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Peace Dale Elementary School Library: Rhode Island Children's Book Award 2021


The Rhode Island Children's Book Award Committee nominates 20 books each year, representing some of the best

new books for young people. Students across the state who read a minimum of 3 books from the list (but hopefully more!)

can vote for their favorite in their school library around January or February of each year.

Check out the Nominees for 2021 below! The books are available in your school library as well as the public library. Some titles are also available as e-books.

Rhode Island Children's Book Award 2021


In the box below are book summaries and trailers for the 2021 RICBA book nominees. Some of the tabs also have links to the authors' websites or video book trailers. The books will all be available in our school library in the fall but you can also 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 why they are there!

Also, just below here is a summary sheet of all the titles to print out and take with you!

RICBA Nominees 2021 - All Book Summaries Courtesy of Follett

Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean

198 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 6.2

Guided Reading Level : R


From the Publisher
Heads up, DOG MAN lovers! Watch out, readers of BAD GUYS! Robotic dog AWESOME DOG 5000 is in the neighborhood and he's. . . well, he's awesome.

Marty, Ralph, and Skyler might make the ultimate secret combo when battling alien-slime ninjas in their favorite video game, but in real life they're just regular kids. That is, until the three best friends discover Awesome Dog 5000, a robotic dog with very real power-ups. Awesome Dog can "bark" a sonic boom, "walk" at speeds over three hundred miles per hour, and "fetch" with an atomic cannon. Life for Marty, Ralph, and Skyler just got a major turbo-boost!

Attention, readers! AWESOME DOG 5000 is a wild action-comedy told through a mix of text and black-and-white illustrations, with a mystery to solve at the end. Can you handle the awesomeness?

Because of the Rabbit by Cynthia Lord

183  pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.3

Lexile Level 660, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)


School Library Journal (March 1, 2019)
Gr 3-7-Emma has been homeschooled and is now ready to follow in her big brother Owen's footsteps and try public school. She is torn between being excited and scared. After all, fifth grade will be hard enough without having to worry if she will fit in or make friends. When Ms. Hutton assigns a group project, "Two Truths and a Lie," as a way for the students to get to know each other, Emma decides this will be her chance to become friends with Jack, Iris,áand Leah. Jack ends up being her partner and though he is loud and somewhat different, he bonds with Emma over Monsieur Lapin,á the honey-colored rescue rabbit she and her game warden father are fostering. Lord's characters are true to life and readers will surely see themselves in one of them. VERDICT A timely story which hits on current social issues in an honest and believable manner.-Martha Rico, El Paso ISD, TX © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Rauf

290 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 6.4

Guided Reading Level V

From the Publisher
Told with humor and heart, The Boy at the Back of the Class offers a child's perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.

There used to be an empty chair at the back of Mrs. Khan's classroom, but on the third Tuesday of the school year a new kid fills it: nine-year-old Ahmet, a Syrian refugee.

The whole class is curious about this new boy--he doesn't seem to smile, and he doesn't talk much. But after learning that Ahmet fled a Very Real War and was separated from his family along the way, a determined group of his classmates bands together to concoct the Greatest Idea in the World--a magnificent plan to reunite Ahmet with his loved ones.

This accessible, kid-friendly story about the refugee crisis highlights the community-changing potential of standing as an ally and reminds readers that everyone deserves a place to call home.

"This moving and timely debut novel tells an enlightening, empowering, and ultimately hopeful story about how compassion and a willingness to speak out can change the world." --School Library Journal, Starred Review

Overall Winner of the 2019 UK Waterstones Children's Book Prize
Winner of the 2019 UK Blue Peter Book Award
A CLIP Carnegie Medal Children's Book Award Nominee

Click the picture to see the author reading from her book:


A Drop of Hope by Keith Calabrese

305 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5.1

Guided Reading Level Y

School Library Journal (January 1, 2019)
Gr 4-6-A wishing well and an attic full of junk serve as the catalysts for a town in need of help. The students at Rod Serling Middle School, inspired by Mr. Earle's tale of Tomkins' Well and its ability to grant wishes, find themselves in a position to help make their neighbors' wishes come true. One of the students, Ernest, discovers an attic full of interesting items while honoring his grandfather's deathbed request that he clean the long-neglected space. The things he finds begin to play a role in fulfilling the Tomkins' Well wishes of the townspeople seeking magical solutions to their everyday problems. Ernest also uncovers family secrets about a jewel heist and the history of his town. VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Louis Sachar's Fuzzy Mud will be drawn to this positive tale that reminds readers that they are not alone.-Laura Dooley-Taylor, Lake Zurich Middle School North, IL © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Click here to see the author speaking about his book!


Dear Justice League, by Michael Northup

151 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.2

Guided Reading Level Q (approximate)

School Library Journal (July 1, 2019)
Gr 3-6-In this engaging book, kids write to the Justice League superheroes, asking questions that many readers have probably wondered: Has Superman ever been less than perfect? Does Green Lantern get tired of wearing the same colors all the time? Does Aquaman smell like fish? The heroes thoughtfully consider these big and small queries, reflect on their experiences, and come up with answers that are sometimes honest and sometimes diplomatic. In several instances, the kids' lives change for the better after the exchange with their hero. Wonder Woman attends her fan's birthday party, while a boy is overprepared for his first day in a new school after taking Batman's advice. This fun premise is taken to a whole new level by Duarte's colorful, adorable artwork, which buzzes with humor and energy. VERDICT "Dear Abby" meets the DC universe. Young superhero fans and reluctant readers will devour this sweet and funny graphic novel.-Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Click picture to view book trailer!

Gross as a Snot Otter: Discovering the World's Most  Disgusting Animals

by Jess Keating

48 pages

Interest Level: K-3, Reading Level 5-7

Guided Reading Level: P

From the Publisher
Animal Planet meets Captain Underpants in the ickiest, squickiest, most fart-filled World of Weird Animals book yet, from the creators of Pink Is for Blobfish.

The creators of Pink Is for Blobfish are back, and they've brought 17 of their most revolting friends: there are slippery, slimy snot otters, gulls that projectile-vomit on command, fish that communicate via flatulence, and chipmunks that cultivate healthy forests by pooping a trail of seeds wherever they go. But there's more to these skin-crawling creatures than meets the eye, and as zoologist Jess Keating explains, sometimes it's the very things that make us gag that allow these animals to survive in the wild.
The perfect combination of yuks, yucks, and eureka!'s, this latest installment in the World of Weird Animals series will inspire budding scientists and burp enthusiasts alike!


Inkling by Kenneth Oppel



Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.6

Lexile Level 900, Guided Reading Level W


From the Publisher
"Astonishing"--The New York Times Book Review

A brilliantly funny, highly illustrated story about how a little ink splot changes a family forever. Perfect for those who love Hoot, Holes, or Frindle!

The Rylance family is stuck. Dad's got writer's block. Ethan promised to illustrate a group project at school--even though he can't draw. Sarah's still pining for a puppy. And they all miss Mom.

Enter Inkling. Inkling begins life in Mr. Rylance's sketchbook. But one night the ink of his drawings runs together--and then leaps off the page! This small burst of creativity is about to change everything.

Ethan finds him first. Inkling has absorbed a couple chapters of his math book--not good--and the story he's supposed to be illustrating for school--also not good. But Inkling's also started drawing the pictures to go with the story--which is amazing! It's just the help Ethan was looking for! Inkling helps the rest of the family too--for Sarah he's a puppy. And for Dad he's a spark of ideas for a new graphic novel. It's exactly what they all want.

It's not until Inkling goes missing that this family has to face the larger questions of what they--and Inkling--truly need.

* A New York Times Notable Book
* A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year -- top ten selection
* "A true-to-life family, some can't-put-it-down excitement, a few deep questions, and more than a little bit of magic. This book is everything, and I loved every page." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medalist for When You Reach Me

Click the picture to listen to the author talk about his book!


Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible Story of the Man Behind the Machines

by Sarah Aronson

48 pages

Interest Level K-3, Reading Level 3.3

Lexile Level 690, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)

From the Publisher
Discover how Rube Goldberg followed his dreams to become an award-winning cartoonist, inventor, and even an adjective in the dictionary in this inspiring and funny biographical picture book.

Want to become an award-winning cartoonist and inventor? Follow your dreams, just like Rube Goldberg! From a young age, Rube Goldberg had a talent for art. But his father, a German immigrant, wanted Rube to have a secure job. So, Rube went to college and became an engineer.

But Rube didn't want to spend his life mapping sewer pipes. He wanted to follow his passion, so Rube got a low-level job at a newspaper, and from there, he worked his way up, creating cartoons that made people laugh and tickled the imagination. He became known for his fantastic Rube Goldberg machines--complicated contraptions with many parts that performed a simple task in an elaborate and farfetched way. Eventually, his cartoons earned him a Pulitzer Prize and his own adjective in the dictionary. This moving biography is sure to encourage young artists and inventors to pursue their passions.

Max and the Midknights By Lincoln Pierce (author of Big Nate series)

278 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 3.9

Lexile Level GN490L, Guided Reading Level M (approximate)


School Library Journal (November 1, 2018)
Gr 4-6-Set in the Middle Ages, this hilarious illustrated novel centers onáMax, who is often mistaken for a boy because of her short hair and assertive personality. Max wants to be a knight, not an entertainer like her uncle. She finally gets her chance when her uncle is kidnapped by the evil and aptly named King Gastley. She and several and other courageous children dub themselves the Midknights and come to the rescue. Aided by the retired wizard Mumblin, Max and her team try to restore peace to the Kingdom of Byjovia. This is a story of magic and adventure. Comic panels with Peirce's signature black-and-white art are expertly placed amid small paragraphs of text. Readers will be drawn into this fun setting. While this novel stands alone fromáthe "Big Nate" books, the opening page references the series, as Nate's teacher chastises him for submitting "Max and the Midknights" as his nonfiction book report.áVERDICTáA solid purchase for all middle grade collections, especially for fans of "Big Nate."-Marissa Lieberman, East Orange Public Library, NJ © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Click picture below to see trailer!


Nina Soni, Former Best Friend

by Kashmera Sheth

144 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5

Guided Reading Level Q

School Library Journal (November 1, 2019)
Gr 2-4-When Nina accidentally knocks over her best friend's art project and breaks it, the duo's friendship gets rocky. No matter what she does, she can't figure out how to fix things. Meanwhile, the deadline for her personal narrative class project is coming up and she hasn't picked a topic yet. She wants to write about an amazing discovery, but her attempts to create a new cure for baldness failed. The illustrations are realistic, detailed, and eye-catching, and the characters are easy to relate to and likable. The fonts and layout used are fairly dyslexic- and reluctant reader-friendly. The notebook-style lists and vocabulary definitions add to the book without overwhelming the action. VERDICT A simple but engaging story. A perfect fit for readers who enjoy realistic fiction about friendship and self-discovery.-Kira Moody, Salt Lake County Library Services © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

One Third Nerd

by Gennifer Choldenko

211 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5.8

Guided Reading Level: R


Booklist (November 1, 2018 (Vol. 115, No. 5))
Grades 3-5. Fifth-grader Liam is used to being the responsible one. With mom and dad divorced, it’s his job to rein in his two younger sisters: the ever-precocious second-grader Dakota, whose science experiments rattle the neighbors, and first-grader Izzy, who has Down syndrome. But what’s wreaking havoc on Liam most of all lately is his beloved pooch, Cupcake, who can’t seem to refrain from peeing all over their basement apartment. Unfortunately, their elderly landlord, Mr. Torpse, says Cupcake’s got to go if they can’t get this situation under control, so Liam and his sisters are on it. Choldenko packs a lot into this slim volume, as Liam also struggles with his family’s financial situation—not imperiled, exactly, but enough to worry him—and a new foe in tennis, who just so happens to be super wealthy. Liam’s concerns are common for young readers, who will find much to relate to in this slice-of-life story. Expressive and amusing, Ceulemans’ illustrations enhance the reading experience in a book perfect for classroom read-alouds. Simply endearing.


Out of My Shell by Jenny Goebel

217 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 6.3

Lexile Level 740, Guided Reading Q (approximate)

rom the Publisher
Normally, Olivia spends all year looking forward to her family's summer vacation in Florida. But not this year. Not when her parents have recently separated, and her father has to stay behind in Colorado. Olivia doesn't know what she'll do all summer without him. They've always been a pair, and she's never felt the same bond with her mother or younger sister.

So Olivia plans to spend the summer laying low, and trying to ignore the hurt gnawing at her heart. But when she learns that the local sea turtle population is in serious risk of dying off because of her neighbor's poorly designed house, she knows she has to do something. She can't just watch the beautiful creatures suffer.

Yet her chances of helping the turtles are slim, and she can't handle any more heartbreak. Will Olivia turn her back on her favorite animal to avoid the pain? Or will she find the courage to stand up for the turtles, and maybe heal herself in the process?

Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd

291 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 5 

Lexile Level 600, Guided Reading Level U 


From the Publisher

New from Natalie Lloyd, bestselling author of A Snicker of Magic!

Twelve-year-old Mallie knows better than to dream. In Coal Top, you live the story you're given: boys toil in t he mines and girls work as servants. Mallie can't bear the idea of that kind of life, but her family is counting on her wages to survive. It wasn't always this way. Before the Dust came, the people of Coal Top could weave starlight into cloth. They'd wear these dreaming clothes to sleep and wake up with the courage to seek adventure . . . or the peace to heal a broken heart. But now nothing can penetrate Coal Top's blanket of sorrow.

So when Mallie is chosen for a dangerous competition in which daring (and ideally, orphaned) children train flying horses, she jumps at the chance. Maybe she'll change her story. Maybe she'll even find the magic she needs to dream again. But the situation proves even more dangerous when Mallie uncovers a sinister mystery at the heart of Coal Top's struggles - a mystery some powerful people will do anything to protect.


Click on the picture below to see a video review!


Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

380 pages

Interest Level 3-6 Reading Level 5.6

Lexile Level 720, Guided Reading Level Q (approximate)

From the Publisher

A poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy's immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks! Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang!

AParents Magazine Best Kids Book of the Year!
A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year!
AnNPRBest Book of the Year!
AHorn BookBest Book of the Year!
AKirkusBest Book of the Year!
Recipient of FIVE starred reviews!

"Pie in the Sky is like enjoying a decadent cake . . . heartwarming and rib-tickling." --Terri Libenson, bestselling author ofInvisible Emmie

When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he's landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn't speak English, and he's often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.

To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down onemajorrule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she's at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they'll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.

In her hilarious, moving middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham'sReal Friends,Kelly Yang'sFront Desk, and Jerry Craft'sNew Kid.

A Junior Library Guild selection!

Click on the picture below to see the book trailer!


The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

by Ibtihaj Muhamma

40 pages

Interest Level K-3, Reading Level 1.6

Guided Reading Level N

School Library Journal (September 1, 2019)
K-Gr 4-Faizah is excited for her first day of school but even more excited for her older sister, Asiya. Asiya is starting sixth grade with her brand-new blue hijab. As Faizah walks to the school in her new light-up shoes and backpack, she admires her sister who looks like a princess in her blue head scarf. At school, some students celebrate with her, some are ambivalent, and some faceless, nameless characters taunt her. Their mother has prepared the girls with wise words. When the kids in the school bully Asiya, she remembers her mother's advice to not carry hurtful words as "they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them." The illustration and the colors are just as powerful as words conveying the passionate message of how to be proud of one's culture, individuality, and religion and how to stay strong and keep one's faith. This is an empowering book for young readers who can see themselves in Asiya or know someone like her. The touching and celebratory illustrations complement the quiet strength of Asiya as she steps into a beautiful and celebrated coming-of-age rite. VERDICT This excellent story about identity, visibility, and confidence, touches on rites of passage, bonds between sisters, and bullying and is unapologetic in tackling misconceptions and demanding equality.-Noureen Qadir-Jafar, Syosset Library, NY © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Scouts by Shannon Greenland

257 pages

Interest Level 5-8, Reading Level 6.3

Lexile Level 630, Guided Reading Level P (approximate)


From the Publisher

Stranger Things meets The Goonies in this suspenseful yet heartwarming adventure story about kids who set out to find a crashed meteor . . . but find mystery and danger instead as their friendships begin to fracture.

Annie, Beans, Rocky, and Fynn are the Scouts -- best friends who do everything together. It's 1985, and the summer before seventh grade is just beginning. The Scouts decide to secretly climb Old Man Basinger's silo to watch a meteor shower, and when one meteor seems to crash nearby, the Scouts know they have to set out on their next adventure and find it.

But their fun overnight jaunt through the woods soon takes a turn for the worst when they discover a series of disturbing clues about the meteor -- and suddenly find themselves on the run from the wild, violent Mason clan. Bonds are tested when new kids join their adventure and the group's true feelings are revealed. Will the Scouts survive this journey together -- or will their unbreakable friendships prove vulnerable after all?

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

278 pages

Interest Level 5-8, Reading Level 4.4

Lexile Level HL560L, Guided Reading Level X

Booklist (April 1, 2019 (Vol. 115, No. 15))
Grades 4-6. It’s a summer of change for Delsie when a longtime friend is drawn away into the orbit of a mean girl. Raised by her grandmother alone since her grandfather’s death, Delsie lives in a small, tight-knit neighborhood on Cape Cod, where Grammy cleans guest cottages to support them. When someone asks Delsie what it’s like to be an orphan, her apparent abandonment by her parents seems to matter as never before. On the other hand, a new kid with a chip on his shoulder gradually opens up to become a new friend she can count on. The first-person narrative clearly shows Delsie’s heightened emotional state as she grapples with increasing doubts. But with Grammy’s love and homespun wisdom, other supportive adults around her, and a reliable new friend, Delsie ultimately finds all she needs to become more self-assured. In addition to telling Delsie’s story in an involving way, Hunt vividly portrays the underlying us-and-them mentality shared by locals in a seaside community that relies on outside visitors. As sweet and summery as lemonade.

Please click picture below to see book trailer!

Titan and the Wild Boars: The True Cave Rescue of the Thai Soccer Team 

by Susan Hood & Pathana Sornhiran

48 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 6.2

Lexile Level  830, Guided Reading Level S (approximate)


From Follett

Map on endpapers. Shares the story of the Thai soccer team of twelve boys and their coach trapped in a flooded cave miles underground for three weeks. Including the team's time in the cave, failed plans and mistakes from the rescue team, and the mission that saved them.

From the Publisher




Don't miss the breathtaking true story of the international rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand!

One afternoon, eleven-year-old Titan, his friends from the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach rode their bikes to explore local caves. They crawled through the narrow tunnels in the dark to reach the center of the cave. When they turned to go home, heavy rains had flooded the tunnel. They were trapped!

With rising waters and monsoon season upon them, time and oxygen were running out. The world watched with bated breath as rescuers from around the globe joined forces to try to free the boys. After eighteen harrowing days, in an unprecedented effort of international teamwork, they were finally saved.

Award-winning author Susan Hood and journalist Pathana Sornhiran based this picture book on Sornhiran's first-hand reporting of the event, and Dow Phumiruk's beautiful illustrations bring the story to life. The book also includes a timeline and back matter with additional resources.



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!


Click the picture below to see Ellen interview the actual team about their experience!



The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

40 pages 

Interest Level K-3, Reading Level 2.5

Guided Reading Level K (approximate)

From the Publisher

Winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal
A 2020 Newbery Honor Book
Winner of the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

The Newbery Award-winning author of THE CROSSOVER pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree.

Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.




Wildfire by Rodman Philbrick

202 pages

Interest Level 3-6, Reading Level 4.4

Lexile Level 700, Guided Reading Level X 


From the Publisher
Newbery Honor author Rodman Philbrick sends readers straight into the nightmare of a raging wildfire as 12-year-old Sam is trapped by explosive flames and deadly smoke that threaten to take his life. Can he survive? Flames race toward Sam Castine's summer camp as evacuation buses are loading, but Sam runs back to get his phone. Suddenly, a flash of heat blasts him as pine trees explode. Now a wall of fire separates Sam from his bus, and there's only one thing to do: Run for his life. Run or die. Lungs burning, Sam's only goal is to keep moving. Drought has made the forest a tinderbox, and Sam struggles to remember survival tricks he learned from his late father. Then, when he least expects it, he encounters Delphy, an older girl who is also lost. Their unlikely friendship grows as they join forces to find civilization. The pace never slows, and eventually flames surround Sam and Delphy on all sides. A powerful bond is forged that can only grow out of true hardship -- as two true friends beat all odds and outwit one of the deadliest fires ever. At the end of the novel, information about wildfires and useful safety tips add to the reader's understanding of one of the US's most dangerous natural disasters.