2007 - 2011
2011 Medal Winner
Over Manifest by
Clare Vanderpool YA NEWBERY VAN
The town of Manifest is based on
Frontenac, Kan., the home of debut author Clare Vanderpool’s maternal
grandparents. Vanderpool was inspired to write about what the idea of “home”
might look like to a girl who had grown up riding the rails. She lives in
Wichita with her husband and four children. “Vanderpool illustrates the
importance of stories as a way for children to understand the past, inform the
present and provide hope for the future,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair
Cynthia K. Richey.
in Paradise by
Jennifer L. Holm. YA HOL
Sassy eleven-year-old Turtle finds
her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression-era
Key West. With vivid details, witty dialogue and outrageous escapades, Jennifer
Holm successfully explores the meaning of family and home… and lost treasures
of a Samurai by Margi Preus. YA PRE
Shipwrecks, whaling, a search for home and a delightful exploration of cultures
create a swashbuckling adventure. This historical novel is based on the true
story of Manjiro (later John Mung), the young fisherman believed to be the first
Japanese person to visit America, who against all odds, becomes a samurai.
Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen J 811.54 SID
Welcoming her readers into the “wild, enchanted park” that is the night, Joyce
Sidman has elegantly crafted twelve poems rich in content and varied in format.
Companion prose pieces about nocturnal flora and fauna are as tuneful and
graceful as the poems. This collection is “a feast of sound and spark.”
Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia J WIL
It is 1968, and three black sisters from Brooklyn have been put on a
California-bound plane by their father to spend a month with their mother, a
poet who ran off years before and is living in Oakland. It's the summer after
Black Panther founder Huey Newton was jailed and member Bobby Hutton was gunned
down trying to surrender to the Oakland police, and there are men in berets
shouting "Black Power" on the news. Delphine, 11, remembers her mother, but
after years of separation she's more apt to believe what her grandmother has
said about her, that Cecile is a selfish, crazy woman who sleeps on the street.
At least Cecile lives in a real house, but she reacts to her daughters' arrival
without warmth or even curiosity. Instead, she sends the girls to eat breakfast
at a center run by the Black Panther Party and tells them to stay out as long as
they can so that she can work on her poetry. Over the course of the next four
weeks, Delphine and her younger sisters, Vonetta and Fern, spend a lot of time
learning about revolution and staying out of their mother's way. Emotionally
challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and
place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and
personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have
engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading
2010 Medal Winner
You Reach Me by Rebecca
Stead YA STE
Sixth-grader Miranda lives in 1978
New York City with her mother, and her life compass is Madeleine L'Engle's A
Wrinkle in Time. When she receives a series of enigmatic notes that claim to
want to save her life, she comes to believe that they are from someone who knows
the future. Miranda spends considerable time observing a raving vagrant who her
mother calls the laughing man and trying to find the connection between the
notes and her everyday life. Discerning readers will realize the ties between
Miranda's mystery and L'Engle's plot, but will enjoy hints of fantasy and
descriptions of middle school dynamics. Stead's novel is as much about character
as story. Miranda's voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and
observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise.
As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an
intriguing way. The setting is consistently strong. The stores and even the
streets–in Miranda's neighborhood act as physical entities and impact the plot
in tangible ways. This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several
types of readers.
Colvin: Twice Toward Justice written by Phillip Hoose YA 921
COLVIN, C. Hoo
In Montgomery, AL, in March 1955, 15-year-old Colvin refused to give up her bus
seat to a white passenger. She was arrested, and although she received some help
from local civil rights leaders, they decided that the sometimes-volatile teen
was not suitable to be the public face of a mass protest. Later that year, Rosa
Parks sparked the famous bus boycott. Colvin was left with a police record and
soon faced the additional problems of an unwed pregnancy and expulsion from
school. In spite of those troubles, she consented to be named as a plaintiff in
the court case that eventually integrated Montgomery's buses. Thus Colvin played
a central role in the city's civil rights drama, but her story has been largely
lost to history. Hoose, who had been curious about the often-unidentified teen
who first defied bus segregation, persuaded her to tell her story. His book puts
Colvin back into the historical record, combining her reminiscences with
narrative about her life and the tumultuous events of the boycott. He includes
background about segregated Montgomery and places Colvin's story into the
context of the larger Civil Rights Movement. The text is supplemented with
black-and-white photos, reproductions of period newspapers and documents, and
sidebars. While virtually all students know Rosa Parks's story, this
well-written and engaging book will introduce them to a teen who also fought for
racial justice and give them a new perspective on the era.
Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly YA KEL
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the
yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green
ones. With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid
naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see
against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As
Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship
with her grandfather, navigates the angers of living with six brothers, and
comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Debut author Jacqueline Kelly deftly brings Callie and her family to life,
capturing a year of growing up with unique sensitivity and a wry wit.
Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg written by Rodman
Philbrick J PHI
Master storyteller Rodman Philbrick takes readers on a colorful journey as young
Homer Figg sets off to follow his brother into the thick of the Civil War.
Through a series of fascinating events, Homer's older brother has been illegally
sold to the Union Army. It is up to Homer to find him and save him. Along the
way, he encounters strange but real people of that era: two tricksters who steal
his money, a snake-oil salesman, a hot-air balloonist, and finally, the Maine
regiment who saved Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg and won the war
for the Union. These historical people and places will educate and engage young
readers about our nation's past--in one of the most decisive moments of American
history. In Homer's inspiring fight to track down his brother, Philbrick brings
us another groundbreaking novel. Funny, poignant, entertaining, and tragic, The
Mostly True Aadventures of Homer Figg will be embraced and heralded by readers
and reviewers alike. A magnificent novel by one of the best fiction writers of
the Mountain Meets the Moon written by Grace Lin J LIN
In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a
ramshackle hut with her parents. While her father regales her with old folktales
of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man in the Moon, Minli's mother chides him for
filling her head with stories. But inspired by these stories, Minli spends one
of her precious copper pennies on a beautiful goldfish, which is said to be able
to change the fortune of the owner. Her mother reprimands her for the silly
purchase, but, it pays off when the goldfish talks and offers to show her the
path to fortune and wealth! Minli is eventually joined by a dragon who can't
fly, and together they set out to find the Old Man of the Moon to ask him to
fulfill their dreams. Fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, with timeless
elements of the classic The Wizard of Oz mixed in, Where the Mountain Meets the
Moon is a wonderous story of adventure, devotion, and friendship. Grace Lin has
once again written a charming, engaging book for young readers.
2009 Medal Winner
Graveyard Book by
Neil Gaiman YA GAI
Nobody Owens is a normal boy,
except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.
Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he’s the only living
resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and
other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his
guardians’ time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to
Fade. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of
both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren’t
really one thing or the other. This chilling tale is Neil Gaiman’s first
full-length novel for middle-grade readers since the internationally bestselling
and universally acclaimed Coraline.
Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illus. by David Small YA APP
A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound
deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and
the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed
to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger
urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because
Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator
bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they
stay in the Underneath.
Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle For Freedom by Margarita
Engle YA 811 ENG
It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not tree.
People have been rounded up in reconcentration camps with too little food and
too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but she dares not go to the camps. So she
turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her.
Black, white, Cuban, Spanish—Rosa does her best for everyone. Yet who can heal a
country so torn apart by war? Acclaimed poet Margarita Engle has created another
breathtaking portrait of Cuba.
by Ingrid Law YA LAW
Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed
her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her
father is injured in a terrible accident.
Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson YA WOO
D Foster showed up a few months before Tupac got shot that first time and left
us the summer before he died.
The day D Foster enters Neeka and her best friend’s lives, the world opens up
for them. D comes from a world vastly different from their safe Queens
neighborhood, and through her, the girls see another side of life that includes
loss, foster families and an amount of freedom that makes the girls envious.
Although all of them are crazy about Tupac Shakur’s rap music, D is the one who
truly understands the place where he’s coming from, and through knowing D,
Tupac’s lyrics become more personal for all of them.
Good Masters! Sweet
Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz,
Illustrator Robert Byrd YA SCH
Step back to an English
village in 1255, where life plays out in dramatic vignettes illuminating 22
unforgettable characters. Inspired by an illuminated poem from 13th-century
Germany, this witty, historically accurate, and utterly human collection forms
an exquisite bridge to the people and places of medieval England. Maidens,
monks, and millers' sons - in these pages readers will meet them all. There's
Hugo, the lord's nephew, forced to prove his manhood by hunting a wild boar;
sharp-tongued Nelly, who supports her family by selling live eels; and the
peasant's daughter, Mogg, who gets a clever lesson in how to save a cow from a
greedy landlord. Three's also Thomas, the doctor's son; mud-slinging Barbary
(and her noble victim); Jack the compassionate half-wit; Alice the singing
shepherdess; and many more.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D.
Schmidt YA SCH
Gary D. Schmidt offers an
unforgettable antihero in THE WEDNESDAY WARS—a wonderfully witty and compelling
novel about a teenage boy's mishaps and adventures over the course of the
1967–68 school year.
Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend
Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class
has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn't like Holling—he's sure of it. Why
else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But
everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants
Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business
depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to
contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero
signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow
tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the
Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his
destiny, in spite of himself.
Elijah of Buxton
Christopher Paul Curtis YA CUR
It's 1860, and
eleven-year-old Elijah is a first-generation freeborn child. His Canadian town
of Buxton, located just across the border from Detroit, serves as a haven for
runaway slaves and their children, where Blacks can live free and govern
themselves away from the horrors of pre-emancipation America. When the town's
corrupt preacher steals money from a citizen who's been saving to buy his
family's freedom, Elijah sets off for Detroit in pursuit. He encounters a group
of captured runaway slaves; unable to save them all, he escapes with the
youngest--a baby--and returns to Buxton a hero.
by Jacqueline Woodson YA WOO
“Hope is the thing with
feathers” starts the poem Frannie is reading in school. Frannie hasn’t thought
much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her
friend Samantha seems a bit more “holy.” There is a new boy in class everyone is
calling the Jesus Boy. And although the new boy looks like a white kid, he says
he’s not white. Who is he?
During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of
things in a new light—her brother Sean’s deafness, her mother’s fear, the class
bully’s anger, her best friend’s faith and her own desire for “the thing with
Jacqueline Woodson once again takes readers on a journey into a young girl’s
heart and reveals the pain and the joy of learning to look beneath the surface.
The Higher Power of
Lucky by Susan Patron J PAT
Lucky, age ten, can't wait
another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions
in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the
rock-bottom only choice she has.
It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are
supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure
that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog,
HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives
on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the
International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up
eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is
all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick.
But she hadn't planned on a dust storm.
Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.
Penny from Heaven
by Jennifer L. Holm J HOL
It’s1953 and 11-year-old Penny dreams of a summer of butter pecan ice cream,
swimming, and baseball. But nothing’s that easy in Penny’s family. For starters,
she can’t go swimming because her mother’s afraid she’ll catch polio at the
pool. To make matters worse, her favorite uncle is living in a car. Her Nonny
cries every time her father’s name is mentioned. And the two sides of her family
aren’t speaking to each other!
Inspired by Newbery Honor winner Jennifer Holm’s own Italian American family,
Penny from Heaven is a shining story about the everyday and the extraordinary,
about a time in America’s history, not all that long ago, when being Italian
meant that you were the enemy. But most of all, it’s a story about
families—about the things that tear them apart and bring them together. And Holm
tells it with all the richness and the layers, the love and the laughter of a
Sunday dinner at Nonny’s. So pull up a chair and enjoy the feast! Buon appetito!
Hattie Big Sky
by Kirby Larson
Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle's
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
Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible
when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his
disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is
not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"-in order to stop
his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic
boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own
shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What