Potential Newbery and Caldecott Winners for 2013
King County Library System Mock Newbery
Eva Perry Mock Newbery Blog Club (Kids Predict Newbery)
I’m compiling a list of books that these gurus are predicting and trying to read them all before January when the awards are announced. This list will also be my go to for getting books into my kids’ hands and for holiday gifts.
p.s. Actual 2013 Winners here.
Possible Newbery Medal 2013 Winners
Unforgettable Characters That Inspire Us
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
After being home schooled all his life, 10-year-old August “Auggie” Pullman is starting 5th grade at a private middle school in his Upper East Side neighborhood. He wonders if anyone will realize that he’s just a normal kid underneath his severely disfigured face, an affliction he was born with. His middle school classmates are challenged to “be kinder than is necessary” but can they? Will they? In this uplifting story, it turns out that everyone carries some kind of disfigurement that feels isolating, even though most can’t be seen. Readers will cheer for Auggie as he experiences acts of kindness that do indeed change his world. I’d hand this book to boys or girls in grades 4th-6th, particularly for those with special needs classmates.
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles
MG author Karen Day told me about this book when I saw her at the dog park. She said our local beloved children’s librarian loved this book so much that she made it her avatar. Enough said. I bought a copy and ended up reading the day before the Newtown tragedy. It was the right book at the right time in that See You at Harry’s can take a family tragedy and some how leave us feeling like thinks will somehow be ok. 12-year-old Fern is also an unforgettable character. If this were a movie, she’d win an Oscar. This chapter book is deserving of a Newbery!
Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.
But when tragedy unexpectedly strikes, Stella and Angel are forced to rely on each other to survive, and they learn that they are stronger together than they could have imagined. And over the course of the summer they discover the one thing they do have in common: dreams of finally belonging to a real family.
The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.
In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town—like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed—three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan. . . .
As two very different worlds are woven together, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech celebrates the gossamer thread that connects us all, and the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness.
This book is probably Sharon Creech’s finest to date with a tightly constructed interwoven plot that is From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (the outside narrator that the plot turns on) meets Irish faerie magical realism. While the cast of characters is large, each person plays a role in this story that spans generations of sorrow yet wraps up in a denouement that is both inspiring and satisfying. The Newbery award seems to favor a windy plot set in small town Americana. I put my money on this book for the top Newbery award!
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone’s business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she’s been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her “upstream mother,” she’s found a home with the Colonel–a café owner with a forgotten past of his own–and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.
Full of wisdom, humor, and grit, this timeless yarn will melt the heart of even the sternest Yankee.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.
Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.
Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.
Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.
May B. by Caroline Starr Rose
May is helping out on a neighbor’s Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it’s hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May’s memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she’s determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose’s fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.
It took me a long time to attempt Caroline Starr Rose’s much lauded novel-in-verse. The premise of the book scared me; I hate reading about kids in sad and unfortunate situations. My heart bleeds for them.
Mavis Elizabeth Betterly -> May Betts -> May B.
I read On the Banks of Plum Creek as a child which paints a more idyllic life on the prairie than May B.’s grim, hard-scrabble life. Stranded in a sod house by herself in the midst of a blizzard, wolves, and not enough provisions, May B. must find a way to survive. Yet, despite the physical hardships which could very well prove fatal, her struggle to read is her more important battle. This is the one that her self esteem and a more promising future rests upon.
The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds
Kidnapping, family secrets, and adventure on the high seas–perfect for middle grade fans of historical fiction!
What does it mean to be lucky? Luc doesn’t really know. He was born with just one ear, his father constantly berates him, and his younger brother is already bigger and stronger than he is. But when he is chosen to become an apprentice to a local fisherman, his life takes a turn for the better. Luc is a natural at sea, and before long he and a teenaged girl who lives with the fisherman form a strong bond. That bond is tested when Luc is taken captive by a band of merciless pirates, and sold into slavery.
Moving from 1485 to 1500, from France to Africa, from humble beginnings to a noble future, this historical fiction adventure will leave readers pondering the true meaning of good fortune.
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
The instant New York Times bestseller from the author of the Newbery Medal book When You Reach Me: a story about spies, games, and friendship. Seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building and meets Safer, a twelve-year-old self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: what is a lie, and what is a game? How far is too far to go for your only friend? Like the dazzling When You Reach Me, Liar & Spy will keep readers guessing until the end.
Stead’s new book is a spare zen gem with the names of her characters shouldering some of the story telling. There’s Candy, Safer’s little sister who loves candy. Bob English Who Draws is rewriting the rules of English. And, of course, seventh grader Georges, named after artist Georges Saurat whose dot paints are a metaphor for Georges’ middle school life. Focus on the big picture when bullies pick on him. Notice the small dots when they don’t. Seeing the picture is harder than it seems. Things shift. People change. All is not what it seems. This is a remarkable book. I’d hand this to kids who like Newbery books as well as anyone who loved Hoot by Carl Hiaasen.
Spendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
The master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini, is so expert at manipulating his stringed puppets that they appear alive. Clara Wintermute, the only child of a wealthy doctor, is spellbound by Grisini’s act and invites him to entertain at her birthday party. Seeing his chance to make a fortune, Grisini accepts and makes a splendidly gaudy entrance with caravan, puppets, and his two orphaned assistants.
Lizzie Rose and Parsefall are dazzled by the Wintermute home. Clara seems to have everything they lack — adoring parents, warmth, and plenty to eat. In fact, Clara’s life is shadowed by grief, guilt, and secrets. When Clara vanishes that night, suspicion of kidnapping falls upon the puppeteer and, by association, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall.
As they seek to puzzle out Clara’s whereabouts, Lizzie and Parse uncover Grisini’s criminal past and wake up to his evil intentions. Fleeing London, they find themselves caught in a trap set by Grisini’s ancient rival, a witch with a deadly inheritance to shed before it’s too late.
What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt
The Valorim are about to fall to a dark lord when they send a necklace containing their planet across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Mass.
Mourning his late mother, Tommy doesn’t notice much about the chain he found, but soon he is drawing the twin suns and humming the music of a hanorah. As Tommy absorbs the art and language of the Valorim, their enemies target him. When a creature begins ransacking Plymouth in search of the chain, Tommy learns he must protect his family from villains far worse than he’s ever imagined.
Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
B95 can feel it: a stirring in his bones and feathers. It’s time. Today is the day he will once again cast himself into the air, spiral upward into the clouds, and bank into the wind.
He wears a black band on his lower right leg and an orange flag on his upper left, bearing the laser inscription B95. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingly long lifetime, this gritty, four-ounce marathoner has flown the distance to the moon—and halfway back!
B95 is a robin-sized shorebird, a red knot of the subspecies rufa. Each February he joins a flock that lifts off from Tierra del Fuego, headed for breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, nine thousand miles away. Late in the summer, he begins the return journey.
B95 can fly for days without eating or sleeping, but eventually he must descend to refuel and rest. However, recent changes at ancient refueling stations along his migratory circuit—changes caused mostly by human activity—have reduced the food available and made it harder for the birds to reach. And so, since 1995, when B95 was first captured and banded, the worldwide rufa population has collapsed by nearly 80 percent. Most perish somewhere along the great hemispheric circuit, but the Moonbird wings on. He has been seen as recently as November 2011, which makes him nearly twenty years old. Shaking their heads, scientists ask themselves: How can this one bird make it year after year when so many others fall?
National Book Award–winning author Phillip Hoose takes us around the hemisphere with the world’s most celebrated shorebird, showing the obstacles rufa red knots face, introducing a worldwide team of scientists and conservationists trying to save them, and offering insights about what we can do to help shorebirds before it’s too late. With inspiring prose, thorough research, and stirring images, Hoose explores the tragedy of extinction through the triumph of a single bird.
Civil Rights Themed Potential Newbery Winners
Crow by Barbara Wright
The summer of 1898 is filled with ups and downs for 11-year-old Moses. He’s growing apart from his best friend, his superstitious Boo-Nanny butts heads constantly with his pragmatic, educated father, and his mother is reeling from the discovery of a family secret. Yet there are good times, too. He’s teaching his grandmother how to read. For the first time she’s sharing stories about her life as a slave. And his father and his friends are finally getting the respect and positions of power they’ve earned in the Wilmington, North Carolina, community. But not everyone is happy with the political changes at play and some will do anything, including a violent plot against the government, to maintain the status quo.
One generation away from slavery, a thriving African American community—enfranchised and emancipated—suddenly and violently loses its freedom in turn of the century North Carolina when a group of local politicians stages the only successful coup d’etat in US history.
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine
Two girls separated by race form an unbreakable bond during the tumultuous integration of Little Rock schools in 1958
Twelve-year-old Marlee doesn’t have many friends until she meets Liz, the new girl at school. Liz is bold and brave, and always knows the right thing to say, especially to Sally, the resident mean girl. Liz even helps Marlee overcome her greatest fear – speaking, which Marlee never does outside her family.
But then Liz is gone, replaced by the rumor that she was a Negro girl passing as white. But Marlee decides that doesn’t matter. Liz is her best friend. And to stay friends, Marlee and Liz are willing to take on integration and the dangers their friendship could bring to both their families.
Miles to Go for Freedom by Linda Barrett Osborne
Told through unforgettable first-person accounts, photographs, and other primary sources, this book is an overview of racial segregation and early civil rights efforts in the United States from the 1890s to 1954, a period known as the Jim Crow years. Multiple perspectives are examined as the book looks at the impact of legal segregation and discrimination on the day-to-day life of black and white Americans across the country. Complete with a bibliography and an index, this book is an important addition to black history books for young readers.
We’ve Got a Job by Cynthia Levinson
We’ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alalama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. s precept to fill the jails, they succeeded where adults had failed in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants who have participated in extensive interviews, We’ve Got a Job recounts the astonishing events before, during, and after the Children’s March.
2013 Caldecott Medal Possible Winners
There is scuttlebutt that to win the Caldecott, the name of the game is a new style of illustration and hence collage, with its inherent uniqueness, is leading the charge. With that premise, I wanted to add a few picks of my own, Nighttime Ninja and The Red Knit Cap Girl.
Nighttime Ninja by Barbara DaCosta and illustrated by Ed Young
Late at night, when all is quiet and everyone is asleep, a ninja creeps silently through the house in search of treasure. Soon he reaches his ultimate goal…and gets a big surprise! Will the nighttime ninja complete his mission?
A Strange Place to Call Home: The World’s Most Dangerous Habitats & The Animals That Call Them Home by poet Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Ed Young
It is entirely possible that my 2nd grade son and I are not sophisticated enough to appreciate good poetry. For example, we failed to recognize the different forms of poetry Singer used including haiku (how did we miss that one?!), triolet, sonnet, cinquain, villanelle and terza rima. Instead, I tried with great difficulty to get some rhythm to the difficult rhyme structures and puzzled over the repetitive lines. I think free verse is more our thing. Nevertheless, it’s worth it to read this book for the photo realism art collages that Ed Young has created. The animals are cool too!
Red Knit Cap Girl by Naoko Stoop
The story reminds me of Kitten’s First Full Moon, another Caldecott winner.
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Baby Bear has so much to learn about the world! From the moment he wakes until it’s time to curl up and go to sleep, he explores outside with his mama. They see green leaves, blue jays, brown trout, and—best of all—a patch of yummy red strawberries.
From bestselling picture book creator Ashley Wolff, here is a clever concept book that combines engaging and intricate linocut illustrations with a story that enthusiastically encourages children to identify a variety of vibrant colors. Young readers will delight in this chance to join Baby Bear as he discovers the colorful wonders of his lively, leafy forest home.
Because Amelia smiles as she skips down the street, her neighbor Mrs. Higgins smiles too, and decides to send a care package of cookies to her grandson Lionel in Mexico. The cookies give Lionel an idea, and his idea inspires a student, who in turn inspires a ballet troupe in England! And so the good feelings that started with Amelia’s smile make their way around the world, from a goodwill recital in Israel, to an impromptu rumba concert in Paris, to a long-awaited marriage proposal in Italy, to a knitted scarf for a beloved niece back in New York. Putting a unique spin on “what goes around comes around,” David Ezra Stein’s charmingly illustrated story reminds us that adding even a small dose of kindness into the world is sure to spur more and more kindness, which could eventually make its way back to you!
Following a snow-filled winter, a young boy and his dog decide that they’ve had enough of all that brown and resolve to plant a garden. They dig, they plant, they play, they wait . . . and wait . . . until at last, the brown becomes a more hopeful shade of brown, a sign that spring may finally be on its way.
Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
This looks like an ordinary box full of ordinary yarn. But it turns out it isn’t.
Meet Chloe: Every week, she collects loose change so she can buy tickets to ride the merry-go-round. But one fateful day, she gets lost in the woods on her way home, and a large dragon leaps out from—”Wait! It’s supposed to be a lion,” says Mac Barnett, the author of this book. But Adam Rex, the illustrator, thinks a dragon would be so much cooler (don’t you agree?).
Mac’s power of the pen is at odds with Adam’s brush, and Chloe’s story hangs in the balance. Can she help them out of this quandary to be the heroine of her own story?
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.