Award season

On Monday, January 28th The American Library Association will honor the best written and illustrated children’s books, teen books and media of the year.  The oldest of these honors, the Newbery Medal, is awarded to the best written children’s book of the year.  It was first awarded in 1922 to The Story of Mankind:

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Now, I have never read The Story of Mankind, but I’ve read plenty of others Newbery winners, and I’ll bet you have too!  Are you wondering which books are being considered for the award in January?  Here are a few candidates that have had librarians talking all year:

Wonder  by R.J. Palacio

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Wonder challenges our perception of what  normal is by introducing us to Auggie Pullman, a normal 10 year old in every way except one:  he was born with severe facial deformities.  27 operations  have left him with, in his words, a “tiny mushed up face”.  Now he is about to leave the loving shelter of his home to enter 5th grade at a private middle school.  Teachers are prepared, other kids are charged with looking out for Auggie, but none of them are truly ready for Auggie’s physical realities.  Auggie, himself tells his story, then we get to hear it from the perspective of his new school friends, his sister and his sister’s ex-best friend.   This book is often funny, is a quick read and will get you talking about what it means to be a friend.

The One and Only Ivan   by  Katherine Applegate

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Everyone knows him as the Freeway Gorilla or the Ape at Exit 8, because he lives at the Big Top Mall and Arcade.  He prefers ‘Ivan’, and his dearest friends are Stella, the elephant whose “domain” is next to his, and a stray dog named Bob who likes to sleep in Ivan’s cage.  Ivan has lived and performed at the mall for 25 years. When Ruby, the baby elephant, joins the ’family’, Ivan sees his world as it really is for the first time, and comes up with a daring plan to change life for Ruby and for himself.  This story is based on the life of a real gorilla, named Ivan, who spent 1/2 of his life in a mall in Tacoma WA before he was finally donated to a local zoo.  Sadly, he died this fall, at Zoo Atlanta, where he had lived since 1994.  He was 50 years old.

Three Times Lucky  by Sheila Turnage

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It’s the beginning of summer and rising sixth grader, Mo LoBeau is looking forward to helping out at the cafe run by the only family she’s got: the Colonel and the fabulous Miss Lana.  She also wants to  find time to go fishing with her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III,  write her autobiography, and continue the search for her mother who gave birth to her 11 years ago during a hurricane,  tied baby Mo to a raft, which washed up in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina where she was found by the Colonel.  Then Trouble comes to town when a not-too-popular local man is murdered and Detective Joe Starr comes to investigate.  Suddenly, Mo’s friends and family are suspects and Mo decides it’s time to put her natural detecting talents to the test.

Splendors and Glooms  by Laura Amy Schlitz

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Set in Victorian England, this book has a witch, orphans, a poor little rich girl, disappearances, strange transformations, a creepy puppeteer, an amulet, and blood.  Not a lot of blood, but enough to make  an exciting story!  For her 12th birthday, Clara Wintermute asks her wealthy father to hire puppet master, Grisini to perform at her party.  Soon after she disappears. Lizzie Rose, apprenticed to Grisini along with a boy named Parsefall, begins to suspect her master is responsible for the disappearance of not only Clara, but other kids as well.  When the truth becomes clear, Lizzie and Parsefall find themselves on a harrowing trip to find a dying witch who may–or may not–help them.  The witch, however has her own plans for the children.

So, have I piqued your interest?  This is only small sample of the books being considered for the award–the members of the Newbery committee have been reading their way through boxes of new books all year!

Will the next Newbery be one of the books in this post?  Maybe it will be a new book you’ve just read!   We will find out Monday, January 28th at 8:00 AM PST (that’s 11:00 AM our time!).

Stay tuned!




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