Massachusetts Children’s Book Award 2011 (ages 7-16)

Best Books for Kids

Our elementary school librarian has a shelf dedicated to the Massachusetts Book Award short list books (below) and there is a challenge to the 5th Graders to read the entire list.  The reviews are from the Acton Memorial Library.  If you click on the book title, you can reserve the book through the Minuteman Library System of MetroWest Boston.  If you click on the book, you can take a look at it in Amazon.  If you click on the author link, you will go to their website.

p.s.  For a list of Potential 2011 Caldecott and Newbery Winners from School Library Journal, please click here.

p.p.s. For another list of Potential Newbery Winners from ex-Newbery Judge and Librarian Amanda Stuckmeyer, click here.

p.p.p.s. For a list of actual Newbery winners so far, click here.

Chains: Seeds of America by Laurie Halse Anderson
After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. (Grades 6-10)

The Underneath (book) or The Underneath (book on cd) by Kathi Appelt
An old hound that has been chained up at his hateful owner’s run-down shack, and two kittens born underneath the house, endure separation, danger, and many other tribulations in their quest to be reunited and free. A little sad for kids! (Grades 4-8)

Home of the Brave (book) or Home of the Brave (book on cd) by Katherine Applegate
Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner. (Grades 5-7)

Iron Thunder by Avi
Tom’s job as an assistant to Captain John Ericsson, the inventor of the Monitor, makes him a target of Confederate spies. (Grades 4-7)

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
When seventh-grader Calder Pillay disappears from a remote English village–along with an Alexander Calder sculpture to which he has felt strangely drawn–his friends Petra and Tommy fly from Chicago to help his father find him.(Grades 5-8)

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows
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 to the present day. (Grades 3-6)

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Jason, a twelve-year-old autistic boy who wants to become a writer, relates what his life is like as he tries to make sense of his world. (Grades 4-7)

The Potato Chip Puzzles: The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin
Winston and his friends enter an all-day puzzle contest to win fifty-thousand dollars for their school, but they must also figure out who is trying to keep them from winning. Puzzles for the reader to solve are included throughout the text. (Grades 4-7)

Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
More adventures at school and at home with Jake, a first-grader, and his older sister Abigail, known to each other as the Pain and the Great One. (Grades 3-5)

No Talking! by Andrew Clements
The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a “no talking” contest. (Grades 3-6)

The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
Born in the eighteenth year of Enclosure, ten-year-old Honor lives in a highly regulated colony with her defiant parents, but when they have an illegal second child and are taken away, it is up to Honor and her friend Helix, another “unpredictable”, to uncover a terrible secret about their island and the corporation that runs everything. (Grades 6-10)

Just Grace (book) or Just Grace (book on cd)by Charise Mericle Harper
Misnamed by her teacher, seven-year-old Just Grace prides herself on being empathetic, but when she tries to help a neighbor feel better, her good intentions backfire. (Grades 2-4)

Alabama Moon by Watt Key
After the death of his father, ten-year-old Moon leaves their forest shelter home and is sent to an Alabama institution, becoming entangled in the outside world he has never known and making good friends, a relentless enemy, and finally a new life. (Grades 6-8)

Savvy by Ingrid Law
Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her “savvy”–a magical power unique to each member of her family–just as her father is injured in a terrible accident. (Grades 4-7)

Truth and Salsa by Linda Lowery
Having moved temporarily from Michigan to live with her grandmother in Mexico, twelve-year-old Hayley tries to sort out her feelings about her parents’ separation while also helping some townsmen who have run into trouble while working in the United States. (Grades 4-7)

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
In this tongue-in-cheek take on classic themes in children’s literature, the four Willoughby children set about to become “deserving orphans” after their neglectful parents embark on a treacherous around-the-world adventure, leaving them in the care of an odious nanny. (Grades 4-7)

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan
Edward is one of a large and close family that loves baseball, music, books, and each other, and when he unexpectedly dies and his parents donate his organs, his wonderful eyes go to a perfect recipient. (Grades 4-6)

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again. (Grades 4-6)

Three Cups of Tea(Young Readers Edition)(book) or Three Cups of Tea(Young Readers Edition)(book) or Three Cups of Tea(Young Readers Edition)(book on cd) by Greg Mortenson
An adaptation of the bestselling book about the American Greg Mortenson’s building of over 60 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Grades 6-8)

Eleven (book) or Eleven (book on cd) by Patricia Reilly Giff
When Sam, who can barely read, discovers an old newspaper clipping just before his eleventh birthday, it brings forth memories from his past, and, with the help of a new friend at school and the castle they are building for a school project, his questions are eventually answered. (Grades 5-7)

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta
For twenty-two years, since a fateful baseball game against their rival town, it has rained in Moundville, so when the rain finally stops, twelve-year-old Roy, his friends, and foster brother Sturgis dare to face the curse and form a team. (Grades 4-7)

First Light by Rebecca Stead
When twelve-year-old Peter and his family arrive in Greenland for his father’s research, he stumbles upon a secret his mother has been hiding from him all his life, and begins an adventure he never imagines possible. (Grades 5-8)

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John
After a fire kills her parents, eleven-year-old Martine must leave England to live with her grandmother on a wildlife game reserve in South Africa, where she befriends a mythical white giraffe. (Grades 4-7)

Honey Cake by Joan Betty Stuchner
David and his family live in Denmark during the Nazi occupation, until September 1943 when their neighbors help smuggle them to Sweden to escape Hitler’s orders to send the Danish Jews to concentration camps. Includes a recipe for honey cake, typically made to celebrate the Jewish New Year. (Grades 3-5)

100 Cupboards: Book 1 (book) or 100 Cupboards: Book 1 (book on cd) by N.D. Wilson
After his parents are kidnapped, timid twelve-year-old Henry York leaves his sheltered Boston life and moves to small-town Kansas, where he and his cousin Henrietta discover and explore hidden doors in his attic room that seem to open onto other worlds. (Grades 5-7)

To view any book at Amazon, please click on image of the picture

OR click on Book Title to Reserve through the Minuteman Library System of MetroWest Boston.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Josh

    Wow! I found a few books tha I’m actually reading now. The book before the Potato Chip Puzzles is excellent!

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