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Hugh Cole School Library: 2020 Rhode Island Children's Book Award Nominees

RICBA 2020

RICBA Nominees 2020 - All Book Summaries Courtesy of Follett (page borrowed from Martha Badigian, LMS, Peace Dale and Wakefield Elementary Schools, South Kingstown, RI)

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

copyright 2018

201 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4-6 

Lexile Level 590, Guided Reading Level N (approximate)

 

It's been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy's grandmother in Australia. Now that she's back, Livy has the feeling she's forgotten something really, really important about Gran's house. It turns out she's right.

Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn't forget Livy, or her promise. He's been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can't remember who--or what--he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it's time to keep that promise.Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.

Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, two masterminds of classic, middle-grade fiction come together to craft this magical story about the enduring power of friendship.

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Superlative by J. S. Puller

copyright 2018

245 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.4

Lexile Level 600, Guided Reading Level N (approximate)

 

Overview
From Follett

Janey, a quiet outsider, is inspired by the eccentric and enigmatic Captain Superlative, a masked superhero who runs through the halls of their middle school, performing radical acts of kindness.

From the Publisher

"Have no fear, citizens! Captain Superlative is here to make all troubles disappear!"

 

Red mask, blue wig, silver swimsuit, rubber gloves, torn tights, high top sneakers and . . . a cape? Who would run through the halls of Deerwood Park Middle School dressed like this? And why?

 

Janey-quick to stay in the shadows-can't resist the urge to uncover the truth behind the mask. The answer pulls invisible Janey into the spotlight and leads her to an unexpected friendship with a superhero like no other. Fearless even in the face of school bully extraordinaire, Dagmar Hagen, no good deed is too small for the incomparable Captain Superlative and her new sidekick, Janey.

 

But superheroes hold secrets and Captain Superlative is no exception. When Janey unearths what's truly at stake, she's forced to face her own dark secrets and discover what it truly means to be a hero . . . and a friend.

 

Debut author J.S. Puller delivers an inspirational story full of heart, humor, and breathtaking revelations.

 

 

 

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

copyright 2018

286 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.5

Lexile Level 640, Guided Reading Level R (approximate)

 

From Follett

Includes bibliographical references. Recent immigrants from China and desperate for work and money, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel in Southern California, even though the owner, Mr. Yao is a nasty skinflint who exploits them; while her mother (who was an engineer in China) does the cleaning, Mia works the front desk and tries to cope with demanding customers and other recent immigrants--not to mention being only one of two Chinese in her fifth grade class, the other being Mr. Yao's son, Jason.

From the Publisher
Mia Tang has a lot of secrets.

Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.

Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.

Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language?

It will take all of Mia's courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?
 

Game Changers: the story of Venus and Serena Williams

by Lesa Cline-Ransome snd James E. Ransome

copyright 2018

48 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5-7

Lexile Level 1030, Guided Reading Level V (approximate)

School Library Journal (June 1, 2018)
Gr 3-5-This lovingly crafted picture book biography centers on the incredible bond between Venus and Serena Williams and one of their signature accomplishments: being the first two sisters in tennis history to rank numbers one and two in the world. Beginning with their early childhood, Cline-Ransome highlights the siblings' hard work and dedication to each other and their goals. From pre-dawn practices as preschoolers in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Serena's first victory over Venus in the 2002 French Open nearly 20 years later, this story of their single-minded focus and unwavering family support will inspire readers to achieve greatness regardless of the odds. The collage artwork, done in cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints, is expansive and filled with vibrant colors and emotions. Fans of tennis will be in for a treat as Cline-Ransome recounts the Williams's matches with thrilling detail. This powerful narrative will most appeal to independent readers. Back matter includes an afterword that chronicles the duo's accomplishments and challenges from 2002 to 2011. VERDICT An important selection for biography and sports collections.-Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife

by Sarah Grace Tuttle

copyright 2018

48 pages

Interest Level K-3, Reading Level 2.9

Guided Reading Level M (approximate)

Booklist (March 15, 2018 (Vol. 114, No. 14))
Grades K-2. Science and poetry intersect in this journey through the lives of flora and fauna that make their home close to humans. From the moss in the sidewalk cracks (“delicate shoots / for shoes to / tread on / break off / carry away”) to peregrine falcons on window ledges (“She clutches the edge of her nest, / bobs her head, / and then / flap! flap-flap flaps her wings”), there’s a surprising multitude of plants and animals living in urban and suburban areas. These joyful poems examine spots of life: a community garden in an empty lot, a family of raccoons scouting for food in the trash, a cluster of ladybugs on the side of a house. The bright collage illustrations capture the frenetic energy of city life, offering up levels of detail that will entertain kids through repeated readings. For the science inclined, a final spread offers up additional fun facts about every plant and animal mentioned, along with some further reading suggestions. An exuberant, early-STEM romp that celebrates the environment.
 
 

Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home

by Sy Montgomery

from the publisher:

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this fascinating picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus expert Sy Montgomery.

Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he'd had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea.

Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn't escape--but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

 

Just Like Jackie by Lindsay Stoddard

copyright 2018

244 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5.1

Lexile Level 900, Guided Reading Level R (approximate)

 

From Follett:

"For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it's just been her and Grandpa. He taught her about cars, baseball, and everything else worth knowing. But Grandpa's memory has been getting bad--so bad that he sometimes can't even remember Robbie's name. She's sure that she's making things worse by getting in trouble at school, but she can't resist using her fists when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom. Now she's stuck in group guidance--and to make things even worse, Alex Carter is there too. There's no way Robbie's going to open up about her life to some therapy group, especially not with Alex in the room. Besides, if she told anyone how forgetful Grandpa's been getting lately, they'd take her away from him. He's the only family she has--and it's up to her to keep them together, no matter what"--Amazon.

 

Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan

copyright 2018

148 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4

Lexile Level 610, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)

 

From the Publisher

An ALA Notable Title

"Absurdly entertaining. Victorious on all fronts."--Booklist (starred review)

Renowned for their courage, their chivalry, and their ability to fight mythical creatures, the Knights of the Round Table must face their most dangerous opponents yet--DINOSAURS!

This heavily illustrated middle grade novel from award-winning author and artist Matt Phelan is a hilarious, rip-roaring tale of derring-do perfect for reluctant readers and fans of How to Train Your Dragon and The Terrible Two.

Let me tell you a secret about the Knights of the Round Table: they don't have much to do. The realm is at peace and dragons are few and far between. So Merlin decides to send the knights out on a real adventure to a world filled with the most terrible lizards of all: DINOSAURS!

Knights vs. Dinosaurs is a highly illustrated, fast-paced adventure full of uproarious knightly hijinks, surprising secrets, and terrifying dinosaurs. With art on nearly every page, including an epic fight scene depicted in several graphic-novel style spreads, this engaging story is Monty Python for young middle school readers.

A great choice for reluctant readers, aspiring knights, and fans of Peter Brown's The Wild Robot.

"This rollicking story is suspenseful and silly. An excellent choice for all readers."--School Library Journal (starred review)

A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women's Rights

by Kate Hannigan

copyright 2018

32 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5

Lexile Level 780, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)

 

From the Publisher
Activist Belva Lockwood never stopped asking herself the question Are women not worth the same as men?She had big dreams and didn't let anyone stand in her way--not her father, her law school, or even the U.S. Supreme Court. She fought for equality for women in the classroom, in the courtroom, and in politics. In her quest for fairness and parity, Lockwood ran for President of the United States, becoming the first woman on the ballot. In this riveting nonfiction picture book biography, award-winning author Kate Hannigan and celebrated artist Alison Jay illuminate the life of Lockwood, a woman who was never afraid to take the floor and speak her mind.
 

Margo and Mateo Save the World

by Darcy Miller

copyright 2018

216 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 6

Lexile level 620, Guided Reading Level O (approximate)

From Follett

"What would you do if one morning you discovered slug-like aliens had invaded your town and were infecting the townspeople one by one? . . . Well, it doesn't matter what you'd do, because this story isn't about you. It's about Margot Blumenthal and Mateo Flores, two sixth graders who--on the same day they're supposed to make their stage debut in the school play--stumble upon a huge, massive, earth-shattering plot to take over the world"--Dust jacket.

From the Publisher

A hilarious--and slimy--alien adventure (set on Earth) that the bestselling author of Zombie Chasers, John Kloepfer, calls "fast paced, out-of-this-world fun!"

When Margot Blumenthal removes a bright blue slug alien attached to Mateo Flores's back, the school play co-stars know it's definitely not going to be a regular day at West Cove Middle School.

They reluctantly team up and soon discover that the mayor and countless other adults, including Mateo's dad, are infected--which means that West Cove, and possibly all of Earth, is in danger.

What will they (and their new scientist friend) do? Ditch class and protect humankind, of course--because one unexcused absence doesn't matter when the world is at stake!

This stand-alone middle grade novel is fun, silly, and full of adventure. Young readers will speed through it...if they can stop laughing long enough to turn the page.

 

Here's the author's website- send her an e-mail to let her know how you like the book! Or ask her questions!

 

 

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

by Stacy McAnulty

copyright 2018

293 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 3.7

Lexile Level 530, Guided Reading Level (not available)

From the Publisher
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school!

Lucy's grandma insists- Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?

A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.

Monster Mayhem by Christopher Eliopoulos

copyright 2018

212 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.3

Lexile Level GN (graphic novel)150, Guided Reading P (approximate)

Publishers Weekly (July 2, 2018)
Zoe has trouble making friends, but she excels at inventing robots and getting lost in classic monster movies. When she stumbles upon a magic ring, it summons a giant, building-eating monster, nicknamed "Chomp," to be her friend. It also calls to Chomp's pals, who begin to arrive and cause widespread destruction until Zoe, her classmates, her robot assistant, and her new monster friend find a way to protect the city. Through her confrontation with the monsters, Zoe makes friends and learns what it means to trust and collaborate with others. Cartoon art by Eliopoulos (the Ordinary People Change the World series) renders the monstrous antagonists menacing but not entirely terrifying, while Chomp is round and friendly looking, with a protruding lower tooth. This fun, relatable tale captures how children can lose themselves in interests to distract from feelings of loneliness and isolation. While the story occurs in the same universe as Eliopoulos's Cosmic Commandos, it also works perfectly as a standalone. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Nightbooks by J.A. White

copyright 2018

294 pages

Interest Level 4-7, Reading Level 5.4

Lexile Level 660, Guided Reading Level S (approximate)

 

Publishers Weekly
In this clever synthesis of One Thousand and One Nights and -Hansel and Gretel,- a boy captured by a witch must tell a different spooky story every night if he wishes to stay alive long enough to escape her clutches. But even though he has notebooks full of nightmare-inspired tales, Alex needs to come up with new material to appease his captor, whose impossibly large apartment is filled with lurking terrors. He finds a reluctant ally in Yasmin, a fellow captive, but even she may not be able to help him outwit the witch and return to the real world. Too bad he-s suffering from writer-s block. White (the Thickety series) skillfully interweaves Alex-s peril with the stories he tells, which possess a juvenile gotcha horror in their own right. (Possessed teddy bears, ghost-filled playgrounds, and vampires who steal reflections all make appearances.) The blend of folk and fairy tale elements works extremely well under the circumstances, and the protagonists share an enjoyable camaraderie as they attempt to thwart their common enemy. Despite the dark premise, the narrative never quite crosses the line into horror, making it a safe bet for younger readers. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM Partners. Ages: 8-12. (July)

 

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street

by Lindsay Currie

copyright 2017
295 pages
Interest Level 4-7, Reading Level 4.4
Lexile Level 620, Guided Reading Level R
 
From the Publisher
A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn't exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother's doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone--or something--is trying to communicate with her. And it involves a secret that's been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street--and more importantly, what it has to do with her!
 

A Pup Called Trouble by Robbie Pyron

copyright 2018

200 pages

INterest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5

Lexile Level 700, Guided Reading Level S (approximate)

From the Publisher

Fans of classic animal stories like Pax and A Dog's Way Home will howl over the heartwarming adventures of a coyote pup lost in New York City.

Brimming with curiosity, Trouble can't wait to explore the world beyond Singing Creek. So one morning the coyote pup stows away in the back of a truck and ends up lost in the heart of New York City. While Trouble misses his siblings, he quickly makes friends in Central Park's Ramble: a prankster crow, a timid opossum, and a poetic poodle.

Before long, he goes from howling for home to wondering if he could make a life in the city forever. But when word gets out that a coyote is running wild on city streets, Trouble must choose between the risks of being caught and the dangers of a long journey home.

Inspired by true stories, this accessible read from the award-winning author of A Dog's Way Home will resonate with anyone who's ever felt torn between the longing for adventure and the call of home. An appendix with real accounts of wild animals trapped in the city adds to the fun!

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rhino in Right Field by Stacy DeKeyser
 

 

copyright 2018

257 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.7

Lexile Level 630, Guided Reading Level R (approximate)

From the Publisher
"Laugh-out-loud fun...A winner in every way." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Funny and good-hearted." --Publishers Weekly

A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents--and the rhino in the outfield--to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

Nick wants to change his life. For twelve years, he's done what his hard-working, immigrant parents want him to do. Now he's looking for his own American dream and he thinks he's found it. The local baseball team is having a batboy contest, and Nick wants to win.

But the contest is on a Saturday--the day Nick has to work in his father's shop. There's one other tiny--well, not so tiny--problem. A 2,000-pound rhinoceros named Tank. Nick and his friends play ball in the city zoo--and Tank lives just beyond the right field fence. Nick's experience getting the ball out of Tank's pen has left him frozen with fear whenever a fly ball comes his way. How's a lousy fielder going to win the contest?

Nick practices every day with his best friend, Ace, and a new girl who has an impressive throwing arm! But that's not enough--to get to the contest, Nick has to lie to his parents and blackmail his uncle. All while dodging the school bully, who's determined to win even by playing dirty. Nick will need to keep his eye on the ball in this fast, funny story about a game that can throw you some curveballs--just like life!
 
 
 
 

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

copyright 2018

165 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.1

Lexile Level 690, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)

From the Publisher:

Indie Next List Pick ALA Notable Children's Book Texas Bluebonnet Award Winner

"A winning tale of love." --Kirkus (starred review)

Perfect for fans of Charlotte's Web and The One and Only Ivan, Saving Winslow is an uplifting modern classic in the making about a young boy who befriends an ailing newborn donkey and nurses him back to health, from New York Times bestseller and Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech.

Louie doesn't have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he's determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.

Everyone worries that Winslow won't survive, especially Louie's quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie's bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.

Written in the spirit of Creech favorites Moo and Love That Dog, this standout tale about love and friendship and letting go will tug at the heartstrings.

 

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

copyright 2018

297 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 3.8

Lexile Level  510, Guided Reading Level Q (approximate)

 

Horn Book Guide starred (Spring 2019)

Narrator Caleb and older brother Bobby Gene meet Styx Malone, a mysterious, lanky, smooth-talking teenager who adds excitement to their otherwise humdrum summer in small-town Indiana. The boys embark on a journey that encompasses rule-breaking, laugh-out-loud humor, and nail-biting adventure, while exploring the importance of family ties and deep friendships. Spending time with Styx, Caleb, and Bobby Gene is an experience no reader will soon forget.
 
Check out the author reading from her book below!

 

Solar System: Our Place in Space by Rosemary Mosco

copyright 2018

116 pages (graphic novel)

Interest Level 3-6. Reading Level 5.6

Lexile Level GN (graphic Novel) 590, Guided Reading Level T (approximate)

 

From the Publisher
Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic--dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty-year-old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!In this volume, go where no kid has gone before! You'll get up close and personal with Earth's nearest neighbors--Venus with its acid rainstorms, Saturn and its rings of ice, and the heart of it all, the Sun. Join Sara, Jill, and their space-faring pets on a quest to learn more about the wonders of our solar system--and beyond!
 

The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette

copyright 2018

191 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5.7

Lexile Level 670, Guided Reading Level U (approximate)

 

From the Publisher
Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him - a jean jacket on which he's a fixed numerous buttons - because it's a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn't have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.

It turns out that the train isreal - and it's gone out of control! Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what's going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he's looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.

In this achingly beautiful adventure, it is the power of memories, and the love between a father and son, that ultimately save the day.

 

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