The finalists for the 2019 Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards have been announced by the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. These are the only national book awards entirely voted on by children and teens. Young readers can place their votes starting on March 1st. Here are the finalists in each category, many of which will be surprising:
KINDERGARTEN TO 2nd GRADE
Day at the Beach by Tom Booth
Grow Up, David! by David Shannon
I Say Ooh You Say Aah by John Kane
Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
There’s a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott
3rd to 4th GRADE
Back to the Future by Jason Rekulak, illustrated by Kim Smith
Down by the River by Andrew Weiner, illustrated by April Chu
The Mushroom Fan Club by Elise Gravel
Safari Pug by Laura James, illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans
School People by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shih
5th to 6th GRADE
Be the Change by Eunice Moyle and Sabrina Moyle
Fakers: An Insider’s Guide to Cons, Hoaxes, and Scams by H.P. Wood, illustrated by David Clark
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Pizzasaurus Rex by Justin Wagner and Warren Wucinich
Sewing the Rainbow: The Story of Gilbert Baker and the Rainbow Flag by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Wildcard by Marie Lu
The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu (9780062275097)
The author of The Real Boy and Breadcrumbs returns with a new marvelous read for middle graders. Lark and Iris are twins. It’s the thing that everyone notices about them. They are very different underneath their physical similarities. Iris is rational, protective and always willing to argue. Lark is dreamy, creative and sensitive. When the two girls are separated for the first time into different classrooms at school, Lark retreats into herself. She has several humiliating experiences that Iris can’t find a way to help with. Meanwhile, Iris finds herself being quieter without Lark to speak up for and has difficulty finding her own way. She is drawn to a strange new antiques shop and begins to spend time there reading old books that belonged to a mysterious “Alice.” The man in the shop is extremely odd, talking about magic and collections. Other odd things are happening as well with art disappearing around the city and crows gathering in the trees. When Iris finds herself in real danger, the mysteries begin to make horrible sense, but she isn’t sure that anyone will even care she is gone.
Ursu once again weaves an incredible tale of magic. This one is set in Minneapolis and Ursu beautifully shares elements of the northern Midwest and the Twin Cities in the story. The setting of anchors this tale in reality which works particularly well as the reveal of the magical part of the book is so gradual. The book is nearly impossible to summarize well or concisely because there are so many elements to the story. As you read though, it is a cohesive whole, a world that Ursu builds for the reader with real skill where the elements click together by the end of the book.
While the book is about both Lark and Iris, the focus is primarily on Iris, the more prickly and outspoken sister. Lark is seen through the lens of Iris’ concern for her and Lark’s opinion of her own role with her sister isn’t shared until towards the end of the book. That reveal is one of the most powerful elements of the book, demonstrating how Iris has not been seeing things clearly at all. The narrator voice is just as well done, creating a feeling of a tale within a tale, where magic is real all along.
A grand adventure of a book full of magic and girl power. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Walden Pond Press.