2020 Nominees

The Finest Hours (Young Readers Edition)

posted Sep 10, 2019, 10:21 AM by Jim Windisch

by Michael J. Tougias & Casey Sherman

On the night of February 18, 1952, during one of the worst winter storms that New England has ever seen, two oil tankers just off the shore of Cape Cod were torn in half. With the storm in full force and waves up to 70 feet high, four coast guardsmen headed out to sea in a tiny lifeboat to come to the rescue. They were the only hope for the stranded sailors. Despite incredible obstacles, these brave men risked their lives, remembering the unofficial Coast Guard motto: You have to go out, but you do not have to come back.

Summary and cover image from Macmillan. Photos and additional information about the Coast Guard crew responsible for the Pendleton rescue available at Michael Tougias's website

Fortunately, The Milk

posted Sep 10, 2019, 10:12 AM by Jim Windisch

by Neil Gaiman
illustrated by Skottie Young

"I bought the milk," said my father. "I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: t h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road."

"Hullo," I said to myself. "That's not something you see every day. And then something odd happened."

Excerpt and cover image from HarperCollins. Audiobook Excerpt, Reading Guide, Printable Activity, and Author Essay available at publisher's website.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

posted Sep 10, 2019, 9:59 AM by Jim Windisch   [ updated Sep 10, 2019, 10:14 AM ]

by Shannon Messenger

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She’s skipped multiple grades and doesn’t really connect with the older kids at school, but she’s not comfortable with her family, either. The reason? Sophie’s a Telepath, someone who can read minds. No one knows her secret—at least, that’s what she thinks…

But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she’s not alone. He’s a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well…she isn’t. Fitz opens Sophie’s eyes to a shocking truth, and she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

But Sophie still has secrets, and they’re buried deep in her memory for good reason: The answers are dangerous and in high-demand. What is her true identity, and why was she hidden among humans? The truth could mean life or death—and time is running out.

Summary and cover image from Simon & Schuster. Bonus content available at Shannon Messenger's website.

The Red Pencil

posted Sep 10, 2019, 9:55 AM by Jim Windisch

by Andrea Davis Pinkney
illustrated by Shane W. Evans

“Amira, look at me,” Muma insists.
She collects both my hands in hers.
“The Janjaweed attack without warning.
If ever they come— run.”

Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala— Amira’s one true dream.

But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey— on foot— to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind— and all kinds of possibilities.

Summary and cover image from Little, Brown Young Readers. Audiobook excerpt available at publisher's website. 

Save Me a Seat

posted Sep 10, 2019, 9:46 AM by Jim Windisch   [ updated Sep 10, 2019, 10:29 AM ]

by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: school.

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common, but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.

Summary and cover image from Scholastic. Project Ideas and Author interview at Sarah Weeks's website. Scholastic Book Clubs hosts a Book Boys video, a book discussion, a video author interview, and a classroom activity sheet for Save Me a Seat.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

posted Sep 10, 2019, 9:39 AM by Jim Windisch

by Kelly Jones
illustrated by Katie Kath

Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse….
 
And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.
 
Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more.

Summary and cover image from Penguin Random House

The War that Saved My Life

posted Sep 9, 2019, 8:07 PM by Jim Windisch

by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.
 
So begins a new adventure for Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?

Summary and cover image from Penguin Random House. Educator's Guide available from publisher.

The Wild Robot

posted Sep 9, 2019, 7:44 PM by Jim Windisch   [ updated Sep 10, 2019, 9:47 AM by Jim Windisch ]

By Peter Brown

Can a robot survive in the wilderness?

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is all alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is--but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a violent storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants.

As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home--until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.

Cover image and summary from Little, Brown Young Readers. Book Club Guide and Audiobook Excerpt available at publisher's website.




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