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Broad Rock Middle School Library: Rhode Island Children's Book Award 2017
In the box below are book summaries and trailers for the 2017 RICBA book nominees. Some of the tabs also have links to the authors' websites and online games. The books will all be available in our school library in the fall but you can check them out from the public library this summer.
The public library may also have ebook versions of the titles. Please ask the librarians at your local library to help you access them. Don't be shy. Answering questions and helping people is what they are there for.
Don't forget, you can also checkFollett Shelffor ebook versions of these at any time.
Follett Shelf is accessible to you all summer long, 24 hours a day.
Thank you to Carolyn Steward from Gladstone Street School Library in Cranston for the use of this page.
RICBA Books 2017: All Book Summaries Courtesy of Follett
"A terrific page-turner, full of unexpected twists and revelations. Buckle up."—James Patterson The first book in a new action-packed series from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman is perfect for young fans of James Patterson and John Grisham. Eli Frieden lives in the most perfect town in the world: Serenity, New Mexico. Honesty and integrity are valued above all else. The thirty kids who live there never lie—they know it’s a short leap from that to the awful problems of other, less fortunate places. Eli has never left Serenity . . . why would he ever want to? Then one day, he bikes to the edge of the city limits and something so crazy and unexpected happens, it changes everything. Eli convinces his friends to help him investigate further, and soon it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems in Serenity. The clues mount to reveal a shocking discovery, connecting their ideal crime-free community to some of the greatest criminal masterminds ever known. The kids realize they can trust no one—least of all their own parents.
A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner; Tim Probert (Illustrator)
Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other and find ways to make a difference in the classroom and on the court. With its energetic and authentic story and artwork, this is a fresh, fun book about school, sports, and friendship.
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski; Lauren Myracle; Emily Jenkins
Nory Horace is nine years old. She's resourceful, she's brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she's able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory'shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father's magic academy, Nory's forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different. From Canadian author Sarah Mlynowski, and authors Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins, this offbeat new series chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.
Click HERE to play a game based on Upside Down Magic.
Trombone Shorty by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews; Bryan Collier (Illustrator)
Hailing from the Tremé neighborhood in New Orleans, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews got his nickname by wielding a trombone twice as long as he was high. A prodigy, he was leading his own band by age six, and today this Grammy-nominated artist headlines the legendary New Orleans Jazz Fest.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper; Sarah Jane Coleman (Cover Design by)
When the Ku Klux Klan’s unwelcome reappearance rattles Stella’s segregated southern town, bravery battles prejudice in this Depression-era tour de force from Sharon Draper, the New York Times bestselling author of Out of My Mind. Stella lives in the segregated South—in Bumblebee, North Carolina, to be exact about it. Some stores she can go into. Some stores she can’t. Some folks are right pleasant. Others are a lot less so. To Stella, it sort of evens out, and heck, the Klan hasn’t bothered them for years. But one late night, later than she should ever be up, much less wandering around outside, Stella and her little brother see something they’re never supposed to see, something that is the first flicker of change to come, unwelcome change by any stretch of the imagination. As Stella’s community—her world—is upended, she decides to fight fire with fire. And she learns that ashes don’t necessarily signify an end.
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Raina can't wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren't quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she's also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn't improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn't seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all. Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.
Ruby on the Outside by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ruby’s mom is in prison, and to tell anyone the truth is to risk true friendship in this novel from the author of The Summer Before Boys that accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked. Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school, and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, most secret secret: her mother is in prison. Then Margalit Tipps moves into Ruby’s condo complex, and the two immediately hit it off. Ruby thinks she’s found her first true-blue friend—but can she tell Margalit the truth about her mom? Maybe not. Because it turns out that Margalit’s family history seems closely connected to the very event that put her mother in prison, and if Ruby comes clean, she could lose everything she cares about most.
Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb
When Joey is bitten by an elderly rat, he goes from aspiring seventh-grader to three-inch tall rodent. At first, Joey is amazed by his new rat self. The city streets call to him at night. Smells that would have repelled him before are suddenly tantalizing. (A chicken bone? Yes! A squashed cockroach? Like perfume!) And wow, the freedom! But when a bout of hunger leads Joey to pull the spork from the scone, he finds himself at the center of a longtime rat prophecy. Joey has unwittingly unlocked the sword Ratscalibur; and now, it is up to him to protect his new rat friends from the evil crows who seek to destroy their peaceful kingdom. But what does an eleven-year-old know about actual swordplay? And what happens when Joey no longer wants to be a rat?
Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
When forced to choose between staying with her guardian and being with her big brother, Ari chose her big brother. There’s just one problem—Gage doesn’t actually have a place to live. When Ari’s mother died four years ago, she had two final wishes: that Ari and her older brother, Gage, would stay together always, and that Ari would go to Carter, the middle school for gifted students. So when nineteen-year-old Gage decides he can no longer live with their bossy guardian, Janna, Ari knows she has to go with him. But it’s been two months, and Gage still hasn’t found them an apartment. He and Ari have been "couch surfing," staying with Gage’s friend in a tiny apartment, crashing with Gage’s girlfriend and two roommates, and if necessary, sneaking into a juvenile shelter to escape the cold Maine nights. But all of this jumping around makes it hard for Ari to keep up with her schoolwork, never mind her friendships, and getting into Carter starts to seem impossible. Will Ari be forced to break one of her promises to Mama? Told in an open, authentic voice, this nuanced story of hiding in plain sight may have readers thinking about homelessness in a whole new way.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes diastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.
Took by Mary Downing Hahn
"Folks say Old Auntie takes a girl and keeps her fifty years--then lets her go and takes another one." Thirteen-year-old Daniel Anderson doesn't believe Brody Mason's crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster's Hill with Bloody Bones, her man-eating razorback hog. He figures Brody's probably just trying to scare him since he's the new kid . . . a "stuck-up snot" from Connecticut. But Daniel's seven-year-old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been "took"?
Click HERE to go to Mary Downing Hahn's official website.
You can explore all of her books and there is even a videogame based on Took.
Lillian's Right to Vote by Jonah Winter; Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)
An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family's tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a "long haul up a steep hill" to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky--she sees her family's history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America's battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman's fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard. "Moving.... Stirs up a potent mixture of grief, anger, and pride at the history of black people's fight for access to the ballot box." --The New York Times "A much-needed picture book that will enlighten a new generation about battles won and a timely call to uphold these victories in the present." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred "A valuable introduction to and overview of the civil rights movement." --Publishers Weekly, Starred "An important book that will give you goose bumps." --Booklist, Starred
How to Swallow a Pig by Steve Jenkins (Illustrator); Robin Page
In the latest eye-catching escape into the kingdom of Animalia, Steve Jenkins and Robin Page reveal the skills animals use to survive in the wild in an imaginative and humorous how-to format. With step-by-step instructions, readers learn about specific behaviors; how to catch thousands of fish like a humpback whale or how to sew up a nest like a tailorbird. This fascinating and fun illustrated nonfiction melds science, art, biology, and the environment together in a detailed and well-researched book about animals who live and survive in our world today.
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
The debut of a phenomenal new middle-grade talent. In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He's got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from. So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier--even if it's the last thing he ever does. The Honest Truth is a rare and extraordinary novel about big questions, small moments, and the incredible journey of the human spirit.
The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
D.J. and his friend Gina are totally normal kids. But that was before a mysterious boy came crashing down from the sky! Hilo doesn't know where he came from, or what he's doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your underwear is a bad idea!) . . . But what if Hilo wasn't the only thing to fall to our planet? Can the trio unlock the secrets of his past? Can Hilo survive a day at school? And are D.J. and Gina ready to save the world?
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord
This powerful middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of RULES explores a friendship between a small-town girl and the daughter of migrant workers. When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season. After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win? Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love.
Growing up Pedro by Matt Tavares
The love between brothers is key to Matt Tavares’s tale of Dominican pitcher Pedro Martínez, from his days of throwing rocks at mangoes to his years as a major-league star. Before Pedro Martínez pitched the Red Sox to a World Series championship, before he was named to the All-Star team eight times, before he won the Cy Young three times, he was a kid from a place called Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic. Pedro loved baseball more than anything, and his older brother Ramon was the best pitcher he’d ever seen. He’d dream of the day he and his brother could play together in the major leagues—and here, Matt Tavares tells the story of how that dream came true. In a fitting homage to a modern day baseball star, the acclaimed author-illustrator examines both Pedro Martínez’s improbable rise to the top of his game and the power that comes from the deep bond between brothers.
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what's right It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi's dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade--no matter how many times she's told no. This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi's perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.
Ellie's Story by W. Bruce Cameron
Ellie's Story is a heartwarming illustrated novel adapted for young readers from the beloved and New York Times bestselling A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Ellie is a very special dog with a very important purpose. From puppyhood, Ellie has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog. She can track down a lost child in a forest or an injured victim under a fallen building. She finds people. She saves them. It's what she was meant to do. But Ellie must do more. Her handlers--widowed Jakob, lonely Maya--need her too. People can be lost in many ways, and to do the job she was born to do, Ellie needs to find a way to save the people she loves best. Ellie's Story is an inspiring tale for young animal lovers. Adorable black-and-white illustrations by Richard Cowdrey bring Ellie and her world to life. A discussion and activity guide at the end of the book will help promote family and classroom discussions about Ellie's Story and the insights it provides about humankind's best friends.
Into the Killing Seas by Michael P. Spradlin
When the ship goes down, the sharks come out.... Stranded in the war torn Pacific, Patrick and his younger brother Teddy are finally homeward-bound. They've stowed away on one of the US Navy's finest ships, and now they just need to stay hidden. But Japanese torpedoes rip their dream apart. And the sinking ship isn't the worst of it. Patrick and Teddy can handle hunger and dehydration as they float in the water and wait to be rescued. If they're smart, they can even deal with the madness that seems to plague their fellow survivors. No, the real danger circles beneath the surface. And it has teeth.... Based on the true events of the 1945 sinking of the USS Indianapolis, author Michael P. Spradlin tells a harrowing story of World War II.
Information for Teachers
The RI Children's Book Award Committee has worked hard this year to develop curriculum connections and other presentation tools to work with this year's titles. If you are looking to infuse your teaching with a new read-aloud please consider a RI Children's Book Award nominee and check the curriculum related materials available here.
Special thanks to all those on the committee for their work on this.