Jane Yolen -- Best of 2009

Best movie: "Avatar" tops the list. I hope that in my next life I am ten feet tall and blue and can run along tree trunks in my bare feet and ride on dragons. Though close were "The Reader," and "Milk."

Best book: "Stitches" a grim but in the end uplifting memoir in graphic novel format by David Small. Added bonus? He is illustrating my next book! Also I was glued to "The Graveyard Book" by Gaiman, "The Underneath" by Appelt, and "The Hunger Games" by Collins, all three really 2008 books, but I am always several years behind.

Best live concert? Stemple and Sjogren as The Tim Malloys, a Minnesota Irish duo. But since Stemple is my son, who else am I going to say? I did see Battlefield Band, always fun. But for me it was a light music year and nothing else engaged me.

As for chocolate--that is a sad story. I have worked hard since February to lose weight. 36 pounds and going for 40. It meant giving up my two most favorite food groups: bread and chocolate. But as losing weight has seriously helped my back, it was something I was willing to sacrifice.

Best book I have written in the past year? A toss up between adult fantasy novel Except the Queen (with Midori Snyder); children's poetry about the life of Emily Dickinson: The Emily Sonnets; and the as yet unsold picture book Listening to the Lighthouse. Of course, the difference between what I think is my best work and what the reviewers think as well as the actual sales is a chasm I have never been able to throw a bridge across.

Best grandchild? All six of mine. Really. Would a grandmother lie?