Presenting………….. This year’s nominees for…. Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, 2013-2014.
This year’s nominees
Book Award, 2013-2014
Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes,
By Jonathan Auxier
Peter Nimble is a blind orphan who in order to survive has learned to be a really good thief. One day, he steals a box that contains 3 magical pairs of eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island where he is presented with a special quest: to travel to the dangerous Vanished Kingdom and rescue a people in need. Along with his loyal sidekick—a knight who has been turned into an unfortunate combination of horse and cat—and the magic eyes, he goes on an unforgettable adventure to discover his true destiny.
By Eileen Beha
Tango is used to the good life. He has a silver heart charm for his dog collar, a luxurious doggy bed—even specially-made booties for taking walks in Central Park. But then disaster strikes when Tango’s owners sail into stormy waters off the coast of Nova Scotia and the little Yorkie is swept overboard. Washed ashore on Prince Edward Island, Tango waits for his owners to come for him, but when they don’t appear, he decides to do something about it himself.
Tango's tale is told in alternating chapters by three animals and two human characters
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys have nothing on this detective team of 7th graders. They find themselves in the middle of not 1, not 2, but 3 mysteries that they must solve before it’s too late. Who’s breaking into their school? Who’s stealing things, and who do they have to “outconnive” to find out? In the meantime, they are forming a rock band and learning the ins and outs of middle school.
By Fred Bowen
Isaac is obsessed with pitching the perfect game. His father’s emphasis on the need to be perfect doesn’t help either. Isaac’s obsession with perfection makes him forget his role as a team player and even as a good sport. All he cares about is being drafted onto the Thunderbolts all-star team. But then, Isaac's coach asks him to help out with a basketball team he coaches, a very special team.
This book includes a section on MLB pitchers who have pitched perfect games -- interestingly, very few had winning seasons at the same time. The stats are good to underscore the messages in the book.
By Matt Christopher
World Cup relates the history of soccer from its beginnings in 1930 to 2006. There are highlights of each tournament and fascinating details about players and games. There’s history about how world events affected the athletic competition, as in the rivalry between Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini at the 1938 World Cup. The last chapter offers an overview of Women's World Cup from 1991 to 2007, including the United States team's incredible win over China in 1999. The narration is enthusiastic. Has short chapters and loads of action.
This first book in the “The Keepers of the School" series introduces the reader to middle-schoolers Ben and Jill. In a few weeks, their school will be destroyed and replaced by an historical amusement park, but there’s something more going on, something dangerous. A janitor suddenly dies, entrusting Ben with an antique gold coin, a secret, and a warning to promise to protect the school, no matter what. The cliff-hanger ending will have you anxiously awaiting the next installment of this series.
A world away, the children of Gulm have been taken. No one knows where they might be, except the mysterious and terrifying leader of the land: The Master. He rules with an iron fist, using two grotesque creatures to enforce his terrible reign. When a peculiar boy named Fargus shows up on Josephine's property and then disappears soon after, she follows him without a second thought and finds herself magically transported to Gulm, a land from which children never return. This gently creepy fantasy has everything: villains, laughs, frights, and a great surprise twist at the end.
by Doreen Cronin
J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he's not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work - or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that's right in front of him?(
by Christopher Paul Curtis
The motto of Deza’s family is :“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful.”Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. When the Great Depression hits her town hard, and there are no jobs for black men, Deza’s beloved father has to leave home to find work. When no one hears from him for way too long, Deza, Mother, and older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up experiencing the highs and lows of life, from living in a homeless camp in Michigan to a successful singing career. Their separate journeys to find father, reveal the devastation of the Great Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone
By Erin Dionne
Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be your average, happy, vanilla eighth grader, but it’s not easy with parents who are Shakespearean scholars who dress in costume and go about in public as if it were the 1500’s. And having a 7-year-old genius sister who is smart enough to go to her school isn’t bad enough, but things get even worse when they make her the math tutor! Then her teacher announces a Shakespeare project, and Hamlet’s talents take away any chance of her ever being normal again. Funny and unique, this book will resonate with every girl currently suffering through middle school.
Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory, like a video camera that is always recording. Always. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school—but NO ONE knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don’t think she’s capable of learning. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows. But she can’t. She can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
by Enrique Flores-Galbis
90 Miles to Havana takes place in Cuba right after the revolution in the 1950’s. Life becomes very hard for the people of Cuba, and families try to leave the country together, but they are not allowed. Julian's parents make the heartbreaking decision to send him and his two brothers away from Cuba to Miami via the Pedro Pan (Peter Pan) operation. In Miami, the boys are thrust into a new world where bullies run rampant and it's not always clear how best to protect themselves.
By Sundee FrazierThe day Minerva and Keira King were born, they made news around the world. Keira was born black like Mama, but Minni was white like Daddy. Now the twins are eleven, and while Minni knows that the family looks like a chessboard row walking down the street, in their own eyes, they're the close-knit King family. Then Grandmother Johnson calls and sweeps the twins off on a ten-day trip to the South where they will compete for the title of Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America. Minni is mortified, but Keira assures her that together they'll make it through the experience. Living with their grandmother is not easy, however, and the sisters' relationship begins to buckle under the strain. Minni has always believed that no matter how different she and Keira look to the world, they share a bond of the heart that goes deeper. Now she'll find out if that's true.
Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he's grown up with gators, snakes, parrots, rats, and monkeys in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called "Expedition Survival!", Wahoo figures he'll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show's boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. They've only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then the show’s sidekick’s dad shows up with a gun...
It's anyone's guess who will actually survive "Expedition Survival"...
By Jennifer Richard JacobsonEver since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, but Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park. With no way to reach her and barely enough money for food, any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston… before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his smarts and his loyalties.
By Thanha Lai
For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known her home in Vietnam, the city of Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.
Fourteen-year-old Zach Harriman can feel the changes: the sharpening of his senses, the incredible strength., super speed, the confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Zach. What Zach never knew was that his father was no ordinary man-he was a superhero, battling the world's evil. And now it's Zach's turn to take on the fight. It's Zach's turn to become a hero.
Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. 13-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when he is announced as Unwanted, while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Upon arrival at the destination where he expected to be killed, however, Alex discovers a stunning secret: behind the mirage of the "death farm" there is instead a place called Artime.
In Artime, each child is taught to nurture his creative abilities and learn how to use them magically, weaving spells through paintbrushes and musical instruments. It’s a wondrous transformation.
But it's a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be separated between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron's bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artime that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate, magical battle.
by Sara Pennypacker
If you’re looking for a wonderful story, you probably wouldn’t consider one in which two twelve-year-old girls bury an old lady in the garden and lie about her death so they don’t have to be shipped off into foster care. But that’s just what Stella and Angel do.Ever since her mom left her again, Aunt Louise took her in, along with a second foster girl named Angel who mixes with Stella like oil and water. But Aunt Louise never mentioned her bad heart. When she dies, both girls need to buy a little time. Stella is sure her mom is going to come for her by the end of summer, and Angel is waiting for her own aunt to get approval from the state to become her legal guardian. And George and the summer cottages where Aunt Louise worked are right next door. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to hide the truth for just a little while, would it?
Iggy is the child of an old-time movie star and a psychiatrist who believes in letting kids do whatever they like. She lives in an old Hollywood hotel that is full of ghosts. When the kids notice the ghosts are all disappearing they follow a ghostly bunny into an alternate universe , complete with evil witches, a mean dictator, and lots of information about life in Hollywood. With the help of the main characters from the Neddiad (Neddie and Seamus), this adventure is funny, not at all straight-forward, and full of general craziness.
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl, Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids.” What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea—except that everything seems very wrong.Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on? Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.
The first book in the sequel series to The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
by Coco Simon
When Mia asks the girls in the Cupcake Club to be junior bridesmaids in her mother's wedding, everyone is superexcited about the idea...especially when they find the perfect dress for the occasion! Unfortunately, it’s also super-expensive, and with her mother out of a job, Emma decides to take on a few more jobs and chores around the house to help cover the cost. Between babysitting her bratty brother, a dog-walking business, flute practice, the Cupcake Club, Emma may have bitten off more than she can chew. Can she handle it all?
By Jerry Spinelli
Jake and Lily are twins. Even though they seem pretty different—they feel exactly the same, almost like two halves of one person. Jake is the calm one and Lily has a temper; Lily is obsessed with trains and Jake collects cool rocks. When one of them gets hurt, the other can feel it. They communicate without words. And mysteriously, every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk to a train station in the middle of the night.But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. Lily is devastated—not to mention really, really mad. And as she struggles to make friends and get a life apart from her twin, Jake finds himself dealing with a neighborhood bully and has to decide what kind of person he really is.
by Lauren Tarshis
The horror of Hurricane Katrina is brought to life in this fictional account of a boy, a dog, and the storm of the century.Barry's family tries to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina hits their home in New Orleans. But when Barry's little sister gets terribly sick, they're forced to stay home and wait out the storm.At first, Katrina doesn't seem to be as bad as predicted. But overnight the levees break, and Barry's world is literally torn apart. He's swept away by the floodwaters, away from his family. Can he survive the storm of the century – alone?
Danny Dragonbreath feels like a loser. No matter how hard he tries, he can't muster up even one lukewarm dragon's breath. Now he's in trouble with his teacher at his school for reptiles and amphibians. He handed in a poorly written paper on the ocean and received a well-deserved F. Now he must rewrite the paper. To research the topic he talks to his cousin, a sea serpent. Along with Danny's iguana friend, Wendell, Edward takes them on an underwater adventure to the Sargasso Sea. The adventure becomes life-threatening when Danny and Wendell are attacked by a giant squid. Danny must save his friend, but he can’t even breath like a dragon, how can he manage this heroic task?