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2015-2016 Georgia Children's Book Award Finalists grade 4-8

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Summary<br />MacHale&apos;s current-day dystopic series opener begins with a mysterious death and gets stranger from there. On Pemberwick Island off the coast of Maine, Tucker Pierce, 14, is vaulted onto his high school football team&apos;s starting lineup after a star player falls dead at the end of a game. To clear their heads, Tucker and his friend Quinn Carr take a late-night bike ride on the road that runs around the island&apos;s perimeter only to encounter a shadowy flying object that emits strange music that then explodes over the water. Within a few days, a stranger to the island offers Tucker a &quot;supplement&quot; called &quot;the Ruby&quot; that makes him feel superhuman. Then a military force wearing red camo uniforms with a patch bearing the word &quot;SYLO&quot; takes control of the island, and the president announces a quarantine until the CDC can identify and neutralize the &quot;Pemberwick virus.&quot; Tucker and Quinn don&apos;t know what to make of the events or who to trust as martial law takes over. In desperation, the teens make plans with Tori Sleeper, a lobsterman&apos;s daughter, to use her dad&apos;s two boats to escape the island. MacHale pens some terrific and unique action scenes, but they never overwhelm the story as the characters face one quandary, riddle, or dilemma after another in unraveling the mystery of what is happening. The shocking ending will leave readers hungry for the next installment. - (Review from School Library Journal)
Summary<br />Ana Wright was having a horrible year. Her best friend, Liv, has moved to New Zealand (A.K.A. Half-Way around the World), and doesn’t seem to want to move back. Her famous grandfather is having a documentary on his life filmed and will be featuring his family in it, including socially awkward, extremely shy Ana. It doesn’t help that her parents, zoo workers at the local zoo, are moving them into a house at the zoo for the summer. Now Ana will actually LIVE in a zoo! And don’t forget those nasty Sneerers, the three popular girls who hate Ana! Will Ana Wright ever make her life right? (Review from GoodReads)
Summary:<br />Prairie Evers is finding that socialization isn&apos;t all it&apos;s cracked up to be. She&apos;s been homeschooled by her Granny and has learned the most from traipsing through nature. But now she has to attend public school and feels just like her chickens--cooped up and subject to the pecking order. School is a jolt for Prairie until she meets Ivy, her first true friend. But while raising chickens and the great outdoors have given Prairie wisdom and perspective, nothing has prepared her for the give and take of friendship. When Prairie finds out that Ivy&apos;s home may not be the best place for Ivy, Prairie must corral all her optimism and determination to hatch a plan to help. (Review from amazon.com)
Summary<br />Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn&apos;t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she&apos;s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she&apos;s protected by the king (which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home). The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous, a little bit magical, and very exciting…if she can manage to survive the journey. (Review by GoodReads)
Summary<br />Rachel “Ratchet” Vance is an 11-year-old girl, homeschooled by her widowed, activist father. Ratchet is embarrassed by her father’s often confrontational environmentalism, the fact that she knows more about fixing cars than creating a wardrobe, and that they move each year from one fixer-upper to the next. Desperate to lay down roots, make friends, and simply live a normal life, Ratchet hopes to discover her own identity by learning more about her mother and ultimately changing herself for the better.The book’s journal format, which shows Ratchet writing in various styles as she completes her language arts assignments, allows debut author Cavanaugh to cover a lot of ground thematically. Ratchet is a thoroughly relatable character whose wish for normalcy will strike a chord with readers. She is an honest narrator, relying on the secrecy of her journal (she has no worries that her father will read it, despite it being homework) to reveal her fears, doubts, and eventual hope for her “weird, wonderful life with Dad.” (summary from Booklist)
Summary<br />In Brown Girl Dreaming, acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson eloquently shares the story of her childhood and the dreams that propelled her into a writer’s life. Written in verse, Woodson’s memoir offers readers a compelling life story written with the sounds and structures of poetry to help us breathe in her words with greater attention and reflection.Born in 1963, Woodson writes about the joys and challenges of being raised first in the South and then in Brooklyn during the Civil Rights era. She thoughtfully writes about the complexity of the relationships that mattered to her most including the connections she had to her mother, grandparents, siblings, and friends.As Woodson writes to make sense of her own life, we, in turn, find deeper meaning in our own. Woodson’s story is an impacting and welcome addition to young adult literature inviting us all “perchance to dream.” (Review from Classroom Bookshelf)
Summary<br />Albie, an only child living in New York City, has learning difficulties. No matter how hard he tries to give the correct change to the takeout delivery guy, or get all his spelling words correct, he inevitably fails to get it right. When readers meet the fifth-grader, he&apos;s just left his fancy private school and is about to be the new kid at public school. His dad is mostly absent and forgetful, except when demanding that Albie try harder. His mom tells him that Dav Pilkey&apos;s Captain Underpants is for babies, and gives him Esther Forbes&apos;s Johnny Tremain instead. His exacting Korean grandfather predicts that he will end up in a ditch. At school, despite some sympathetic teachers, he is bullied and teased. His only friend is Betsy, reserved and bullied herself.Things begin to change when Albie gets a new babysitter. Calista is an artist and definitely unusual: she makes a cover for Albie&apos;s Captain Underpants that says &quot;Johnny Tremain.&quot; She takes him for donuts and to art exhibits and, most importantly, she likes him for who he is. (Review from School Library Journal)
Summary<br />When Lucy&apos;s family moves to an old house on a lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera&apos;s lens, as her father has taught her -- he&apos;s a famous photographer away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards? When she discovers that he&apos;s judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special -- or only good enough.As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn&apos;t want to see: his grandmother&apos;s memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake. This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own. (Review by GoodReads)
Summary<br />The Vine Basket tells of a Uyghur girl&apos;s struggle in a land dominated by the Chinese communist regime. When fourteen-year-old Mehrigul&apos;s brother leaves home, she must give up school to help on the family farm. That makes her a prime candidate to be sent to work in a Chinese factory. She alone knows the truth of her brother&apos;s departure and that he will not return. Whether she is sent thousands of miles away or tied to farm work, her future looks bleak. How Mehrigul takes a hand in shaping her destiny is at the heart of a story that celebrates creativity, determination, and dreams. (Review from author’s website)
Summary<br />The last year has been rougher than sandpaper for Abbey Force and her dad. He’s in a coma after his accident a year back, wherein he was framed for a terrible crime he didn’t commit. And their home, Reward Plantation, an idyllic spot on the eastern coast of South Carolina, had to be sold to pay off his debt to society. Abbey is stuck living with her uncle Charlie, who, even in the few hours a day when he’s sober, “ain’t” exactly your ideal parental role model. But it turns out the new family that moved into Abbey’s old house has a daughter named Bee. She’s curious about all of the “No Trespassing” signs and holes being dug out by Felony Bay in the corner of what used to be Abbey’s home. It appears someone’s been poking around a mystery that dates all the way back to the Civil War—and it just might be the same someone who framed Abbey’s dad. Fresh, funny, and heartwarming, The Girl from Felony Bay is the perfect book for fans of Rebecca Stead’s Liar &amp; Spy and Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky. (Review by GoodReads)Curriculum Connections
Summary<br />Armani Curtis can think about only one thing: her tenth birthday. All her friends are coming to her party, her mama is making a big cake, and she has a good feeling about a certain wrapped box. Turning ten is a big deal to Armani. It means she&apos;s older, wiser, and more responsible. But when Hurricane Katrina hits the Lower Nines of New Orleans, Armani realizes that being ten means being brave, watching loved ones die, and mustering all her strength to help her family weather the storm.A powerful story of courage and survival, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere celebrates the miraculous power of hope and love in the face of the unthinkable. (Summary by GoodReads)
Summary<br />Eleven-year-old Sam Brattle is already having the worst Christmas ever – his dad’s bakery is going bankrupt and his mom is spending the holidays with her new family. To make things worse, Nickel Bay Nick, the anonymous Good Samaritan who leaves hundred-dollar bills around Nickel Bay at Christmastime, is a no-show, so this year the rest of the town is as miserable as Sam. When he stumbles upon the secret identity of this mysterious do-gooder, Sam is stunned to learn that he might now be his town’s only hope. But before he can rescue Nickel Bay, Sam has to learn the skills of a spy and unravel some even darker secrets that will change his life forever. (Review by GoodReads)
Summary<br />Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer. Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far? Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth? (Review from GoodReads)
Summary<br />On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It&apos;s Alfie McQuinn, the notorious cat burglar, and he&apos;s dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Alfie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: &quot;Find jewels.&quot; But March learns that his father is not talking about a stash of loot. He&apos;s talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they&apos;re picked up by the police and sent to the world&apos;s worst orphanage. It&apos;s not prison, but it feels like it. March and Jules have no intention of staying put. They know their father&apos;s business inside and out, and they&apos;re tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they&apos;ll live the life of riches and freedom most kids only dream about. Watch out! There are wild kids on the loose and a crime spree coming! (Review by GoodReads)
Summary<br />Survive. At any cost. 10 concentration camps. 10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly. It’s something no one could imagine surviving. But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face. As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner, his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087. He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later. Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside? Based on an astonishing true story. (Review by Scholastic)
Summary<br />Introducing an extraordinary new voice---a magical debut that will make your skin tingle, your eyes glisten . . .and your heart sing. Midnight Gulch used to be a magical place, a town where people could sing up thunderstorms and dance up sunflowers. But that was long ago, before a curse drove the magic away. Twelve-year-old Felicity knows all about things like that; her nomadic mother is cursed with a wandering heart. But when she arrives in Midnight Gulch, Felicity thinks her luck&apos;s about to change. A &quot;word collector,&quot; Felicity sees words everywhere---shining above strangers, tucked into church eves, and tangled up her dog&apos;s floppy ears---but Midnight Gulch is the first place she&apos;s ever seen the word &quot;home.&quot; And then there&apos;s Jonah, a mysterious, spiky-haired do-gooder who shimmers with words Felicity&apos;s never seen before, words that make Felicity&apos;s heart beat a little faster. Felicity wants to stay in Midnight Gulch more than anything, but first, she&apos;ll need to figure out how to bring back the magic, breaking the spell that&apos;s been cast over the town . . . and her mother&apos;s broken heart. (Review by GoodReads
Summary<br />Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends. Her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future. (Review by Goodreads)
Summary<br />“If there&apos;s one thing I&apos;ve learned from comic books, it&apos;s that everybody has a weakness—something that can totally ruin their day without fail. For the Wolfman, it&apos;s a silver bullet. For Superman, it&apos;s Kryptonite. For me, it was a letter... ““With one letter, my dad was sent back to Afghanistan to fly Apache helicopters for the U.S. army. Now all I have are his letters. Ninety-one of them to be exact. I keep them in his old plastic lunchbox—the one with the cool black car on it that says Knight Rider underneath. Apart from my comic books, Dad&apos;s letters are the only things I read more than once. I know which ones to read when I&apos;m down and need a pick-me-up. I know which ones will make me feel like I can conquer the world. I also know exactly where to go when I forget Mom&apos;s birthday. No matter what, each letter always says exactly what I need to hear. But what I want to hear the most is that my dad is coming home.” (Review from GoodReads)
gcba.coe.uga.edu 2015-2016 Nominees |