Wilde awards for longer young adult, children's books
Presenting the second part of the 17th annual Wilde Awards for Longer books. Because there are too many books and too little print space, you’ll find more suggestions at www.heraldsun.com.
Short Chapter Books
White Fur Flying, Patricia MacLachlan (McEldery Books, ages 6-9) is narrated by Zoe, whose family has comforting warmth and good humor, and a fur-full house because of her mother’s rescue dogs. When neighbors move in next door with pristine furniture and Phillip, a boy who doesn’t speak, Zoe learns the power of dogs and her family.
New Series: Bowling Alley Bandit, Laurie Keller, (Holt , ages 7-9); Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, Stephan Pastis (Candlewick, ages 8-10)
Continuing series: Clementine and the Spring Trip, Sara Pennypacker (Hyperion, ages 7 and up)
Middle Grade Novels
P.S. Be Eleven, Rita Williams-Garcia (HarperCollins, ages 9-12)
More changes are ahead for the heroine Delphine in this sequel to One Crazy Summer. The book has flawless research, reminiscent references, and genuine emotions of a preteen living in 1960s Brooklyn.
Binny for Short, Hilary McKay (McElderrry Books, ages 9-11)
McKay involves readers in the life of quirky Binny and her loving family as Binny recovers from years of feeling haunted by events related to her father’s sudden death. There are unusually strong emotions for a young middle-grade story.
Tangle of Knots, Lisa Graff (Philomel, ages 9-12)
The tangle of intriguing multiple viewpoints reveals a fantasy world where characters search to find their “Talents.” The talented writer brings together a huge cast of characters and many plot twists.
Serafina’s Promise, Anne E. Burg (Scholastic, ages 10-12)
Lyrical free verse peppered with Haitian Creole phrases describes the setting and life of young Haitian, Serafina. Serfina’s desire for schooling dominates all other events—her Granpe’s murder by the Tonton Macoutes, a flood that destroys her home, and separation from her family during the earthquake. The author keeps readers fully in Serafina’s charming mind while conveying survival in poverty-struck Haiti.
Navigating Early, Clare Vanderpool (Delacorte, ages 10-12)
Jack Baker is shipped off to a boarding school in Maine soon after his mother’s death and his father’s return from World War II. There he becomes tethered to Early Auden, a strange boy, who translates the number pi into an odd tale that launches a bizarre journey for the two boys in a merge of adventure and mystery.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Kathi Appelt (Atheneum, ages 8-12).Twelve year old Chap Brayburn and two young raccoons are heroes of Appelt’s beautifully- descriptive adventurous romp through a swamp threatened by Sonny Boy Beaucoup, a villain who threatens turn it into an alligator wrestling theme park. Short, engaging chapters from varied viewpoints collectively make for a humorous read.
Middle Grade Series:
New Series: Jaclyn Moriarty, A Corner of White (Scholastic, ages 11 and up); Cynthia Voigt, The Book of Lost Things (Knopf, ages 9-11)
Continuing: Jennifer Nielsen, The Runaway King (Scholastic, ages 9-12); Alexander McCall Smith, The Mystery of Meerkat Hill (Random House, ages 8-10); Rick Riordan, The House of Hades (Hyperion, ages 9-12); From Norvelt to Nowhere, Jack Gantos (FSG, ages 11 and up)
Concluding: Gennifer Cholednko, Al Capone Does My Homework (Dial, ages 9-11) and Diane Stanley, The Princess of Cortova (HarperCollins, ages 9-12)
Brother, Brother, Clay Carmichael (Roaring Brook, ages 14 and up)
Billy “Brother” Grace wakes to find his beloved grandmother has succumbed to her cancer. By her side is a newspaper article about the powerful state senator and circled in that photo is someone who looks exactly like him. The existence of a sibling he didn’t know existed sends Brother, with the help of several memorable characters and some glorious writing, to discover long buried truths.
Tom McNeal’s Far, Far Away (Knopf, ages 11 and up)
A primary influence in Jeremy Johnson’s life is the ghost of Jacob Grimm, who speaks in a voice only the he can hear. But Jacob can’t protect him from an evil villain, or first love. The characters have depth, the tension lifts the story to nearly horrific with the skillful blend of fantasy and realism.
Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, Evan Roskos (Houghton, ages 12 and up)
Sixteen year old James Whitman lives in a home full of anger flares. Near suicidal, James finds calm through imaginary therapy conversations with a large pigeon, reading Whitman and writing poems. James’ intelligence, misery, and depression are all poignantly portrayed.
Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Press, ages 12 and up)
Big awkward Eleanor is a mess, but Park falls in love for her despite his better judgment, and without knowing how she suffers. The author’s spare writing creates two memorable characters, the terror of Eleanor’s abusive home, and a first love that is believable, beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking. Also amazing is the author’s Fangirl (St. Martin’s Press, ages 14 and up), a book with a very different story and writing style, but characters that are just as remarkable.
Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, 14 and up)
Rose Justice, an American pilot from Pennsylvania, enters WW II delivering transport planes. She wishes for deeper involvement, but regrets this desire when she’s caught and sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. This engrossing read with its sensory-rich, lyrical gut-wrenching writing gives a complex view of the characters and era. Also remarkable is Wein’s Code Name Verity (Hyperion, 14 and up)
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick (Little Brown, ages 12 and up)
Through witty sardonic narrative and illuminating footnotes, Leonard Peacock reveals his past and his present plan for his last day. He’ll give gifts to the few he cares about before he kills Asher Beal and then offs himself. As Leonard’s day unfolds, his life begins to make terrible, heartbreaking sense.
Picture Me Gone, Meg Rosoff (Putnam, ages 11 and up)
Mila has a happy family life with parents she adored and is adored by. A trip alone with her father is transformed when they learn that a best friend from his youth has gone missing. Mila excels and thrives on putting clues together and her savvy, yet innocent 12 year old sensitivity and caring. These qualities drive the book which shifts in the middle as secrets surface and Mila’s expectations, emotions, and youthful perspective changes.
The Coldest Girl in Cold Town, Holly Black (Little Brown, ages 14 and up)
When she wakes from a party to find all her friends drained of blood, Tana revokes the pledge she’s made. She swore she’d never enter a Coldtown where vampires are sequestered, but now she’s on a new mission that puts her in the middle of vampire feuds. Gothic horror, romance and compelling prose and intriguing characters combine for a suck you in novel.
Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard, Annette LeBlanc Cate (Candlewick, ages 8-11)
Cate loves birds, bird watching, and drawing. Her passion and wish to engage others in this practice of birding is immediately clear.
The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal, Sy Montgomery; and Eruption: Volcanos and the Science of Saving Lives, Elizabeth Rusch (Houghton, ages 10 and up)
These two books make significant contributions to the photo-story rich “Scientists in the Field” series. Montgomery gives authentic expression to the experience of a Brazilian scientist who enters the Pantanal to track one of the “weirdest-looking and most mysterious animals on earth.” Ruch’s writing gives an eye-opening, tension-strong view of the threats scientists face as they study volatile volcanos.
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels: America’s First Black Paratroopers, Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick, ages 11 and up)
Stone views the emotions of the first black paratroopers, who during WWII had to courageously fight against discrimination rather than enemy combatants.
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II, Martin Sandler (Walker, ages 11 and up)
Strength of illustrations, personal stories and a comprehensive view of prejudice against Japanese-Americans focus on the irony of jailing these loyal Americans in 10 camps across the US while soldiers of this cultural background fought for the Armed Forces.
Young Adult Series:
Starting: Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave (Scholastic, ages 11 and up)
Continuing: Nancy Farmer, The Lord of Opium (Atheneum, ages 12 and up), Maggie Stiefvater, The Dream Thieves (Scholastic, ages 13 and up); Marie Lu, Champion (Random House, ages 12 and up); Maureen Johnson, The Madness Underneath (Putnam, ages 13 and up); Robin LaFevers, Dark Triumph (Houghton, ages 13 and up)
Concluding: Rae Carson, The Bitter Kingdom (Greenwillow, ages 13 and up); Melina Marchetta, Quintana Of Charyn (Candlewick, ages 14 and up) ; Lauren Oliver, Requiem (HarperCollins, ages 13 and up); Gabrielle Zevin’s In the Age of Love and Chocolate (FSG, ages 13 and up); Gayle Forman, Just One Year (Penguin, ages 14 and up)