Below is the 2018-2019 Mark Twain Award Final Nominees.
The books with the ☆ are the books I predicted to make the final list.
☆ Framed! A T.O.A.S.T Mystery – James Ponti (This books was the 2019 Mark Twain Award WINNER!) (I haven’t read yet… I plan to read it soon because I will be at the MASL conference where Mr. Ponti is supposed to formally accept his award.)
☆ The Seventh Wish – Kate Messner
Another great book by Kate Messner. The subject of the book is pretty heavy, Charlie’s big sister goes away to college and becomes a different person due to drug addiction. Even though the content is heavy Kate Messner deals with the subject BEAUTIFULLY! She shows us drug addiction through the eyes of a twelve-year-old girl looking at her much adored older sister.
☆ Moo – Sharon Creech
Another beautiful written book in verse by Sharon Creech. Moo is such a quirky story thanks to the character, Mrs. Falala. Mrs. Falala is the neighbor that siblings, Reena and Luke help at the suggestion of their mom. While Reena thought her move to Maine would be full of blueberries and time at the beach… she ends up forming a fantastic bond with Mrs. Falala and her stubborn cow, Zora.
☆ Counting Thyme – Melanie Conklin
Such a raw look into the family of a children with cancer. The effect the disease has on the parents and siblings of the child. Counting Thyme has you holding your breath to see if eleven-year-old Thyme can make her way back to California and her old friend or if she will settle into her new life in New York. Will Val, Thyme’s little brother, benefit from the new cancer drug trial? So many things to learn… and ways to have your heartstrings pulled.
Maxi’s Secrets – Lynn Plourde (I have started this book and really enjoyed listening to my kids in library talk about it. I even enjoyed interacting with the author on Twitter about her books inclusion in my school’s Spring into Reading list.)
When Friendship Followed Me Home – Paul Griffin
I have to lay my thoughts on the line… this book was my favorite this year! Paul Griffin managed to surprise me at every plot twist… even when I knew what was coming. I started to root for Ben, Halley, and Flip like they were my own friends. Their heartbreak was my heartbreak, their joy was my joy! This book had ALL the feels!
Soar – Joan Bauer
BASEBALL! Once again a sports book pulled me in… of course it helps that the story starts in St. Louis… home of THE best baseball team! I am usually not one to get drawn into a sports book… but this book was that and SO much more! Jeremiah wants nothing more than to play baseball… but thanks to a heart transplant at a young age… that isn’t going to be easy. That doesn’t stop him from helping a town that has had it’s heart for baseball stolen away, get back on the right track.
☆ Ghosts – Raina Telgemeier
I downloaded, read and finished this book in one day! I sincerely hope it makes the final list. It was a Newbery Honor book! I was so excited for Ghosts… because it was the first Graphic Novel to make it to the Mark Twain Final Nomination list.
Save Me a Seat – Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan
This book was was for me so refreshing. Joe and Ravi are the main characters and the story goes back and forth between the two as narrators. I will have to say I didn’t think much of Ravi’s character at the beginning, however he managed to redeem himself in the end. Joe and Ravi have issues with Bullying and the way the situation is resolved I don’t think could be officially teacher approved… but I truly cheered Joe and Ravi on at the end of this book!
Unbound – Ann E. Burg
(I have not yet started this book, however I am intrigued by what my students had to say about this Civil War era novel about slavery.)
☆ Ghost – Jason Reynolds
This book is awesome. Even though my school is not inner city, I was able to hear the characters voices and recognize my students in those characters. The main character, Castle Cranshaw (better known as Ghost), is struggling to figure out who he is and where he belongs. He ends up finding a Track team and coach that truly change his life. Ghost is book 1 of a four book series. Each of the other books (Lu. Patina, Sunny) feature other characters from this book.
☆ Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story – Nora Raleigh Baskin
I will admit it… I put off reading this book. I was so afraid that it would be too sad. I remember watching the events of September 11th as they unfolded on TV. I didn’t want to get invested in a character and see them lost their life or someone close to them. This book also follows multiple characters from their point of view through out the story. A bit hard to follow but so worth it. Even the kids are from different parts of the country they end up having a very real connection in the end. I truly enjoyed getting to know Sergio from Brooklyn, Will from Pennsylvania, Naheed from Ohio, and Aimee who has just moved to California. While all four kids are directly impacted by the events of 9/11 the book does not have any graphic descriptions of violence.