Award Winning Books
Genre: Fiction - Adventure Books
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi tells a suspenseful adventure story with a riveting plot. The main character of this Newbery Honor award-winning book is 13-year-old Charlotte Doyle, who grows and changes over the course of her eventful voyage on the high seas in 1832. The only passenger and the only female on a ship called Seahawk, Charlotte gets caught between a cruel captain and his vengeful crew. Charlotte first sides with the seemingly charming Captain Jaggery while befriending a cook named Zachariah. After realizing the captain's true nature, Charlotte Doyle works hard to win over the crew by becoming one of the seamen. When the captain charges her with a murder she didn't commit, Charlotte is tried and found guilty. But Charlotte manages to survive and win in her struggle with the captain and to arrive at her destination safely. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is a good book for teens in 8th grade and up.
Lois Lowry (Mass Market Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
"The Giver" by Lois Lowry is a thought-provoking young adult science fiction novel. The protagonist of this powerful story is a 12-year-old boy named Jonas, who lives in a highly ordered community. The Elders assign jobs, spouses and families. Pain, poverty and war are non-existent. At the coming-of-age Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas was selected to become the new Receiver of Memory. As the giver transfers memories of the past to him, a whole new world opens up for the boy. After he discovers the terrible truth about his community, Jonas goes on a dangerous journey to escape. "The Giver" has received many awards, including 1994 Newbery Medal, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults and ALA Notable Children's Book. With original plot and believable characters, "The Giver" appeals to teens in 8th grade and up.
George Selden, Garth Williams (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden and Garth Williams is a charming animal fantasy book about Chester Cricket's adventure in New York City. At the start of this classic children' book, the country cricket arrives at the Times Square subway station by accident. Mario Bellini, whose parents own a newsstand, finds him and lets him stay in the newsstand. The cricket goes on to make friends with the boy, Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. With interesting characters and an imaginative story, The Cricket in Times Square is a great chapter book for children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
Esther Forbes, Lynd Ward (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Theme: American Revolutionary War
"Johnny Tremain" by Esther Forbes, winner of the 1944 Newbery Medal, is one of the best historical fiction novels ever written for young adults. The main character of this classic book is Johnny Tremain, a sharp, arrogant and observant 14-year-old silversmith's apprentice in Boston. After an accident cripples his hand, the boy meets his best friend Rab Silsbee and gets a new job delivering newspaper for the Boston Observer. Johnny serves as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty in the days leading to the American Revolution War and becomes acquainted with historical figures like John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere and Dr. Warren. Johnny and Rab get intimately involved in the Boston Tea Party. Rab then joins the Minutemen and was shot by British soldiers during the Battle of Lexington at the start of the Revolutionary War. Teens in 7th grade and up will enjoy this moving story.
Elizabeth George Speare (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, Frontier and Pioneer Life, Native American, Survival Stories
"The Sign of the Beaver" by Elizabeth George Speare is one of the best children's books in the genre of historic fiction. Left alone to guard his family's home in the 18th century Maine, 12-year old Matt learns wilderness survival skills from a proud Native American boy Attean and teaches Attean to read. The two boys found friendship in spite of themselves. "The Sign of the Beaver" has won many awards, including the Newbery Award, ALA Notable Children's Book, Christopher Award and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Children grade 4 and up will enjoy this wilderness survival story and learn about Native American culture as well as frontier and pioneer life.
Gary D. Schmidt (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Historical Fiction; Book Themes: Friendship, Race Relations and Racism
"Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" by Gary D. Schmidt is a Newbery Honor award-winning book and well-written historical fiction for young adults. In 1912, Turner Buckminster and his parents have just moved to Phippsburg, Maine. Reverend Buckminster has been appointed the pastor of the First Congregational Church. Life is stifling and unbearable until the boy meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart African-American girl from nearby Malaga Island. They form a close friendship in spite of disapproval by Reverend Buckminster and the townspeople. After the town elders decide to remove the people from the island for the sake of a prospective tourist trade, tragedies follow one after another. "Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy" depicts a disturbing picture of racism during early 20th century, a sad chapter of race relations in the US. The main characters of the story are well developed, especially Turner Buckminster, who grows up and matures right in front of reader's eyes.
Robert C. O'Brien, Zena Bernstein (Paperback)
Genres: Fiction - Animal Fantasy, Science Fiction
"Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" by Robert C. O'Brien, winner of the Newbery Medal, is one of the best children's books of the 20th century. Author Robert O'Brien effectively combines elements of animal fantasy and science fiction in this chapter book and tells a captivating story with believable characters and an interesting plot. A widowed field mouse, Mrs. Frisby, needs to move her family to their summer home quickly before a farm's plow comes, but one of her children gets seriously ill and cannot go out in the cold. She seeks help from the rats of Nimh, highly intelligent rats who live under the rosebush. These animals have been captured by the scientists at the Nimh lab and given injections that have vastly boosted their intelligence. They can read and write. The rat leader Nicodemus tells Mrs. Frisby the story of their escape from Nimh. It turns out one of the escapees is Jonathan Frisby, Mrs. Frisby's late husband. The rats now have a plan to grow their own crop and form a self-sufficient colony in Thorn Valley. "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh" appeals to children in 4th grade through 7th grade.
E. L. Konigsburg (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Adventure Books; Book Theme: Family
"From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg is an adventure story that has delighted children for decades and is considered a modern classic. Two siblings, Claudia and her brother Jamie, run away from their family home and have an adventure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They uncover the mystery surrounding "Angel", a statue in the museum. Under E.L. Konigsburg's deft pen, the two main characters in the classic chapter book seem very real and likable. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" has won Newbery Medal and ALA Notable Children's Book award, and is often considered one of the best children's books.
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