last day to enter is November 30. A prize package will be awarded on each even day of the month. Each prize package will be a set of items that are literacy related. See below for specific information on prizes.

The name of the winner will be selected at random and will be drawn at approximately 6pm CT. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If we don’t hear from the winner, we will select another winner for that prize package. We will notify our 13 winners by Direct Message (DM) on Twitter.

Whereas you can enter as often as you like, if you are not following all 7 sponsors on Twitter, which will be verified, your entries will be disqualified. All entries that comply with the above rules will be valid for each drawing, including the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize will be awarded on December 1, 2009.

Open to residents of the U.S. only. Must be at least 18 years old to enter.

If you have any questions or comments about the giveaway, please contact Linda Thieman at blog (at) katieandkimble (dot) com.

Our Sponsors


Holly Hardin, author of the children’s picture book Aurora of the Northern Lights

Twitter name: @hollyhardin

Blog: Holly’s Helpful Hints

Sheri Kaye Hoff, Life Coach and author of Keys to Living Joyfully

Twitter name: @sherikayehoff

Blog: Coach Sheri’s Living Joyfully Everyday blog

Nicole O’Dell, author of the Scenarios books for girls ages 10-15

Twitter name: @nicole_odell

Blog: Nicole O’Dell blog

Linda Thieman, author of the Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story chapter book series for ages 7-10

Twitter name: @lindathieman

Blog: The Katie & Kimble Blog


Susan Buetow, homeschooling mom/blogger

Twitter name: @susieqtpies

Blogs: The Homeschool Messenger; Scraps of Life

Cheryl Malandrinos, writer/mom/book blogger

Twitter name: @ccmalandrinos

Blog: The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection

April Pohren, mom/book blogger

Twitter name: @cafeofdreams

Blog: Café of Dreams

Prizes and Winners

The Tweet for Literacy campaign was designed to encourage family literacy. Our motto is “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!”

Our goal is to empower children and teens, especially girls, who are so often overlooked. We also seek to teach tolerance and self-acceptance through reading and through family interaction.

Our twelfth prize package winner will be selected on November 30, 2009, at 6pm CT. Total value of Prize Package Twelve is $109.

Prize Package Twelve (Final Drawing before Grand Prize)

1) 2 codes for e-books at the iTunes App Store from PicPocket Books (combined value up to $7.98). These picture book apps are downloaded to an iPhone or an iPod Touch. For children 2 to 8. Donated by PicPocket Books.

2) Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin (autographed — an $18.95 value), the delightful Yuletide-themed picture book by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. Donated by the author.

3) The Katie & Kimble chapter book series by Linda Thieman, for ages 6 to 10. Lexile® measures: 280L and 290L. This set includes Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story and Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish. These are stories of love and healing, and are not scary! Donated and autographed by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. (Value: $11.90 per set)

4) Persephane Pendrake and the Cimaruta (autographed) by Lady Ellen. This book is the first of a planned 9 book series made up of 3 trilogies called “The Persephane Pendrake Chronicles.” For ages 9-12; a $16.95 value. Donated by the author.

5) All that Glitters (autographed), Book 2 from the Scenarios for Girls interactive series by Nicole O’Dell. For ages 10-15. ($7.97 Value) Donated by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors.

6) Kids in the Kitchen: Easy Recipe & Craft Cookbook, for all ages. Creative foods kids make themselves! Value: $16.95. Donated by Barb at Gooseberry Patch.

7) Focus on Reading Strategies: Standards-based Instruction, Level C by Perfection Learning. 3rd grade.  Value: $11.95. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Linda Thieman.

8) I Just Want My Kids to Be Happy!: Why You Shouldn’t Say it, Why You Shouldn’t Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead by Aaron Cooper, Ph.D. & Eric Keitel, M. Ed. (Parenting), advanced readers copy (ARC). Value: $15.95. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Cheryl Malandrinos.

Last prize package before the Grand Prize!

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Princess Tea by Janeen A. Sarlin with Noelle Shipley

Princess TeaEvery little princess is going to want you to host a party for her and her friends like the ones you’ll find in Princess Tea: Parties and Treats for Little Girls. 

Following a touching preface and informative introduction, Princess Tea takes you and your child on a journey around the world with different themed party ideas from China, the South Sea Islands, the Southwest United States, Mexico, France, India, and Africa.  And what tea party planning book would be complete without a trip to Fairyland.

With decoration ideas and recipes, along with many hints to make things easier, this book will help you create memorable parties for your child and her princess friends. 

The photography provided by Sheri Giblin is out of this world.  The girls are adorable and the treats all look yummy.  Special kudos go out to the designer for putting together such an attactive and eye-catching book.

Whether you’re planning a fiesta or a country garden tea party, you’ll want Princess Tea by your side.  No book has ever made me feel like entertaining before, but Princess Tea makes me want to send out invitations tomorrow!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • ISBN-10: 0811861775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811861779
  • SRP: $19.95

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    Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron

    Make Ahead MealsSo, why exactly are we featuring a cookbook at The Kids Book Connection?  Well, kids like to eat, right?  🙂

    As soon as I heard this book was going on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion, I knew I had to review it.  Here is what supper time is like around my house.

    Me:  Okay, what does everyone want to eat?

    Daughter 1:  I don’t know.  What have we got?

    I proceed to rattle off the list of possibilities and sometimes get an immediate response, then turn to Daughter 2 and ask the same question.

    Daughter 2:  What do we have?

    Me:  (blood pressure now rising) I just told you what we have.

    Daughter 2: I don’t remember what you said.

    I go through the list again, with a lot less patience than the first time.  After about ten minutes–which really seems more like ten hours–I usually know what both girls want.  Then I wander into my husband’s office and ask, “What do you want for dinner?”

    Husband:  I don’t know, what do you want?

    By this time I am ready to leave home; but I don’t, and I hope the dinner fairy pays a visit to my house overnight so that tomorrow the same thing won’t happen again.

    Well, Jane Doiron may not be the dinner fairy, but she’s just made my life a whole lot easier.  Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms is perfect for those moms who constantly find themselves answering the dreaded what’s for supper question or for those whose family’s schedules make it impossible to whip up a meal quick enough before running off to the next practice or meeting.  Moms will find themselves enjoying cooking again because these are meals that can be: made a day ahead, partially made a day in advance, or made and then frozen. 

    The Taco Dip can be made a day ahead and then heated.  It’s great to take along to potlucks or church fellowship time and would also be an easy dish for a youth group meeting.  Banana bread is a big hit here.  I didn’t know you could freeze unpeeled bananas, but I sure do now!   Thanks Jane!  The Seafood Quiche sounds wonderful, and I can’t wait to try the “easy make-ahead” recipe for a Flaky Pie Crust because the church is talking about taking pie orders this year. 

    Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms starts off with an introduction from the author and also provides helpful tips on freezer storage, items that are easy to prepare a day ahead and how to save money by purchasing alternate volumes and versions of ingredients you don’t often use.  The recipes are broken down into sections:  Appetizers, Breakfast and Brunch, Dessert, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, and Soup.  There are also measurement equivalents and a weight conversion chart, along with an index of the recipes by section to make finding your favorites a quick and easy task.

    Don’t let the title fool you, however; all families, no matter what size will enjoy the quick and easy way to prepare food found in this book.  It should also simplify holiday menu  planning and preparation

     Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron might just become my all-time favorite cookbook!

    Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher: Outskirts Press
  • ISBN-10: 1432720864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1432720865
  • SRP:  $17.95
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