Our Second 2009 Short List

We had another great Lock-In meeting Friday and nominated titles for our second short list.  Each of the titles on this list is the current favorite of at least one club member.

More Podcasts

podcast-equipment Thanks to a little friendly “reminding” we’ve finally posted our last two podcasts on our podcast page.  One has our comments on the official ALA Newbery medal and honor books and the other features our comments on our own Mock Newbery Honor picks.

Listen to Our New Podcasts

audio_file Now you can listen to us discussing the books we love on our new podcast page.  There is a podcast of us discussing the book we chose for our 2009 Eva Perry Library Mock Newbery Medal, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and another one of us discussing our favorite books from 2009 that did not win awards.  At our next meeting we will be recording podcasts on our 2009 Eva Perry Library Mock Newbery honor books and on the official ALA Newbery winners.

Valerie Wins!

Wahoo!  Valerie, the leader of the Mock Printz Book Club at our library, has won the 2009 YALSA MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens! Many of us know Valerie from the library and plan to “graduate” to her Mock Printz club when our Mock Newbery days are over.  This award is a great big, and much deserved honor.  Find out more about why she won the award from the ALA website.  Congratulations Valerie!

To find out more about the Eva Perry Library Mock Printz Book Club, check out their blog.

For those of you interested in acronyms, MAE is Margaret A. Edwards, a pioneering young adult librarian.  YALSA is the Young Adult Library Services Association.  It is a sub-unit of the ALA, or American Library Association.

The Winners!

Our 2009 Eva Perry Library Mock Newbery Medal goes to:

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

with Honor Books:

The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
The Patron Saint of Butterflies
by Cecilia Galante
Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli


We chose our winners with a Newbery style vote, where each of the 25 club members attending cast their ballot for a first, second, and third place book.  The Hunger Games won our medal by a landslide in the first round of voting.  The Hunger Games also won the Mock Printz award at our library, but that vote was much closer.  This is the 11th year for our Mock Newbery club, and the 9th for our Mock Printz, and the first and only time we’ve chosen the same book for our medals.

In our second round of voting The Dead and the Gone and The Patron Saint of Butterflies emerged as clear Honor Books. In the third round Smiles to Go stood out from the crowd. At that point we were deadlocked over three titles with only two honor book spaces left, so we decided to stop there (we were also running out of time!) and chose just three honor books this year.  For the record, the three books we were haggling over were The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, Tennyson by Leslie M. M. Blume, and Trouble by Gary Schmidt.

We had tons of fun in our club this year, as usual.  We’ll be back in mid-February with some podcasts featuring our members talking about our winners, the official ALA Newbery winners, and some books that never won anything, but that we just like anyway.  Then we’ll start reading for the 2010 Eva Perry Library Mock Newbery’s on April 17!

Check out the Mock Printz Awards from our sister club

Our sister club, the Eva Perry Library Mock Printz Book Club, just announced their 2009 winner.  Check out this post on their blog to see who won!

What We’ll Be Voting On

At our last meeting we narrowed down our short list a bit more in preparation for our final vote on January 23.  The club already seems to have a definite favorite – can you guess which one it is?

Washington at Valley Forge by Russell Freedman

washingtonSummary: Washington’s army nearly perished during the winter of 1777-78. Camped at Valley Forge, the revolutionaries endured severe hardship. The army’s supply system had collapsed and they were without supplies. But when the harsh winter ended, the soldiers had survived, and marched away from Valley Forge more determined than ever. 100 p., Holiday House.

Find it at WCPL

Narrowing Down the List

We’ve spent our last two meetings discussing and comparing the books on our fourth short list, and we’ve knocked quite a few off the list. Some just didn’t stand out from the other books this year, and some were parts of series and seemed incomplete without the rest of the series. (We still have a couple of series titles that seemed to stand on their own, though, like former Newbery winners The High King and The Hero and the Crown.) What’s left? Take a look at the list below. We are also still getting a few more new 2008 books. Will there be a surprise addition to the list? Check back later in the month to see! Then find out who we chose for our Mock Newbery winner and honor books on January 23.

The Porcupine Year by Louise Erdrich

porcupine-yearSummary: In 1852, forced by the United States government to leave their beloved Island of the Golden Breasted Woodpecker, fourteen-year-old Omokayas and her Ojibwe family travel in search of a new home. 193 p., HarperCollins Publishers.

Find it at WCPL

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows

magic-halfSummary: Eleven-year-old Miri Gill feels left out in her family, which has two sets of twins and her, until she travels back in time to 1935 and discovers Molly, her own lost twin, and brings her back to the present day. 211 p., Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Find it at WCPL

Science Fair: A Story of Mystery, Danger, International Suspense, and a Very Nervous Frog by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

science-fairSummary: The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists’ plans go awry. 394 p., Disney Editions.

Find it at WCPL

Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka

knucklehead2Summary: How did Jon Scieszka get so funny? He grew up as one of six brothers with Catholic school, lots of comic books, lazy summers at the lake with time to kill, babysitting misadventures, TV shows, and jokes told at family dinner. 106 p., Viking.

Find it at WCPL

Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by R.L. LaFevers

theodosia3Summary: When mummies go missing all over London, eleven-year-old Theodosia puts aside her fight against the Serpents of Chaos to save her father, who is suspected in the thefts, all the while avoiding a string of new governesses. 387 p., Houghton Mifflin Co.

Find it at WCPL

Our Fourth Short List

At our last meeting we nominated our second top three books of the year, so now each of us has nominated six titles in total. Several of the titles were nominated by multiple people, but every book on the list was one of the top six favorites of at least one of our club members. We will be discussing these titles in depth, plus reading the last few new books published at the end of the year, from now until we choose our Mock Newbery winner and honor books on Friday, January 23.

  • Big Mouth by Deborah Halverson
    “Writing was fabulous… I stayed up for 17 hours to finish it!” – M.
  • The Boy Who Dared by Susan Bartoletti
    “Good writing style… found it cool that it was real.” – A.
    “I like how it is told partly with flashbacks…” - Z.
  • Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkowski
    Unique fantasy plot…” – J.
    “Very descriptive, yet not boring… you can visualize being there.” - R.
  • Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
    “Realistic, likeable characters…” - R.
    “The writing really carried the theme out well.. there were so many types of ‘chains’ in the book…” - L.
  • Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
    Fun, fast-paced, always keeps you interested. Funny writing style. You learn to love the characters.” – B.
  • The Dead & the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
    This is the 1st book in a long time where I felt the characters were so real…” – L.
    It made you feel like you were there...” – J.
  • Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
    I like that you can get so much of the character’s feelings in the slight verse...” – R.
    I really like the writing style – sparse, but still descriptive and not choppy. I love how the words in bold cut down to Willow’s rawest emotions...” – M.
  • A Difficult Boy by M. P. Barker
    “Three-dimensional characters alone make this a contender… also interesting plot… ended realistically.” – E.
  • Every Soul a Star by Wendy Maas
    “Characters are down-to-earth; the book gives 3 points of view; beautiful flowing story…” - A.
  • The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
    It is very fun, had great characters, and the plot is awesome with an unexpected twist.” – J.
    Combination of strong plot line and good descriptive writing kept the story moving...” – A.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
    “Found it original… glad ending was realistic.” – A.
    “Interesting page-turner…” - T.
  • Grow: A Novel in Verse by Juanita Havill
    “Uses verse in an interesting style that makes you remember this story. This plot is beautiful.” - C.
  • Hummingbird by Kimberly Green Angle
    “Symbolism behind the hummingbird was amazing…”
    – R.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Fantastically written with excellent attention to detail without it being redundant, good character development, and a feeling of suspense that never leaves…” - T.
    A story of loyalty, believing and depending on others. It was so dramatic, my sister and I were both in the middle of it and couldn’t decide who got to finish it first. So we read 150 pages out loud!” – M.
  • In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer
    Very original and unique perspective…” – L.
    “I liked hearing a less common point of view…” - E.
  • Jimmy’s Stars by Mary Ann Rodman
    I could relate to the characters. I could feel what they felt…” – C.
    The time period was described very well through the music, slang, games, events, etc., there was a whole cast of well developed characters, and the book had a very satisfying resolution for one of this type.” – L.
  • Masterpiece by Elise Broach
    The family of beetles characters made it work! They are uniquely charming.” – A.
    “Although he was a bug, he was a very sweet bug…” - A.
  • Otherworldlies by Jennifer Kogler
    Very different vampire book… this would be my #1 pick so far this year.” – Z.
  • Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata
    This makes you think about it after you finish reading it…” – A.
    “Amazing and heartfelt story… something in the writing that allows you to really understand the characters…” - R.
  • The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
    This impacted me greatly.” – E.
    “Two points of view… they are experiencing the same things on the outside, yet have very different internal battles going on.” - Z.
    “Has a TON of raw human emotion…” - A.
  • Ravenheart by Kendra Thomas
    “Simply amazing… easy to read but still depth to the story…” – B.
    “Unique idea combined with exciting fantasy plot and good writing…”-L.
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
    I can relate to the characters emotionally…” – M.
    “Full of well-defined characters with unique personalities…” - B.
  • Seer of Shadows by Avi
    Very interesting subject and fast-paced plot… very descriptive and pictured the setting well.” – B.
    Avi manipulates you cleverly into believing this to be possible.” – R.
  • Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell
    This book has all year remained at the top of my list, and the details are still fresh in my mind.” – B.
    “I loved how she saw everything from inside the army. It was neat to see the difference between the letters to the parents and then the pictures to her.” - L.
  • Sky Village by Monk & Nigel Ashland
    Well-formed writing style that impeccably blended two plot sequences… and it had demons fighting!” – T.
    I experienced sensations that at times made me feel like saying ‘Don’t do that or you will get hurt!‘” – J.
  • Smiles to Go by Jerry Spinelli
    “Characters seemed so real they could come out of the book…very real, current problems they worked through…” - J.
    You can’t go wrong with this gem.” – E.
  • Snow Falling in Spring by Moying Li
    Left a huge impact on me...” – C.
    “Even though it’s non-fiction, it reads like fiction.” - M.
  • Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
    “Fast-paced storyline that makes it unpredictable and great… ” - T.
  • Tennyson by Leslie M. M. Blume
    A quality story that blends history with fiction… the way that dreams and poetry are combined keeps my interest throughout every page.“-E.
    I really like the dreams. The ending is fitting and seems realistic..“L.
  • Things That Are by Andrew Clements
    “Very good ending…” - A.
  • Trouble by Gary Schmidt
    Very thought-provoking book. I felt as if I could have no idea how the characters felt, but was in their shoes at the same time… a really stunning book.” – M.
    The writing style was beautiful and the themes were very well developed.” – L.
    “Racial issues were very thought provoking…” – R.
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
    The overall way of telling the story is beautiful and poetic. Definitely unforgettable.” – L.
    It made me feel as if I were there, very emotional about the characters, and the two intertwined stories came together well.” – B.
    The writing hooked me from the very first page…” – C.
  • Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor
    The way the main character finds beauty in ordinary people really struck me…This book talks about real life, not a sugar-coated version of it. I was enthralled by this story and the ending made me cry.” – E.
    I could sympathize with the main character.” – L.
    Great story about friendship…” – A.
  • Where the Steps Were by Andrea Cheng
    Very heartfelt plot… interesting how it incorporated all the different characters’ points of view. I think you can really understand emotions better in verse.” – R.
  • Write Before Your Eyes by Lisa Kline
    “Very good visual images…” - A.

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