The Newbery and Caldecott awards were recently announced and some winners were surprising and some were books I guessed would be on the lists. Several of these books I have already reviewed and those which I haven’t, I plan on reviewing at a later date. The Newbery Medal went to “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate. The Newbery Honor books went to “Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Ay Schlitz, “Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin and “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage. The Caldecott Medal for the outstanding picture book went to “This is Not My Hat”, by Jon Klassen. The five honor books went to “Creepy Carrots”, illustrated by Peter Brown, and written by Aaron Reynolds, “”Extra Yarn” illustrated by Jon Klassen, and written by Mac Barnett, “Green” by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, “One Cool Friend”, illustrated by David Small, and written by Toni Buzzeo, and “Sleep Like a Tiger”, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, and written by Mary Logue.
Here are some outstanding fiction and non-fiction books that include different genres and are good for ages nine and up.
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers, by Steve Sheinkin, is based on a true event that happened back in October 1875, when the Secret Service arrested a master counterfeiter, Ben Boyd, and sent him to prison. This arrest began a sequence of amazing, page-turning events that will have kids learning history while enthralled with what took place in Illinois. The counterfeit gang Boyd led decided to rob President Lincoln’s grave and demand Boyd along with a ransom. This brilliantly written book reads like an adventure and has photos sprinkled throughout. Also, you’ll find a glossary of terms and source notes in the back of the book.
Of Giants and Ice: The Ever Afters, by Shelby Bach, is an exciting new fantasy series that will keep you on the edge of your seat to find out what happens next. Rory soon discovers that the new after-school program is different from anything she has ever seen. She soon discovers that fairy tales are real and she is part of “characters-in-training” where she soon fights a fire-eating dragon and will be caught up in climbing a bean-stalk to get the giant’s gold. What she finds at the top is much more difficult and adventurous than just getting the gold! This fantasy is rich with excitement and is written with absorbing detail that engages the reader in a magical minute!
Hideout, by Gordon Korman, is actually the fifth book in this series about a very large mutt named Luthor. However, you need not read the other four books, “Swindle”, “Zoobreak”, “Framed” and “Showoff” in order to enjoy this newest edition. After reading this fast-paced story about how six kids hide their loving loaf of a dog from his original mean owner, you’ll likely be anxious to read the others. And, by the way, Korman is one of my favorite authors of kids’ books because he writes with great veracity, intelligence, humor and excitement!
Sophia’s War, by Avi, is an astounding story written by one of the best historical fiction writers for kids. It’s 1776 and young Sophia has just witnessed the execution of Nathan Hale and she decides at that moment to help the American pursuit. When she becomes a spy in the home of the main British commander, she soon discovers information so important that it could change the course of the war. The history is interwoven, making this an important and riveting book that kids will not only thoroughly enjoy, but learn much from. Be sure to check out the Glossary and Author’s Note found in the appendage.
Freakling, by Lana Krumwiede, has twelve-year-old Taemon living in a city where everyone has a power called psi. This power enables everyone who lives there to move objects with their minds. But Taemon recently lost his power in an accident and now has to live in a “dud farm” where others have no psi. But what he discovers there will have you turning pages faster than imaginable! Once you read the first three chapters, you’ll be completely hooked and immersed in the story!
Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack, by one of my favorite mystery writers: Wendelin Van Draanen, is another power-packed mystery in this outstanding Sammy Keyes series. When cash becomes missing, the older people in the town hire Justice Jack, a colorful character, to solve the mystery. But Sammy finds that there’s much more to the mystery of the missing money and she sets out to solve it! This mystery will have you guessing to the surprising ending.
One Year in Coal Harbor, by Polly Horvath, is a blend of many experiences as young Primrose narrates this year in her town in British Columbia. One of the most tender parts is when she befriends a foster boy who recently came to live in a family nearby. There is much to laugh at, but also some tender moments, as Primrose deals with her day-by-day life. Also, there are some unique recipes that reflect the area found at the end of each chapter.
Joshua Dread, by Lee Bacon, is a funny, fast-paced book about young Joshua who has parents who are super-villains. So consequentially he tries not to be noticed at school. Not even his best friend knows about his parents. But suddenly weird things begin to happen, like pencils exploding in his hand or he suddenly sends bullies into lockers. What is happening to him? You’d better give yourself plenty of reading time since you won’t stop reading this book once you begin! There are great drawings of heroes and villains sprinkled throughout.