Only 6 months until ALA awards another Newbery Medal. With my 0 for 1 record in predicting the winners, I am on a quest to get it right this year- or at least award my Bizzaro Newbery correctly! Here are some titles that I want to read ASAP! If I had a time machine, I would use it to go into the future and buy these books. Does anyone have one I can borrow? (A time machine that is). Now, my opinion of these books being contenders may change after I read them! I will keep you posted!
In no particular order:
1. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Sept 13, 2011):
Relates the stories of twelve-year-old Ben, who loses his mother and his hearing in a short time frame and decides to leave his Minnesota home in 1977 to seek the father he has never known in New York City; and Rose, who lives with her father but feels compelled to search for what is missing in her life. Ben's story is told in words; Rose's in pictures.(Follett)
2, No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis (Sept 13, 2011): Valli has always been afraid of the lepers living on the other side of the train tracks in the coal town of Jharia, India, so when a chance encounter with a doctor reveals she also has leprosy, Valli rejects help and begins an uncertain life on the streets.(Follett)
3. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (Sept 27, 2011): Hazel and Jack are best friends until an accident with a magical mirror and a run-in with a villainous queen find Hazel on her own, entering an enchanted wood in the hopes of saving Jack's life. (Follett)
4. City of Orphans by Avi (Aug 15, 2011): In 1893 New York, thirteen-year-old Maks, a newsboy, teams up with Willa, a homeless girl, to clear his older sister, Emma, from charges that she stole from the brand new Waldorf Hotel, where she works. (Follett)
5. The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer (Sept 13, 2011): After leading a solitary existence on an island, thirteen-year-old Martin discovers a village filled with children who live without adults after their families and friends disappeared one afternoon, but after meeting a mysterious boy who can talk to animals Martin thinks he can find a way to reunite the children with their families. (Follett)
6. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Sept 13, 2011): In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses. (Follett)
7. The Boy at the End of The World by Greg Van Eekhout (out now): Born half-grown in a world that is being destroyed, Fisher has instinctive knowledge of many things, including that he must avoid the robot that knows his name.(Follett)
8. Hidden by Helen Frost (out now):
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier (August 2011).Picture if you will a newborn baby boy placed in a basket and left to sail the ocean alone. When he is finally rescued by sailors his eyes have been pecked out by a raven. The sailors kill the raven and turn the baby over to the local authorities. The baby is given a name- Peter Nimble-and nothing else, and sent into the world to fend for himself. He lives for a time with a mama cat and her kittens, until they are discovered and thrown into the ocean in a burlap bag to drown. Peter manages to untie the bag and make it to safety. Having nobody to care for him, Peter learns to survive on his own. Although he is an infant- and a blind infant at that- he starts his career as a thief. By the age of 3, Peter had become a true menace to society. His talents were discovered by Mr. Seamus- a beggarmonger (a man who trains orphans to beg and steal and turn their booty over to him in exchange for "food" and "shelter"). Mr. Seamus always wanted to become a thief- but he was too clumsy to follow his dream. When he met Peter, he decided to sell off his other beggars and train Peter to become an expert thief. In fact, Peter became an expert at picking locks because Mr. Seamus locked all of Peter's meals inside an old sea chest- if he wanted to eat, he had to pick the lock.When a mysterious haberdasher (a man who sells men's hats and ties and such) comes to town, Peter's skills as a thief are put to the test. The boy steals a box of magical eyes from the haberdasher. The first time he touches the eyes, he knows that he must try them. He puts in the eyes and is instantly transported to a mysterious land. As it turns out, Peter had been summoned to help save The Vanished Kingdom. Using the fantastic eyes, he must set out on a fantastical quest where he befriends a part man, part kitten part horse creature, meets a dogfish bigger than a whale and gets stranded in the desert. I can't give away much more, because it will ruin the story for you- and you know I won't do that! But, I will tell you that you will read about swashbuckling, sword fighting, evil Kings, talking ravens and killer apes!
I can tell you that this is a quest that reminded me of so many great quests I have read- including The Wizard of Oz. Peter is a little bit like Dorothy who gets whisked away to a magical land where he must go on a journey to find the answers to his questions and to discover who he truly is and where he truly belongs. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy meets many memorable characters that help her along the way. Peter meets characters that help him on his quest as well (instead of The Cowardly Lion, we have Sir Tode)- and some that try to stop him from completing his quest (Instead of The Wicked Witch of the West, we have King Incarnadine). And like Dorothy, what Peter was looking for might have been with him all along. (Instead of ruby slippers we have... um, can't tell you!)This a fast paced adventure that will appeal to kids grades 4-8 (boys will devour this book
I am so impressed with the books that are coming out for tweens this year. Tweens (kids 8-12) are a special group of kids. They are pretty much done learning to read and most of them are now reading for pleasure. You can tell that I have tweens in the library because you will see them flocked around me asking me for a great book to read. It's like a pre-game huddle and I am the QB. I grab books from the shelf and give a quick booktalk- then the kids fight over who gets to check out the books. : ) I have been blown away by the quality of books that are available for these kids so far this year. The Newbery Committee is going to have a very difficult time selecting a winner this year. A book that I am sure will be fought over in The Lemme Library is Hidden by Helen Frost.
8 year old Wrenn is sitting in her mom's gold mini-van when she hears a gunshot. She quickly hides in the backseat as a man enters the van and speeds off. The man has stolen the van without knowing that there is a child in the backseat. Wrenn finds herself alone, scared and unintentionally kidnapped. Each time the kidnapper opens the door that leads into his house, Wrenn gets a glimpse of his family- his wife Stacey and 8 year old daughter Darra. When Stacey learns that there is a stolen car in her garage, she gets a black eye. When Darra hears on the news that there was a little girl inside that stolen car, she is told to turn off the news. Darra has a feeling that the girl is hiding in the garage and worries about what will happen if her dad finds her- so she is determined to find her and help her escape. Wrenn does escape and the police are lead to the house and the man is arrested.
Flash forward 7 years and it seems that Wrenn has grown up to be a happy, well-adjusted teenager. She is just settling into camp when she notices a new camper who is not at all happy to be there. When the new girl runs off, her mother calls after her and to Wrenn's surprise and terror, the camper is Darra- the daughter of the man who kidnapped her 7 years ago.
The 2 girls end up in the same cabin and in the same activities. They are forced to deal with feelings that they have been hiding all these years. Darra is angry- angry at Wrenn for getting her dad arrested and causing her parents to get divorced. Wrenn is overwhelmed with emotions from anger to terror- she didn't even know she felt that way until now.
That is all I will tell you about Wrenn and Darra. This story begs to be unfolded by the reader and not the reviewer.
At one time, Darra is out on a glass bottom boat- the kind of boat that you can look through and see right into the water. She sees all of these sunken ships that are resting on the bottom of the lake. She realizes that no matter how calm the water looks, you never know what is hiding just under the surface. That passage sums up this novel perfectly. Children (and adults) are walking around this great big world with a whole lot of stuff on their minds- issues from their past, problems they have now and worries about the future. Just because someone puts on a happy face and looks calm on the outside doesn't mean there isn't a hurricane brewing on the inside. This book will inadvertently t