The Center for Children's Books

Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Best Books of 2000

A list of "Best Books" is sure to be subjective, sure to be incomplete, and sure to be misunderstood. A few ground rules: these are not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing books of the year, nor are they necessarily the books that win awards and medals. The books on this list are the useful but not flashy books; the storytime books, the homework books, the "oh I know just how I'm going to use that book" sort of books. To make this list a title has to be practical, useful, and give the best-bang-for-their-buck.

As of September 2004, no further "Best Books" lists will be created. Instead, check out the Bulletin Blue Ribbons and Rs and Stars (R and R*) for a fairly complete list of the books worth buying for any given year.


Antle, Nancy. Playing Solitaire. Dial, 2000. 112p. (Gr. 6-9)
Cadnum, Michael. The Book of the Lion. Viking, 2000. 156p. (Gr. 8-12)
Cameron, Ann. Gloria's Way; illustrated by Lis Toft. Foster/Farrar, 2000. 112p. (Gr. 2-4)
Carbone, Elisa. Sarah and the Naked Truth. Knopf, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 4-6)
Cole, Brock. Buttons; illustrated by author. Farrar, 2000. 32p. (7-10 yrs)
Cox, Judy. Mean, Mean Maureen Green; illustrated by Cynthia Fisher. Holiday House, 1999. 80p. (Gr. 2-4)
Cuyler, Margery. 100th Day Worries; illustrated by Arthur Howard. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 32p. (4-7 yrs)
Deuker, Carl. Night Hoops. Houghton, 2000. 256p. (Gr. 6-9)
Duncan, Lois. I Walk at Night; illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. Viking, 2000. 32p. (4-7 yrs)
Fearnley, Jan. Mr. Wolf's Pancakes; illustrated by author. Little Tiger, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Gerstein, Mordicai, ad. Queen Esther, the Morning Star; illustrated by author. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Gilliland, Judith. Steamboat!: The Story of Captain Blanche Leather; illustrated by Holly Meade. DK Ink, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Herman, Gail. Just Like Mike; illustrated by Meryl Treatner. Delacorte, 2000. 80p. (Gr. 2-4)
Hoberman, Mary Ann, ad. The Eensy-Weensy Spider; illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Little, Brown and Co., 2000. 27p. (3-6 yrs)
Horowitz, Anthony. The Devil and His Boy. Philomel, 2000. 128p. (Gr. 5-8)
Howard, Elizabeth Fitzgerald. Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys; illustrated by E. B. Lewis. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 26p. (Gr. 2-5)
Jocelyn, Marthe. Earthly Astonishments. Dutton, 2000. 176p. (Gr. 5-8)
Kessler, Cristina. No Condition Is Permanent. Philomel, 2000. 183p. (Gr. 7-12)
Kimmel, Eric A, ad. Grizz!; illustrated by Andrew Glass. Holiday House, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-6)
Kurtz, Jane. River Friendly, River Wild; illustrated by Neil Brennan. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 40p. (Gr. 2-5)
Lemieux, Anne C. All the Answers. Avon Camelot, 2000. 160p. (Gr. 6-9)
Levy, Elizabeth. Seventh Grade Tango. Hyperion, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 5-7)
Lyon, George Ella. One Lucky Girl; illustrated by Irene Trivas. Jackson/ DK Ink, 2000. 32p. (4-7 yrs)
Mack, Tracy. Drawing Lessons. Scholastic, 2000. 176p. (Gr. 5-8 yrs)
Maynard, Bill. Pondfire. Putnam, 2000. 96p. (Gr. 4-7)
McKissack, Patricia C. The Honest-to-Goodness Truth; illustrated by Giselle Potter. Schwartz/Atheneum, 2000. 34p. (5-8 yrs)
Mitchell, Adrian. Nobody Rides the Unicorn; illustrated by Stephen Lambert. Levine/Scholastic, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Myers, Walter Dean. 145th Street Stories. Delacorte, 2000. 151p. (Gr. 7-12)
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Jade Green: A Ghost Story. Atheneum, 2000. 176p. (Gr. 7-10)
Okimoto, Jean Davies. To JayKae: Life Stinx. Tor, 1999. 186p. (Gr. 6-9)
Olaleye, Isaac O. In the Rainfield: Who is the Greatest?; illustrated by Ann Grifalconi. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Palatini, Margie. Good as Goldie; illustrated by author. Hyperion, 2000. 24p. (3-5 yrs)
Peters, Julie Anne. Define "Normal"; Little, Brown and Co., 2000. 144p. (Gr. 7-10)
Petersen, PJ. I Hate Weddings; illustrated by Lynne Cravath. Dutton, 2000. 112p. (Gr. 2-4)
Plummer, Louise. A Dance for Three. Delacorte, 2000. 208p. (Gr. 7-12)
Pullman, Philip. I Was a Rat!; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Knopf, 2000. 192p. (Gr. 4-7)
Radin, Ruth Yaffe. Escape to the Forest: Based on a True Story of the Holocaust; illustrated by Janet Hamlin. HarperCollins, 2000. 80p. (Gr. 3-6)
Simmons, Jane. Daisy and the Beastie; illustrated by author. Little, Brown and Co., 2000. 32p. (2-5 yrs)
Shreve, Susan. Goodbye, Amanda the Good. Knopf, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 5-7)
Souhami, Jessica, ad. No Dinner!: The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin; illustrated by author. Cavendish, 2000. 28p. (4-7 yrs)
Stephanie Spinner and Terry Bisson. Be First in the Universe. Delacorte, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 5-7)
Stewart, Dawn Lesley. Harriet's Horrible Hair Day; illustrated by Michael P White. Peachtree, 2000. 34p. (5-8 yrs)
Thomas, Shelley Moore. Good Night, Good Knight; illustrated by Jennifer Plecas. Dutton, 2000. 48p. (Gr. K-2)
Wallace, Karen. Scarlette Beane; illustrated by Jon Berkeley. Dial, 2000. 32p. (4-8 yrs)
Whitcher, Susan. The Fool Reversed. Farrar, 2000. 192p. (Gr. 9-12)
White, Linda Arms. Come a Wind; illustrated by Tom Curry. Kroupa/DK Ink, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Wittlinger, Ellen. What's in a Name. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 160p. (Gr. 7-10)
Yaccarino, Dan. Deep in the Jungle; written and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Schwartz/Atheneum, 2000. 34p. (5-9 yrs)


Adoff, Arnold. Touch the Poem; illustrated by Lisa Desimini. Blue Sky/Scholastic, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 2-5)
Hort, Lenny. Tie Your Socks and Clap Your Feet; illustrated by Stephen Kroniger. Atheneum, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 2-6)
James, Simon, comp. Days Like This: A Collection of Small Poems; illustrated by author. Candlewick, 2000. 45p. (Gr. 2-5)
Janeczko, Paul B., comp. Stone Bench in an Empty Park; illustrated with photographs. Orchard, 2000. 40p. (Gr. 3-7)
Lillegard, Dee. Wake Up House!: Rooms Full of Poems; illustrated by Don Carter. Knopf, 2000. 26p. (3-6 yrs)
McNaughton, Colin. Wish You Were Here (And I Wasn't): A Book of Poems for Globe Trotters. Candlewick, 2000. 61p. (Gr. 3-6)
Newsome, Effie Lee. Wonders: The Best Children's Poems of Effie Lee Newsome. Wordsong/Boyds Mills, 1999. 40p. (3-6 yrs)
Nye, Naomi Shihab. Come With Me: Poems for a Journey; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Greenwillow, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 4-7)
Prelutsky, Jack. It's Raining Pigs & Noodles; illustrated by James Stevenson. Greenwillow, 2000. 160p. (Gr. 3-6)


Aaseng, Nathan. Construction: Building the Impossible; illustrated with photographs. Oliver, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 5-10)
Adler, David A. America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle; illustrated by Terry Widener. Harcourt, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 2-4)
Agee, Jon, comp. Elvis Lives! and other Anagrams; illustrated by author. Farrar, 2000. 80p. (Gr. 3-6)
Alexander, Sally. Do You Remember the Color Blue?; illustrated with photographs. Viking, 2000. 80p. (Gr. 3-7)
Ammon, Richard. Conestoga Wagons; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth. Holiday House, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-5)
Arnold, Caroline. Easter Island; illustrated with photographs. Clarion, 2000. 48p. (Gr. 4-8)
Aronson, Marc. Sir Walter Raleigh and the Quest for El Dorado; illustrated with photographs. Clarion, 2000. 222p. (Gr. 7-12)
Azarian, Mary. A Gardener's Alphabet; illustrated by author. Houghton, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Bachrach, Susan D. The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936; illustrated with photographs. Little, Brown and Co., 2000. 132p. (Gr. 5 and up)
Balit, Christina. Atlantis: The Legend of a Lost City; illustrated by author. Holt, 2000. 27p. (6-9 yrs)
Batten, Mary. The Winking, Blinking Sea: All About Bioluminescence; illustrated with photographs. Millbrook, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-5)
Bausum, Ann. Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs: A Photobiography of Explorer Roy Chapman Andrews; illustrated with photographs. National Geographic Society, 2000. 64p. (Gr. 4-8)
Bial, Raymond. A Handful of Dirt; illustrated with photographs. Walker, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-6)
Brown, Don. Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa; illustrated by author. Houghton, 2000. 32p. (7-10 yrs)
Budiansky, Stephen. The World According to Horse; illustrated and with photographs. Holt, 2000. 101p. (Gr. 5-8)
Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Satchel Paige; illustrated by James Ransome. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 34p. (Gr. 2-4)
Cohen, Daniel. The Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton; illustrated with photographs. Twenty-First Century, 2000. 112p. (Gr. 6-10)
Collard, Sneed B., III. Making Animal Babies; illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Houghton, 2000. 32p. (6-9 yrs) Foster/Farrar, 2000. 208p. (Gr. 5-9)
DePaola, Tomie. Here We All Are; illustrated by author. Putnam, 2000. 72p. (Gr. 2-4)
Duffy, Trent. Turning Point Inventions: The Clock; illustrated and with photographs. Atheneum, 2000. 80p. (Gr. 5-9)
Fradin, Dennis. Ida B. Wells: Mother of the Civil Rights Movement; illustrated with photographs. Clarion, 2000. 178p. (Gr. 5-12)
Fredeen, Charles. Nellie Bly: Daredevil Reporter; illustrated with photographs. Lerner, 2000. 112p. (Gr. 6-10)
Gerstein, Mordicai, ad. Queen Esther, the Morning Star; illustrated by author. Simon and Schuster, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Gibbons, Gail. My Soccer Book; illustrated by author. HarperCollins, 2000. 24p. (4-7 yrs)
Giblin, James Cross. The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin; illustrated by Michael Dooling. Scholastic, 2000. 48p. (Gr. 3-5)
Gold, Alison. A Special Fate: Chiune Sugihara: Hero of the Holocaust; illustrated with photographs. Scholastic, 2000. 160p. (Gr. 5-8)
Greenberg, Jan. Frank O. Gehry: Outside In; illustrated with photographs. DK Ink, 2000. 48p. (Gr. 4-8)
Hansen, Joyce. "Bury Me Not in a Land of Slaves": African Americans in the Time of Reconstruction; illustrated with photographs. Watts, 2000. 160p .(Gr. 3-6)
Harris, Robie. It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Candlewick, 1999. 81p. (7-12 yrs)
Hoobler, Dorothy. Vanity Rules: A History of American Fashion and Beauty. Twenty-First Century, 2000. 160p. (Gr. 6-10)
Imershein, Betsy. Construction Trucks and Trucks; illustrated by author. Little Simon, 2000. 14p. (2-4 yrs)
Keller, Laurie. Open Wide: Tooth School Inside; illustrated by author. Holt, 2000. 34p. (Gr. 2-4)
Kimmel, Eric A. Gershon's Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year; illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Scholastic, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-6)
Krull, Kathleen. Lives of Extraordinary Women: Rulers, Rebels(and What the Neighbors Thought). Harcourt, 2000. 95p. (Gr. 4-8)
Lambert, David. DK Guide to Dinosaurs; illustrated by author. DK, 2000. 64p. (Gr. 3-6)
Levine, Ellen. Darkness over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews. Holiday House, 2000. 164p. (Gr. 6-10)
Lourie, Peter. Mississippi River: A Journey Down the Father of Waters; illustrated with photographs. Boyds Mills, 2000. 48p. (Gr. 3-6)
Marrin, Albert. Sitting Bull and His World; illustrated with photographs. Dutton, 2000. 246p. (Gr. 6 and up)
Martin, Rafe. The Language of the Birds; illustrated by Susan Gaber. Philomel, 2000. 32p. (6-9 yrs)
Mayer, Marianna. The Twelve Apostles: Their Lives and Acts; illustrated with photographs. Fogelman, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 3-6)
Mayo, Margaret, ad. Brother Sun, Sister Moon: The Life and Stories of St. Francis; illustrated by Peter Malone. Little, Brown and Co., 2000. 70p. (Gr. 3-6).
Mierau, Christina. Accept No Substitutes!: The History of American Advertising; illustrated with photographs. Lerner, 2000. 96p. (Gr. 4-8)
Myers, Walter Dean. Malcolm X: A Fire Burning Brightl; illustrated by Leonard Jenkins. HarperCollins, 2000. 34p. (Gr. 3-6)
Pringle, Laurence. Bats!: Strange and Wonderful; illustrated by Meryl Henderson. Boyds Mills, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 2-5)
Richie, Jason. Weapons: Designing the Tools of War; illustrated with photographs. Oliver, 2000. 144p. (Gr. 5-10)
Rumford, James. Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Houghton, 2000. 32p. (Gr. 2-5)
Salkeld, Audrey. Mystery on Everest: A Photobiography of George Mallory; illustrated with photographs. National Geographic, 2000. 64p. (Gr. 4-8)
Souhami, Jessica, ad. No Dinner!: The Story of the Old Woman and the Pumpkin; illustrated by author. Cavendish, 2000. 28p. (4-7 yrs)
St. George, Judith. So You Want to Be President?; illustrated by David Small. Philomel, 2000. 53p. (Gr. 3-5)
Stanley, Diane. Michelangelo; illustrated by author. HarperCollins, 2000. 48p. (Gr. 4-6)
Thompson, Lauren. Love One Another: The Story of Easter; illustrated by Elizabeth Uyehara. Scholastic, 2000. 32p. (6-10 yrs)
Tompert, Ann. Saint Nichola; illustrated by Michael Garland. Boyds Mills, 2000. 32p. (5-8 yrs)
Wilcox, Charlotte. Mummies, Bones, & Body Parts; illustrated and with photographs. Carolrhoda, 2000. 64p. (Gr. 4-8)
Winick, Judd. Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned; illustrated by author. Holt, 2000. 187p. (Gr. 6-12)
Yolen, Jane, comp. Sherwood: Original Stories from the World of Robin Hood; illustrated by Dennis Nolan. Philomel, 2000. 134p. (Gr. 5-9)