Recently in Award Winners Category

MG Mystery

3timeslucky.jpgThree Times Lucky (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin, 2012) by Sheila Turnage is a murder mystery that won a Newbery Honor. I love how it opens: "Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt." 11-year-old Mo and her best friend Dale don't know it, but they're going to get mixed up good in the trouble that has come to town.

A sequel came out this year, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, which features Mo and Dale working to solve another mystery in their unusual small town. I haven't read it yet, but am looking forward to it!ghosts.jpg

On her website, author Sheila Turnage has a page for Questions Kids Ask Me AKA Report Homework--it's fun. Plus on her site you can read about her other books.


A Boy and an Elephant

CHAINED.jpgChained (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012) by Lynn Kelly is a story about a young boy in India rescuing others. First, it's his mother, then it's a baby elephant.

10-year-old Hastin thought that working at a circus taking care of an elephant would be fun. But he doesn't like the cruel treatment of the Nandita, who has become his best friend. Can he escape his master? Can he help Nandita escape, too?

While doing research for this book, author Lynn Kelly came across some interesting elephant facts, which she shares here. There's also a Chained website that includes deleted scenes and more, such as information about the elephant bell.

This book is a 2013 Crystal Kite winner--the award selected by SCBWI peers.ChainedIndiaFront.png

And here's the cover for the book published in India--just because I like it.

Secrets!

pledge-175.jpgIn The Pledge (Margaret K. McElderry, 2011) by Kimberly Derting, 17-year-old Charlaina speaks her vendor language of Parshon and the universal Englaise just as she should. But she also understands the languages of the classes above her and that's a secret she must keep hidden. It's forbidden in the country of Ludania to even look into the eyes of someone of higher class when they are speaking. And looking at a Council girl puts Charlaina's life at risk.

But that's just the start of this story. There's also underground dance clubs, an ancient autocratic queen looking for her replacement, and more secrets--like who Max is and the language he speaks--that affect the lives of everyone Charlaina cares for.

This book is the first in a trilogy and was chosen as a 2013 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection. I need to get the rest of the books about Charlaina and her world!

The sidebar on Kimberly Derting's blog "The Road to Publication," shows how many other countries The Pledge has been published in--9 besides US/Canada! Is that cool or what?

Kimberly has another trilogy in process and a series, too. Check them out here.




Hilariously Creepy

CCarrots.jpgCreepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown is one of those fun books where the images and words are telling different stories...or are they? I love the idea of the story--Jasper Rabbit can't get enough carrots...until they start following him. This 2013 Caldecott honor book was published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in 2012. (Thanks to editor Dani Young for introducing me to this book last fall!)

Looking at author Aaron Reynold's website, I see I need to read more of his books. Just by reading the titles, it's obvious that his sense of humor extends beyond one title.

Illustrator Peter Brown has a vimeo on how he created the art. Visit his website at www.peterbrownstudio.com/. I was first introduced to Peter's fabulously fun art with the book Chowder (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2007).

On either the illustrator or author website, you can see listings of the many awards and lists where this book is included.

Moving Story

StampCollector.JPGThe Stamp Collector (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012) by Jennifer Lanthier and illustrated by Francois Thisdale is a compelling picture book. It's the story of two boys--one a stamp collector and one who loved words. One was from the city and poor. One was from the country.

The poor boy leaves school and takes a job as a prison guard. The country boy after seeing crops fail leaves school and goes to work in a factory. He writes. His stories bring hope to the villagers, but the grey men take him away. They say "words are dangerous" and send him to prison.

Both the guard and the prisoner are lonely, but there is no talking, no friendship, no laughter. The writer's story is spreading. Letters start arriving for the writer, but he's not allowed to see them. The guard saves a stamp, then another. One day he reads the letters. He can't break the rules and give them to the prisoner. But he gives him a stamp. Then another. "Every stamp tells a story without words."

When the prisoner gets sick, the guard brings him the letters that beg for another story. In whispers, he has the prisoner tell him a new story. He is holding the prisoner's hand when he dies. The guard leaves his job, goes to a faraway library and begins to write.

This book has won a Crystal Kite Award and an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award.

Go to the author's site to hear about her inspiration for this story.

Go to the illustrator's site to see more of his beautiful artwork!


MG Mystery

A Boy and an Elephant

Secrets!

Hilariously Creepy

Moving Story

Cute Grandma Story

A Spooky Story just in time for Halloween

Heartbreaker

The amazing Laini Taylor

Eye-opening Historical

Anything But Typical

Historical MG in Verse

Amazing Historical

The Problemsolver Has His Own Problems

Love a Winner

Fascinating problem

Whose life?

Lovely Picture Book

Another time and now

Just love this kid!

Victorian fantasy

A book with heart

Really good story

One Strong Girl!

Distinct voices

Great first line

Very Very Good!

Very Interesting

Real or not real?

Funny pet story

A Dog Detective

Delightfully Dangerous

Something a bit different

Fearful stuff

What a sweet winner!

A 2011 Golden Kite Winner and Newbery Honor!

Unputdownable Fantasy

Shortlisted?

It Takes a Thief

Facts just slip into your mind

Humor, Attitude and Murder!

"Strange, adj, extraordinary, remarkable, singular"

Book Felt SO Real

Great First Line

Book 1 - glad more is coming

Newbery honor book

Great opening scene

You thought you had it tough?

Unforgettable

Character Growth

This book sticks with you! And offers hope.

Got voice?

2009 Newbery Winner

Fantasy to Love