2013 Mock Newbery Award!

final discussionAfter 10 months of reading, meeting every 2 weeks sharing, 3 hours in tonight’s meeting, and several ballots (with groans after each), 22 sixth through ninth graders arrived at their conclusion to a very super year:

2013 Eva Perry Mock Newbery Award Winner:

Wonder, by Palacio

2013 Eva Perry Mock Newbery Honors:

Lions of Little Rock, by Levine

Son, by Lowry

Splendors and Glooms, by Schlitz

I am so proud of all of them!  What is your winner this year?  If you have a different group, what did they choose?  We are now awaiting the ALA Newbery committee’s announcement on January 28, 2013.

Twelve Kinds of Ice, by Ellen Bryan Obed

ImageSummary:  With the first ice’s skim on a sheep pail so thin it breaks when touched, one family’s winter begins in earnest. Next comes ice like panes of glass. And eventually, skating ice! Take a literary skate over field ice and streambed, through sleeping orchards and beyond. The first ice, the second ice, the third ice . . . perfect ice . . . the last ice .


Find it at WCPL

True Colors, by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

True colorsSummary:  On a cold, wintry day in December of 1941, she was found wrapped in a quilt, stuffed in a kettle near the home of Hannah Spooner, an older townswoman known for her generosity and caring.  But Blue finds it hard not to daydream about her mother, and over the course of one summer, she resolves to finally find out who she is.  Her search leads her down a road of self-discovery that will change her life forever.

Alfred A. Knopf

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Our Nominations!

As a result of Friday’s additional 4 titles nominated, our list now includes 7 from almost every book club member.  Of course there is some overlap, but it is still a long list.  We are feverishly reading each other’s choices as well as comparing new titles that are still coming in.

After Eli, by Rebecca Rupp; Candlewick
“This was extremely moving and touching… I could actually understand him.” – Cassidy
Bomb, by Steve Sheinkin; Roaring Book Press
“I liked how you heard different points of view from different characters.” – Ethan
Broken Lands, by Kate Milford; Clarion
“…the fireworks were part of what made it unnique.. even though there is a complex plot I understood.” – Krista
Child of the Mountains, by Marilyn Sue Shank; Random House
“…events are described with details that give you an omniscient view from the writer.” – Ponni
Crow, by Barbara Wright; Random House
“The setting played a major role in the plot of this book, making the reader more engaged in the story and what was going on.” – Bonnie
Diamond in the Desert, by Kathryn Fitzmaurice; Viking
“…provides enough information, but the setting is the strongest point.” – Sachi
Dogs of Winter, by Bobbie Pyron; Arthur Levine
“…the writing kept me engaged…” – Bonnie
Dreamsleeves, by Coleen Paratore; Scholastic
“The concept is the solution, it is creative, and the whole book revolves around it.” – Varunya
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson; Nancy Paulsen Books
“The theme about kindness is everywhere…” – Gokul
False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen; Scholastic
“…held back the story but the story was moving.” – Claire
If Only, by Carole Geithner; Scholastic
“The plot is relate-able and is heartfelt and touching.” – Ponni
In a Glass Grimmly, by Adam Gidwitz; Dutton
“…style was funny and a little scary…” – Ben H.
Interrupted, by Rachel Coker; Zondervan
“Allie’s struggle after losing her mother really touched me.” – Cassidy
The Last Princess, by Galaxy Craze; Little, Brown
“..spectacular plot twists and turns and there are several surprises.” – Rebekah
Laugh with the Moon, by Shana Burg; Delacourte
“You could connect with the characters.” – Mikala
Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine; Putnam
“I felt that I could relate and think of them as a part of myself.” – Surya
May B., by Caroline Starr Rose; Schwartz & Wade
“The main character had excellent character development…makes it distinguished.” – Jessica
Merits of Mischief: the Bad Apple, by T. R. Burns; Aladdin
“… interesting plot and setting, both of which create a great story with strange yet humorous characters.” – Andrew
Mighty Miss Malone, by Christopher Paul Curtis; Random House
“It captures the emotions of the characters of that time period very well.” – Mukil
Miles to Go for Freedom, by Linda Barrett Osborne; Abrams
“…many first-person accounts… doesn’t need pictures.” – Ramkishore
No Crystal Stair, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; Carolrhoda Books
“I liked… it first had an idea from one person’s view, then the same idea from another person’s view.” – Ajay
The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate; Harper
“Ivan influences his world in captivity more than his captors do, and his emotions are written effectively.” – Martha
One for the Murphys, by Lynda Hunt; Penguin
“…emotionally written the whole way.” – Varunya
Precious Bones, by Mika Ashley-Hollinger; Delacourte
“descriptive setting and well-written character development along with the other literary elements create an initeresting, and may I say “distinguished” book.” – Andrew
Robbie Forest and the Outlaws of Sherwood St., by Peter Abrahams; Philomel
“…characters motivated me because even when no one trusted them, they still trusted themselves.” – Shreya
Rush for the Gold, by John Feinstein; Knopf
“The writing style was exciting and fast-paced.” – Ben H.
Son, by Lois Lowry; Houghton Mifflin
“It’s incredibly dramatic to go from a controlled dystopian city setting to an almost primitive village life… with a fantastic plot that ties it together neatly in the end.” – Mehlynn
Spindlers, by Lauren Oliver; Harper
“…theme of courage and love always makes me happy.” – Claire
Splendors and Glooms, by Laura Amy Schlitz; Candlewick
“I felt the characters came alive…” – Ethan
Starry River of the Sky, by Grace Lin; Little, Brown
“..compare the change in their personalities from start to finish.” Bonnie
Summer and Bird, by Katherine Catmull; Dutton
“The writing style… haunts you.” – Krista
Summer of the Gypsy Moths, by Sara Pennypacker; Balzer+Bray
“The bonding and the theme of the connection between the two girls…” – Cassidy
Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage; Dial Books
“…many plot twists mixed with great elements of suspense kept me enthralled.” – Mehlynn
Tracks, by Diane Wilson; McElderry Books
“The setting had a strong effect… the characters felt strong and believable.” – Bonnie
Unfortunate Son, by Constance Leeds; Viking
“…how the author made every moment memorable.” – Cassidy
Ungifted, by Gordon Korman; Balzer+Bray
“…heartwarming and hilarious at the same time.” – Mehlynn
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio; Knopf
“…the multi-person point of view worked really well because you saw how different people felt about the boy and his face.” – Mikala

I am proud of these kids’ accomplishment to come up with their own nomination list again this year.  What other titles would you suggest we consider for our Mock Newbery Award in January?

The Wicked and the Just, by J. Anderson Coats

Summary:  Cecily longs to return to her beloved Edgeley Hall, where her father was lord of the manor. But now he has completely ruined her life. He is moving them to Caernarvon, in occupied Wales, where he can get a place for almost nothing, since the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will get to be the lady of the house at last-if all goes well. Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English came and destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now Gwenhwyfar must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl who has taken what should have been hers. While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And meanwhile the Welsh are not as conquered as they seem. Outside the city walls of Caernarvon, tensions are rising ever higher-until finally they must reach the breaking point.


Find it at WCPL

Zora!: the life of Zora Neal Hurston, By Dennis Brindell Fradin

Summary:  Zora Neale Hurston was confident, charismatic, and determined to be extraordinary. As a young woman, Hurston lived and wrote alongside such prominent authors as Langston Hughes and Alain Locke during the Harlem Renaissance. But unfortunately, despite writing the luminary work Their Eyes Were Watching God, she was always short of money. Though she took odd jobs as a housemaid and as the personal assistant to an actress, Zora often found herself in abject poverty. Through it all, Zora kept writing. And though none of her books sold more than a thousand copies while she was alive, she was rediscovered a decade later by a new generation of readers, who knew they had found an important voice of American Literature.


Goblin Secrets, by William Alexander

Summary:  In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around–much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared. Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan–because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.

Margaret K. McElderry Books

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Abraham Lincoln & Frederick Douglass: the story behind an American friendship, by Russell Freedman

Summary:  Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominence–Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery.


Find it at WCPL

After Eli, by Rebecca Rupp

Summary:  After Daniel’s brother Eli is killed at war, Daniel considers the history of unusual fatalities to determine what makes a death–or life–matter.


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Try this!

Friday’s meeting was challenging, but amazing.  In preparation for further nominations NEXT meeting, we were challenged to talk about our books WITHOUT referring to plot.  That’s right.  And these kids did an incredible job – writing style, characters, setting, organization of information – and only referred to the plot a few times when these things were necessarily influenced by the plot.  Not the other way around.  Great job, kids!

Now I challenge YOU – which books actually stand out before considering plot??

Will Sparrow’s Road, by Karen Cushman

Summary:  Twelve-year-old Will Sparrow, a liar, thief, and rogue, decides to leave his hard life behind and make his own way in Elizabethan England. On the road, he encounters a string of con artists even more talented than he is. Will gets a bigger dose of his own medicine when he joins a troupe of  oddities,  including a dwarf and a cat-faced girl.


Find it at WCPL

Summer of the Mariposas, by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Summary:  When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero’s journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house.  Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them? Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey , it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.

Tu Books

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Return to the Willows, by Jacqueline Kelly

Summary:  Mole, Ratty, Toad, and Badger are back for more rollicking adventures in this sequel to The Wind in the Willows . With lavish illustrations by Clint Young, Jacqueline Kelly masterfully evokes the magic of Kenneth Grahame’s beloved children’s classic and brings it to life for a whole new generation.

Henry Holt

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The Vengekeep Prophecies, by Brian Farrey

Summary:  Jaxter Grimjinx is a born thief. At least, he’s supposed to be. For generations, the Grimjinx clan has produced the swiftest, cleverest thieves in Vengekeep. The problem is, Jaxter is clumsy. So clumsy that in his first solo heist, he sets the Castellan’s house on fire and lands his family in the gaol. Even Jaxter’s skill for breaking magical locks can’t get them out of this bind. Then a suspiciously convenient prophecy emerges naming the Grimjinx clan as the soon-to-be heroes of Vengekeep.  Now-like it or not-Jaxter Grimjinx will have to become the hero he was truly born to be.


Find it at WCPL

Summer and Bird, by Katherine Catmull

Summary:  When their parents disappear in the middle of the night, young sisters Summer and Bird set off on a quest to find them. A cryptic picture message from their mother leads them to a familiar gate in the woods, but comfortable sights quickly give way to a new world entirely-Down-one inhabited by talking birds and the evil Puppeteer queen. Summer and Bird are quickly separated, and their divided hearts lead them each in a very different direction in the quest to find their parents, vanquish the Puppeteer, lead the birds back to their Green Home, and discover the identity of the true bird queen.


Find it at WCPL


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