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.

Our Third Short List

One of the unique features of our club is that we try to mimic the actual Newbery Committee process as closely as we can, so when we made our latest short list we did it the way the committee does. We each voted for our top three favorite titles so far this year, listing the reasons why we thought they were Newbery worthy. You can see the resulting list below along with some of the comments our readers made about the books. We will be having another top three vote in December, just like the official committee, that might add some titles to this list.

Our Third Short List

  • Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkowski
    Unique fantasy plot…” – J.
  • Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman
    This story is interesting… the challenges the main character had to face were very difficult..” 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.
    Very distinguished style of writing and an excellent plot sequence..” – T.
    It made you feel like you were there...” – J.
    Very unique story written for this audience…” – A.
    It could happen at any time…” – A.
    Being an older brother, I can imagine myself in the main character’s shoes, doing what he did. It made a powerful impression on me.” – E.
  • Diamond Willow by Helen Frost
    I was truly amazed at the depth of feelings of the characters in this book… the true story of the dog was surprising. I almost cried when I read this book.” – B.
    I like that you can get so much of the character’s feelings in the slight verse...” – R.
    This story continues to make me think more about it...” – A.
    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.
    I just loved the story and how so many things linked together in surprising ways.” – L.
  • The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
    It is very fun, had great characters, and the plot is awesome with an unexpected twist.” – J.
    A great adventure story that displays creativity on every page. The amount of limitless imagination kept me interested.” – E.
    Combination of strong plot line and good descriptive writing kept the story moving...” – A.
    Sort of like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but with a good twist.” – A.
    I think the different writing style had a huge impact. It has many twists in the plot. The descriptions in this book were spectacular and I almost caved into the feeling that Thorn was really not cheating.” – J.
    Kept me interested. Love the descriptions.” – A.
  • A Horse of Her Own by Annie Wedekind
    This is a story about finding out who you are and accepting that...” – Z.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    It is original...” – J.
    I felt that I was inside the book.” – B.
    Very intriguing plot and very good writing. It was very difficult to stop reading it...” – R.
    Very well thought out plot, great realistic characters…” – E.
  • In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer
    Very original and unique perspective…” – L.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante
    This impacted me greatly.” – E.
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
    I can relate to the characters emotionally…” – M.
  • Seer of Shadows by Avi
    Very interesting subject and fast-paced plot… very descriptive and pictured the setting well.” – B.
    I remember it after half a year...” – L.
  • Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Roark Dowell
    This book has all year remained at the top of my list, and the details have are still freshly in my mind.” – B.
  • 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
    What’s on the outside of a person is not what’s really on the inside. I was very nice to my sister after I read this book – it inspired me!” – B.
    Has a mixture of sappy, kinda dumb romance, humor, and seriousness.” – T.
  • Snow Falling in Spring by Moying Li
    Left a huge impact on me...” – C.
  • Tennyson by Leslie M. M. Blume
    The writing is beautifully done, with descriptions that are great and great plot ideas.” – M.
    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.
    Very surprising...” – A.
  • Trouble by Gary Schmidt
    I can picture it perfectly. It is almost poetic the way it is written.” – M.
    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.
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
    The overall way of telling the story is beautiful and poetic. Definitely unforgettable.” – L.
    It made me cry. This story is told in a unique, almost poetic way.” – B.
    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.
    There is still hope even when it seems like all is lost. It had a lasting impact on me. The characters were so loving and hopeful and they were strong. I also loved the ending…” – Z.
    The writing style was really casual, but very moving. I really enjoyed the two separate plot lines and how they were so very different from each other but interwoven...” – M.
  • 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.

Some Statistics

Since we started reading for our 2009 mock Newbery awards back in April, we’ve read 233 different books! We’ve passed about half of them on into Nice But Not Newbery status, but still have 117 titles on our big-cart-o’-books, where we keep the titles we are currently reading.

Some other interesting stats: Our blog has had 20,711 hits as of Sunday, October 26 at about 3pm. On our biggest day we had 412 hits. Our members and other interested folk have posted 458 comments on the blog so far, and twelve authors have commented, too.

Our Second Short List

Note: You may also want to take a look at our Third Short List from October 24.

We always stay late after closing at the library when we make a short list, partly because it takes longer than our usual meetings and partly so we can play the traditional game of Eva Perry Mock Newbery Club Lock-In Freeze Tag. So here is a picture of everybody’s shoes while they are racing around screaming and laughing playing freeze tag. And here is that long awaited second short list. Now that we’ve read more books we have new favorites, but several of the old favorites are still on there.

Second 2009 Mock Newbery Short List

You can compare our list to these other mock Newbery short lists:

Discussing Snow Falling in Spring

We discussed Snow Falling in Spring by Moying Li with Xiaoke Chen (pink polo shirt), a staff member at Eva Perry Library, at our last meeting. Xiaoke grew up in Bejing during the same period as Moying Li. It was interesting to hear about the Cultural Revolution first hand and ask questions about that time period. Everyone in our club is encouraged to read this book! It was on our first short list.

Our First Short List

Note: You may also want to take a look at our Second Short List from August 22, or our Third Short List from October 24, but here is the post from our first short list which we made way back in June.

We made our first short list of the year at our last meeting! Each of the books on the list is the current favorite of at least one of our club members. Now everyone in the club will try to read these books so we can decide whether they will stay or go when we make our next short list in a few months. Some of these titles might even be part of our final five in January!

P.S. At our next meeting, we added a few others, thanks to those kids who couldn’t make our first Lock-In.

The List

Our 10th Anniversary!

Can you believe our club is 10 years old? Some of our original members have already graduated from college! Members of the Eva Perry Mock Printz club brought us cupcakes and provided a little entertainment at our first meeting of the year to celebrate.

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