2019 Nominated Books

Liar & Spy

posted Aug 19, 2018, 3:19 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of Liar & Spy
by Rebecca Stead

The first day Georges (the S is silent) moves into a new Brooklyn apartment, he sees a sign taped to a door in the basement: SPY CLUB MEETING—TODAY! 
 
That’s how he meets his twelve-year-old neigh­bor Safer. He and Georges quickly become allies—and fellow spies. Their assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer’s requests become more and more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend? 

Cover image and summary from Penguin Random House

The Dreamer

posted Aug 19, 2018, 3:13 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of The Dreamer
by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Much to his father's disappointment, Neftalí is not like other children. Frail and painfully shy, he spends most of his time alone: collecting treasures, reading, writing, and daydreaming — pastimes his authoritarian father thinks are for fools.

Neftalí finds beauty and wonder everywhere: in the oily colors of mud puddles; a lost glove, sailing on the wind; the music of birds and language. The natural world and his native Chile and the painful injustices Neftalí witnesses there move him equally. While his father plans to build him into a robust doctor, Neftalí has other longings. Against all odds, Neftalí prevails against his father's cruelty and his own crippling shyness to become one of the most widely read poets in the world, Pablo Neruda. How Neftalí reconciles his own dreams with his father's is at the heart of this inspiring, radiant, and profoundly moving story of self-discovery.

Cover image and summary from Scholastic. Discussion guide available at publisher's website.

A Long Walk to Water

posted Aug 19, 2018, 3:07 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of A Long Walk to Water
by Linda Sue Park

...A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

Cover image and summary from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Savvy

posted Aug 19, 2018, 3:03 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of Savvy: 10th Anniversary Edition
by Ingrid Law

Thirteen is when a Beaumont’s savvy hits—and with one brother who causes hurricanes and another who creates electricity, Mibs Beaumont is eager to see what she gets. But just before the big day, Poppa is in a terrible accident. And now all Mibs wants is a savvy that will save him. In fact, Mibs is so sure she’ll get a powerful savvy that she sneaks a ride to the hospital on a rickety bus with her sibling and the preacher’s kids in tow. After this extraordinary adventure—full of talking tattoos and a kidnapping—not a soul on board will ever be the same.

Cover image and summary from Penguin Random House

Restart

posted Aug 19, 2018, 2:58 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of Restart
by Gordon Korman

A boy who's been a bully and hanging out with the wrong friends gets a new start after a memory-loss-inducing accident. But can someone really change who he is, or will the old him merely come back over time?

Cover image and summary from Scholastic

Turtle in Paradise

posted Aug 19, 2018, 2:49 PM by Jim Windisch

Cover of Turtle in Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm

...life isn’t like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of rag tag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways.

Cover image and summary from Penguin Random House

The Jumbies

posted Aug 19, 2018, 2:27 PM by Jim Windisch

Book cover for The Jumbies
by Tracey Baptiste

Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They’re just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn’t know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.

Cover image and summary from Workman. Author insights, reader's guide, meet the cast, and Field Guide to Jumbies available at publisher's website.

The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp

posted Aug 19, 2018, 2:22 PM by Jim Windisch

Book cover of The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp
by Kathi Appelt

Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts.

Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member of any such organization. But he loves the swamp something fierce, and he’ll do anything to help protect it.

And help is surely needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn Sugar Man swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, and the troubles don’t end there. There is also a gang of wild feral hogs on the march, headed straight toward them all.

The Scouts are ready. All they have to do is wake up the Sugar Man. Problem is, no one’s been able to wake that fellow up in a decade or four…

Cover image and summary from Simon & Schuster. Reading group guide available at publisher's website.

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