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Product Type: Books
Age: Late Elementary School Years

 


2012 Award
I, Too, Am America
(by Langston Hughes/ Bryan Collier, Simon & Schuster $16.99 Score:)

Langston Hughes powerful poem speaks to both the despair and hopes of African Americans and the pain of being treated as less than others. Written in 1925, the poem still resonates as Bryan Collier’s illustrations travel through history from the train porters of yesterday to today’s youth, who are still looking for their place in America. While it is true the book reflects how far we have come, it also reminds us of how much further we need to go. Three-time Caldecott winner, Collier's illustrations capture a range of emotions that speak as powerfully as the words. A meaningful blend of art and poetry! 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Letters to Leo
(by Amy Hest/ illus. Julia Denos, Candlewick $14.95 Score:)

Fourth grader Annie writes letters to her new dog Leo almost everyday. Her letters help her deal with the ups and downs of life with her teacher, Mrs. No-Fun Bailey, her best friend leaving and her memories of her dead mother. This is a tender little book with a quiet humor, warmth, and a loving father. The pace may be a little slow for some, but the letter format will make this easier for readers new to chapter books. 3rd grade and up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Brothers at Bat
(by Audrey Vernick/ illus. Steven Salerno, Clarion $16.99 Score:)

Based on a real family with 16 children, twelve of them boys, who all loved the game of baseball. In fact, there were enough brothers to form a baseball team--and then some. This family takes place at a time when girls rarely played on baseball teams. Back in the 30's and 40's the Acerra brothers toured the country playing as a team, with a break for WWII, when six of them served in the armed forces. After the war they began to raise families of their own, but continued playing the sport they loved. They played their last game in the 50's and then in 1997 they were honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame. An interesting slice of baseball history. 7 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
I've Lost My Hippopotamus
(by Jack Prelutsky/ illus. by Jackie Urbanovic, Greenwillow $18.99 Score:)

The poet laureate of kids has done it again. His newest collection of rhymes is bound to please even those who insist they don't like poetry. Most of these poems are about animals; but not sentimentalized or scientific in nature. And then there's the Fabulous Skating Potato, Stokingbirds strutting, and Halibutterflies, among other creations. It's full of the usual Prelutsky humor and silly illustrations that add to the entertainment. Our 8-year old tester and his mom took turns reading these to each other and shared the fun. 5-10.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2012 Award
Plunked
(by Michael Northrop, Scholastic $16.99 Score:)

If you have a sixth grader--perhaps a reluctant reader who happens to love baseball — Jack Mogens' story will score high! Jack manages to make the team but in the first game he is hit by a stray pitch. After that Jack’s fear of getting hit again turns his love of the game into fear. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Awards
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
(by Brian Selznick, Scholastic $14.99 Score:)

Set in a Paris Train station in the 1930's, this is an award-winning fantasy about a boy who is orphaned and then abandoned by an uncle who leaves the boy to repair the clocks in the railway station. The boy manages to find food enough to live and spends his time repairing a broken automaton, that his father had found and tried to repair with the help of a girl named Isabelle, who has been raised by Georges Méliès, a creator of early films and special effects, including the automaton that he is trying to repair. As Selznick describes the book, “.. this is not exactly a novel, and it's not quite a picture book, and it's not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things." Also available as an audio ($19.95)10 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Chanukah Lights
(by Michael J. Rosen/ illus. Robert Sabuda, Candlewick $34.99 Score:)

Truly, one of the most extraordinary pop-up books ever! In fact, pop-up is too ordinary a word to describe the artistry in each spectacular scene Robert Sabuda has designed in his Chanukah Lights. Like his Twelve Days of Christmas, here are eight distinctive locales where the flame of the shamash candle lights up the many places where Jews have lit their menorahs and celebrated the miracle of the lights-from a desert tent, a refugee ship, a tenement building, and other remarkable sites. In each location a menorah is shining through. This is one of those beautiful books that you will want to share, but stay in control of, so that it will not be destroyed. It's a treasure that is sure to bring on ooohs! and aaahs! from all ages. It is certainly more for older children than little ones, those who have begun to learn about the history of the Jews. Properly cared for it can become a traditional keepsake to be shared each night of the Festival of Lights.  All Ages.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Marching With Aunt Susan
(by Claire R. Murphy/ illus. Stacey Schuett, Peachtree Press $16.99 Score:)

Marching with Aunt Susan, is an excellent introduction to the fight for women's rights. It's a story so full of hope and determination, as told through the voice of a young girl, Bessie, who resents not being allowed to do all the active things her brothers do. When Miss Susan B. Anthony comes to town, Bessie discovers the cause with her mother's blessing. Unlike typical happy-ever-after picture books, the story here does not end with a win. The vote that year fails, but the book goes on to give young people a fuller sense of the history of the suffrage movement and how the vote for women came to be. The design of the book is right on the mark and the endpapers with newspaper clippings and photographs are most attractive. Too bad the art in this beautifully written story makes everyone look especially unattractive caricatures. 7-10

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes
(Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett, Sourcebooks $14.99 Score:)

If you have a budding perfectionist in your house, this is a book to share!  Beatrice Bottomwell NEVER makes mistakes...until she does -  and it happens in a very, very public space. The concept of perfection is address with humor that will touch a chord with many kids (and their parents).  The resolution is, of course, that no one can be perfect--and that a well-rounded life includes some mistakes and an even bigger dose of laughter. We hope that Beatrice is a new storybook character that will take on other childhood issues. 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2011 Award
Never Forgotten
(by Patricia C. McKissack/illus.Leo & Diane Dillon, Schwartz & Wade, Random House $18.99 Score:)

Magnificent art and storytelling are blending in this moving tale of the Taken; those who whose freedom was stolen and sold into slavery. It is the story of Musafa, the son of Dinga, a blacksmith, who takes with him the memory of his father and the skills he taught the boy. This beautiful story speaks to the big idea, that "Loved ones are never forgotten when we continue to tell their stories." Though it is done in a picture book format, this is an epic tale told poetically and illustrated with a power to match. The problem may be that older students who are ready for the story are often reluctant to open a picture book. That would be a serious loss for them.   8 & up.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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