I always look forward to librarian Betsy Bird’s annual December-long feature, “31 Days, 31 Lists,” in which she highlights her favorites among the year’s books for young readers, sliced and diced a different way for each day of the month. Her lists routinely help guide my reading for following year as I catch up on great books that I missed.
And I’m especially happy with this year’s lists, as the one released on Christmas Day — 2023 Science and Nature Books — includes this glowing writeup for my and Chaaya Prabhat’s Glitter Everywhere! Where It Came From, Where It’s Found & Where It’s Going (Charlesbridge Publishing):
Do you love glitter? Hate it? Then this book is for you! Find out its history, its science, its importance, and what we can do to be more responsible with it so it won’t hurt the environment. If I had the power, I would possibly declare Chris Barton, right here and now, to be the official arbitrator on what does or does not make a conscientious nonfiction picture book. I’ve railed in the past against nonfiction books for kids that skimp on the research, to say nothing of showing their work, but finding examples of the BEST kinds of nonfiction books can be hard. This, however, may fit the bill. In this book Chris doesn’t just give you a rundown of the history of glitter and its problems today, but lets kids in on his research as he goes. When he calls someone by their first names vs. their full names, you find out why. If he can’t find enough evidence to back up a claim, he makes a note of it. He works in science and environmentalism, history and how it relates to Drag performers, and even a bit of math as well. There’s even a note on the front bookflap that reads, “Spoiler alert! Traditional glitter is bad for the planet. That’s why the jacket of this book uses a glitter lookalike.” I’m just blown away. A seemingly silly subject yields one of the best books of the year.
As Betsy points out, this particular list is a long one — and again, there are thirty other lists for you to check out this month (not to mention many years of past lists, easily accessible through this year’s corresponding list). So you’d best get to it — 2024’s lists will begin to arrive in just 341 days…
[Happily edited on December 27 to add that Glitter Everywhere! is also on the just-posted 2023 Nonfiction Picture Books list, and that we now have just 340 days to wait until next year’s lists!]