As Christmas lists go, it can be tough competing with Xboxes, GAMECUBES and Pokemon, but among the batch of children's books bestowed with awards in 2001 there are some serious contenders.

The American Library Association's 2001 list of notable children's books travels across the English Channel, to the Dominican Republic, to Madagascar.There are Lakota warriors, history-making blizzards and adventures at sea. Some books for older children confront war and AIDS. And, of course, there's good old Harry.

Whether the reader on your Christmas list is 2 or 12, this was a good year for children's books as the abridged list that follows can attest. And if your heart belongs to timeless classics, there's room on our list for those, too. Billie M. Levy of West Hartford, who co-founded and donated more than 8,000 books to UConn's Northeast Children's Literature collection, offers some classic titles from her should-read roster.

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2001's Notable Children's Books


  • "America's Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle" By David Adler; illustrated by Terry Widener; Harcourt/Gulliver.

    Ederle's determination to be the first woman to swim the English Channel, 21 arduous miles of cold, choppy water, leads to personal triumph and a victory for all womankind.

  • "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" By Doreen Cronin; illustrated by Betsy Lewin; Simon & Schuster.

    Using the barnyard typewriter, Farmer Brown's cows draft ultimatums, while negotiating better living conditions for all the farm animals. Caldecott Honor Book.

  • "Olivia" By Ian Falconer; Atheneum/Anne Schwartz.

    The days of one irrepressible pig are busy from morning to night, as Olivia excels at everything, including wearing people out. Caldecott Honor Book.

  • "Wemberly Worried" By Kevin Henkes; Greenwillow.

    Wemberly worries about everything, especially about beginning nursery school. Her courage grows with family support and a successful first day.

  • "Virgie Goes to School With Us Boys" By Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard; illustrated by E.B. Lewis; Simon & Schuster.

    Virgie, a spunky young African-American girl living in the post-Civil War South, is determined to join her brothers at the local Quaker school. King Illustrator Honor Book.

  • "In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise" Reeve Lindbergh (editor); illustrated by Christine Davenier, Bob Graham, Anita Jeram and Elisa Klevan; Candlewick Press.

    A diverse collection of prayers, affirmations and poems in praise of God, nature and the good things in life is supported by joyous, colorful illustrations.

  • "Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888" By Ernest Lawrence Thayer; illustrated by Christopher Bing; Handprint.