Monday, January 17, 2011

Award winners!

The Newbery and Caldecott awards were announced last week to great fanfare at the Annual Winter Meeting of the American Library Association.

Moon over Manifest, a first novel by author Clare Vanderpool, won the Newbery award for 2011, given to the best book published for children in America.  In 1936, Abilene Tucker is sent to Manifest, Kansas, to stay with her father's old friends.  There she finds keepsakes that lead her and two new friends - and eventually the whole town - on a quest to solve a mystery that is 18 years old.  Vanderpool's writing is refreshing and the time period, characters and story will keep readers involved and intrigued.

The Newbery Honor books for 2011 were Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm;  Heart of a Samurai by Magi Preus and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

All four of these books fall into the category of historical fiction but the writing is fresh and current and young readers will enjoy the escapades and adventures that the main characters experience.  Heart of a Samurai is particularly interesting since it is based on the true story of the first Japanese citizen to ever visit America, a teen shipwreck survivor named Manjiro.  Manjiro's adventures on whaling ships, then in Massachusetts in the 1840s, in the gold fields of California and eventually at home in Japan are fascinating and based in fact.

Those of us old enough the remember the 1960's hate to admit but that time period is now part of history.  In One Crazy Summer, three sisters visit their estranged mother over the summer of 1968, and they find a woman dedicated to civil rights, poetry, printing and the Black Panthers. 

Jennifer L. Holm's Turtle in Pardise takes place in the Key West of 1935.  Turtle is sent to live with her cousins in Key West while her mother works as a housekeeper.  The children run their own baby-sitting business, search for treasure and make Turtle part of their wild family. 
Next post will talk about the Caldecott winners.  There are some surprises and some delights among the winners of the Cadecott awards.

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