The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced their 2011 book awards in San Diego, California. One of the highest honors a book can receive is the John Newbery Medal. The award is given yearly to a book which is deemed the best children’s literature published in the previous year. There are usually Honor books named as well in this category. The winning book for 2011 is Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. The four Honor books chosen are Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Rick Allen, and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Moon Over Manifest takes place in 1936 in Manifest, Kansas. The narrator of the story is 12-year-old Abilene Tucker. Abilene and her dad have beenon their own since her mom ran off ten years earlier and now that her dad is working on the railroad, Abilene must stay with her father’s friend, Pastor Shady Howard. A second storyline is woven throughout that takes place during World War I. Abilene discovers a keepsake box that has her and her friends, Ruthanne and Lettie, on the search for two mysterious people connected to the box. Author Clare Vanderpool lives in Wichita, Kansas and grew up reading. She holds a college degree in English and Elementary Education.
Turtle in Paradise is another story set in the 1930’s about a child living away from a parent. Turtle is 11 and is sent to live with relatives in Key West when her mother finds a job as a live-in housekeeper in New Jersey. With jobs scarce and her mother’s new employer not liking children, moving to live with her cousins and grandmother seems the only solution for Turtle. While in Florida, Turtle discovers an entirely different way of life along with buried treasure. Author Jennifer L. Holm lives in Northern California, is married, and owns a cat named Princess Leia Organa.
Heart of a Samurai is based on true events. It is set in 19th-centruy Japan and tells the story of Manjiro, a teen-aged Japanese fisherman who becomes stranded on an island with his fellow fisherman. They are rescued by an American whaleboat and the captain offers to take Manjiro back to the United States with him. After ten years, Manjiro attempts to return to Japan. However, after spending ten years with “barbarians,” will the Japanese government allow him to return? Author Margi Preus has written more children’s books about Asian traditions and experiences. Her book CelebriTrees, a book about historic and famous trees, will be released in March, 2011.
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night is a book of poetry that uses nocturnal animals and their habits as subject matter. Included with the 12 poems are factual information about each animal. The Dark Emperor refered to in the title is the Great Horned Owl. Author Joyce Sidman lives in Minnesota and began writing poetry in high school. She has published nine children’s books and more in the works. Illustrator Rick Allen is a woodcut artist.
One Crazy Summer takes place in 1968 and three sisters living in Brooklyn are sent to Oakland, California for the summer to visit their poet mother who left them years ago. The Black Panthers run a center in Oakland and it here where the girls spend most of their time so their mother can work on her poetry. The three sisters are introduced to revolution, cultural identity, and standing up for one’s self. Author Rita Williams-Garcia was sending her work to magazine publishers by the time she was twelve. One Crazy Summer also was awarded the Coretta Scott King Book Award for 2011.
Each of these award-winning books can be purchased online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Powell’s. They can also be found at neighborhood bookstores like the ones named here.
1330 Lincoln Avenue
Calistoga, California 94515
1760 4th Street
Berkeley, California 94710-1711
Stinson Beach Books
3455 Shoreline Highway
Stinson Beach, California 94970
Depot Bookstore & Cafe
87 Throckmorton Avenue
Mill Valley, California 94941-1915
615 San Anselmo Ave
San Anselmo, California 94960