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Thursday, January 17, 2013

WAW Nominees, Grades 6-8

You may recall that last week we looked at the nominees for the William Allen White Award for grades 3-5. Now for the upper middle-grade hopefuls. Again, the descriptions come from Goodreads. They all look like winners to me:



The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Thomas Angleburger
Amulet Books, 2010
fiction / contemporary, 145 pages

Meet Dwight, a sixth-grade oddball. Dwight does a lot of weird things, like wearing the same T-shirt for a month or telling people to call him "Captain Dwight." This is embarrassing, particularly for Tommy, who sits with him at lunch every day.

But Dwight does one cool thing. He makes origami. One day he makes an origami finger puppet of Yoda. And that's when things get mysterious. Origami Yoda can predict the future and suggest the best way to deal with a tricky situation. His advice actually works, and soon most of the sixth grade is lining up with questions.

Tommy wants to know how Origami Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. Is Yoda tapping into the Force? It's crucial that Tommy figure out the mystery before he takes Yoda's advice about something VERY IMPORTANT that has to do with a girl.

This is Tommy's case file of his investigation into "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda."

Zora and Me  by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon 
Candlewick  Books, 2010
fiction / historical & bio, 192 pages

Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn’t merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Philomel, 2010
fiction / contemporary, 224 pages

In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful. Kathryn Erskine has written a must-read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
Dutton Juvenile, 2010
fiction / fantasy, 252 pages

In this mischievous and utterly original debut, Hansel and Gretel walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm-inspired tales. As readers follow the siblings through a forest brimming with menacing foes, they learn the true story behind (and beyond) the bread crumbs, edible houses, and outwitted witches.
Fairy tales have never been more irreverent or subversive as Hansel and Gretel learn to take charge of their destinies and become the clever architects of their own happily ever after.

Ghost Dog Secrets by Peg Kehret
Dutton Juvenile, 2010
fiction / suspense, 192 pages

Each day, Rusty feeds a dog that's left chained in the frigid weather with no shelter and no food or water. When he realizes that the dog's been injured, Rusty and his friend Andrew unchain the dog and take it. Are they stealing, or are they rescuing a dog in need? With the dog living in their secret hideout, the boys face multiple challenges, including a mysterious ghost dog that tries to lead them to a startling secret, Andrew's snoopy sister, and the escalating threats of the dog's abusive owner. The fast-paced suspense builds to a surprising conclusion, which will leave young readers cheering for Rusty's compassion and determination.

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley
Scholastic, 2010
nonfiction / biography, 48 pages

Susy Clemens thought the world was wrong about her papa. They saw Mark Twain as "a humorist joking at everything." But he was so much more, and Susy was determined to set the record straight. In a journal she kept under her pillow, Susy documented her world-famous father-from his habits (good and bad!) to his writing routine to their family's colorful home life. Her frank, funny, tender biography (which came to be one of Twain's most prized possessions) gives rare insight and an unforgettable perspective on an American icon. Inserts with excerpts from Susy's actual journal give added appeal.

Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift’s “Chocolate Pilot” by Michael O. Tunnell
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2010
nonfiction / historical, 110 pages

After World War II, the United States and Britain airlifted food and supplies into Russian-blockaded West Berlin. US Air Force Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen knew the children of the city were suffering, but what could one man do? Lt. Halvorsen began dropping candy that floated down to the kids by parachute. Michael O. Tunnell tells an inspiring tale of candy and courage, illustrated with Lt Halvorsens personal photographs, as well as letters and drawings from the children of Berlin to their beloved Uncle Wiggly Wings.

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte, 2010
fiction / historical,  368 pages

Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was.
Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it’s just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to “Leave Well Enough Alone.”
Abilene throws all caution aside when she heads down the mysterious Path to Perdition to pay a debt to the reclusive Miss Sadie, a diviner who only tells stories from the past. It seems that Manifest’s history is full of colorful and shadowy characters—and long-held secrets. The more Abilene hears, the more determined she is to learn just what role her father played in that history. And as Manifest’s secrets are laid bare one by one, Abilene begins to weave her own story into the fabric of the town.

Have you read any of these? Which would you pick as the winner?



2 comments:

  1. My son is reading Ghost Dog Secrets right now and we have a couple more of these books sitting on our shelves ready to go. I personally would love to read the Mark Twain book because of its unique perspective.

    Thanks for sharing this list, Claire! I'm glad we have some potential winners adorning our own bookshelves.

    Hope all is well!

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    1. Thanks, Hallie, I hope you're doing well also. I'm woefully underread (a word?) and always am trying to catch up. So I've got a lot ahead of me! If you/your son haven't read ORIGAMI YODA, I can testify that it's a hilarious book.

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