From the preface of the SLJ list:
Of the more than 5000 books reviewed in SLJ’s pages in 2008, the 67 books listed below stood out as having distinctive voices, singular vision, and/or innovative approaches. They include books for toddlers and preschoolers, terrific picture books and easy readers, and some highly original novels. Fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction, humor, mystery, affecting family stories, and adventure all make an appearance.
SLJ also states, "It was an amazingly strong year for YA novels, several with hard-hitting, powerful themes. " I completely agree. As I looked through the list, I found that I had read all of the young-adult books list. I had not, however, done such a good job reading the nonfiction:-( How about you?