Past nominees - 2017

A Snicker of Magic
Natalie Lloyd
Nominated by Mr. Windisch, Bryan Elementary

Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart.
But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck's about to change. A "word collector," Felicity sees words everywhere — shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog's floppy ears — but Midnight Gulch is the first place she's ever seen the word "home." And then there's Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity's never seen before, words that make Felicity's heart beat a little faster.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Brown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson
Nominated by Donalyn Miller,

Brown Girl Dreaming cover image
Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child's soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson's eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Hattie Big Sky
Kirby Larson
Nominated by Ms. O'Brien, Skyway Elementary

Hattie Big Sky cover image
Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends--especially Charlie, fighting in France--through letters and articles for her hometown paper.
Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a " Loyal" American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie's determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell
Chris Colfer
Nominated by Mrs. Palmer, Lewis and Clark Elementary

Goldilocks: wanted dead or alive for burglary, thievery, and running from the law. Little Red Riding Hood: a queen with her own kingdom. Cinderella: pregnant with her and Prince Charming's first child.
Ever after is here, and Alex and Conner are smack dab in the middle of it.
It all began when their grandmother visited them on their 12th birthday with a special gift: the book of fairy tales she used to read to them when they were little. But this is no ordinary book — it's a portal!
Suddenly Alex and Conner are transported to the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are more than real— they're out of control. Soon the twins are caught in a web of intrigue involving everyone from Jack (of beanstalk fame) to the Little Mermaid to the Big Bad Wolf, with Snow White's evil stepmother pulling the strings. And getting back home may require the greatest magic of all.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Counting by 7s
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Nominated by Mrs. Mangini, Moscow Middle School

Counting by 7s cover image
Willow Chance is a 12-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn't kept her from leading a quietly happy life, until now.
Suddenly Willow's world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd but extraordinarily endearing girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Heart of a Samurai
Margi Preus
Nominated by Mrs. Harris, Atlas Elementary

In 1841 a Japanese fishing vessel sinks. Its crew is forced to swim to a small, unknown island, where they are rescued by a passing American ship. Japan's borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America, learning English on the way.
Manjiro, a 14-year-old boy, is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually, the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England. The boy lives there for some time and then heads to San Francisco to pan for gold. After many years, he makes it back to Japan, only to be imprisoned as an outsider. With his hard-won knowledge of the West, Manjiro is in a unique position to persuade the emperor to ease open the boundaries around Japan; he may even achieve his unlikely dream of becoming a samurai.

Summary from Scholastic Book Wizard. Cover image from Google Books.

Under the Egg
Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Nominated by Mrs. Exline, Idaho Fine Arts Academy

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Saving Lucas Biggs
Marisa de los Santos & David Teague
Nominated by Ms. Gorman, Bryan Elementary

Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn't stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family's secret—and forbidden—ability to time travel. With the help of her best friend, Charlie, and his grandpa Josh, Margaret goes back to a time when Judge Biggs was a young boy and tries to prevent the chain of events that transformed him into a corrupt, jaded man. But with the forces of history working against her, will Margaret be able to change the past? Or will she be pushed back to a present in which her father is still doomed?

Told in alternating voices between Margaret and Josh, this heartwarming story shows that sometimes the forces of good need a little extra help to triumph over the forces of evil.

Summary and book cover image from Scholastic Book Wizard

Nominated books must have had their first paperback printing between 2008-2016 and be readily available in an affordable edition. ($12 or less)

For the inaugural year of the Idaho Kids Vote Book Award we will focus on Middle Grade Books. If there is enough interest, other categories may be added next year.