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Massachusetts Book Awards Must Reads 2020
Massachusetts Children's Book Award Master List 2020
Ancient Egypt by
Publication Date: 2015-09-15
Travel back in time to the age of the pyramids with this interactive trivia book from Jeopardy! winner and New York Times bestselling author Ken Jennings. With this book about ancient Egypt, you'll become an expert and wow your friends and teachers with awesome ancient facts: Did you know that some Egyptians used to shave their eyebrows whenever a cat died? Or that some people worshiped a god of lettuce? With great illustrations, cool trivia, and fun quizzes to test your knowledge, this guide will have you on your way to whiz-kid status in no time.
Alexander Hamilton by
Publication Date: 2017-03-07
The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton's vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak.
Publication Date: 2017-05-30
Chase's memory just went out the window. Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again... starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is -- it's a question of who he was... and who he's going to be. From the #1 bestselling author of Swindle and Slacker, Restart is the spectacular story of a kid with a messy past who has to figure out what it means to get a clean start.
Book Uncle and Me by
Publication Date: 2016-09-13
Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something. But what can she do? The local elections are coming up but she's just a kid. She can't even vote! Still, Yasmin has friends -- her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a black belt in karate. And she has grownup family and neighbors who, no matter how preoccupied they are, care about what goes on in their community. Then Yasmin remembers a story that Book Uncle selected for her. It's an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter's net. The birds realize that if they all flap their wings at the same time, they can lift the net and fly to safety, where they seek the help of a friendly mole who chews a hole in the net and sets them free. And so the children get to work, launching a campaign to make sure the voices of the community are heard. An energetic, funny and quirky story that explores the themes of community activism, friendship, and the love of books.
The Poet's Dog by
Publication Date: 2016-09-13
From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by
Publication Date: 2018-05-01
A lightning strike gave her a super power...but even a super genius can't solve the problem of middle school. This smart and funny novel is perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by Sevens.
Payback on Poplar Lane by
Publication Date: 2018-01-30
Twelve-year-old Peter Gronkowski prides himself on being a professional businessman. Tired of the cliched lemonade stands that line his block, he decides to start a better business with the help of an intern. But his intern of choice, the quiet and writerly Rachel Chambers, turns out to be more than he bargained for. Rachel is innovative, resourceful, driven--and when she's had enough of Peter's overbearing management style, she decides to start a competing empire next door. As their rivalry and sabotage tactics become more outrageous--Slander! Espionage! Lemonade threats!--Peter and Rachel ultimately learn the hard way that "nothing gold can stay" and that friendship is more important than money. Alternating perspectives reveal what really motivates each character to win. And Peter's memos and "business tips" as well as excerpts from Rachel's melodramatic novel-in-progress generate fresh hilarity and tension at every page turn. Payback on Poplar Laneis a pitch-perfect comedy with heart, reminiscent of your favorite classic middle-grade series.
The Homework Strike by
Publication Date: 2017-01-03
Gregory K. has too much homework. Middle school is hard work, and Gregory tries to be a good student. He participates in class, he studies for his tests -- he and his friends even help each other with their assignments. But no matter what he does, there's never enough time to finish all his homework. It just isn't fair. So Gregory goes on a total, complete homework strike. No worksheets, no essays, no projects. His friends think he's crazy. His parents are worried about his grades. And his principal just wants him to stop making trouble. Can Gregory rally his fellow students, make his voice heard, and still pass seventh grade? Find out in this book for anyone who thinks school is stressful, gets headaches from homework, or just wants to be heard.
Maxi's Secrets by
Publication Date: 2017-08-01
Timminy knows that moving to a new town just in time to start middle school when you are perfect bully bait is less than ideal. But he gets a great consolation prize in Maxi-a gentle giant of a dog who the family quickly discovers is deaf. Timminy is determined to do all he can to help Maxi-after all, his parents didn't return him because he was a runt. But when the going gets rough for Timminy, who spends a little too much time getting shoved into lockers at school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him-along with their neighbor, Abby, who doesn't let her blindness define her and bristles at Timminy's "poor-me" attitude. It turns out there's more to everyonethan what's on the surface, whether it comes to Abby, Maxi, or even Timminy himself.
Betty Before X by
Publication Date: 2018-01-02
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018* In Detroit, 1945, eleven-year-old Betty's house doesn't quite feel like home. She believes her mother loves her, but she can't shake the feeling that her mother doesn'twant her. Church helps those worries fade, if only for a little while. The singing, the preaching, the speeches from guest activists like Paul Robeson and Thurgood Marshall stir African Americans in her community to stand up for their rights. Betty quickly finds confidence and purpose in volunteering for the Housewives League, an organization that supports black-owned businesses. Soon, the American civil rights icon we now know as Dr. Betty Shabazz is born. Inspired by Betty's real life--but expanded upon and fictionalized through collaboration with novelist Renée Watson--Ilyasah Shabazz illuminates four poignant years in her mother's childhood with this book, painting an inspiring portrait of a girl overcoming the challenges of self-acceptance and belonging that will resonate with young readers today. Backmatter included. This title has Common Core connections.
Harriet the Invincible by
Publication Date: 2015-08-18
Harriet Hamsterbone is not your average princess. For one thing, she's a hamster. For another, she prefers sword-fighting and fractions to sighing and fainting. So when Harriet finds out that she was cursed at birth to fall into a deep sleep at the age of twelve, she doesn't exactly react the way her parents were expecting. After all, no good curse goes to waste, and so until the age of twelve, Harriet realizes she's . . . invincible! Of courses, there is still that whole curse thing, but she'll worry about that later.
Publication Date: 2016-09-13
Newbery Honor-winning author Patricia Reilly Giff writes a tender, timeless story about a girl who stopped speaking long ago, and how she finds her way back to her voice. For fans of Listening for Lucca, Fish in a Tree, The Rules, and Mockingbird. Judith lives with her beloved aunt Cora and her faithful Dog on a beautiful island. Years ago, when her mother left, Judith stopped talking. Now she communicates entirely through gestures and taps, and by drawing cartoons, speaking only when she's alone--or with Dog. This year, Judith faces a big change--leaving her small, special classroom for a regular fifth-grade class. She likes her new teacher, and finds a maybe-friend in a boy named Mason. But Jubilee's wandering feet won't stop until they find her mother. And now she discovers that her mother has moved back to the mainland, nearby. If Jubilee finds her, will her mother's love be what she needs to speak again? Judith's cartoons, sprinkled throughout, add lightness and humor. ILA-CBC Choices Reading Lists, Children's Choices Selected for the Kansas NEA Reading Circle Catalog
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by
Publication Date: 2017-10-03
FromNew York Times best-selling author Karina Yan Glaser comes one of Times' Notable Children's Books of 2017: "In this delightful and heartwarming throwback to the big-family novels of yesteryear, a large biracial family might lose their beloved brownstone home, but win it back with an all-out charm offensive." The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It's practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Massachusetts Children's Book Award Master List 2020
The Crossover by
Publication Date: 2014-03-18
2015 Newbery Medal Winner
2015 Coretta Scott King Honor Award Winner
"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander (He Said, She Said 2013).
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by
Publication Date: 2016-08-09
The New York Times bestseller Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the Forest, Xan, is kind. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon. Xan rescues the children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. As Luna's thirteenth birthday approaches, her magic begins to emerge--with dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Deadly birds with uncertain intentions flock nearby. A volcano, quiet for centuries, rumbles just beneath the earth's surface. And the woman with the Tiger's heart is on the prowl . . . The author of the highly acclaimed, award-winning novel The Witch's Boy has written an epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to be a modern classic.
Lucky Broken Girl by
Publication Date: 2017-04-11
Winner of the 2018 Pura Belpre Award! "A book for anyone mending from childhood wounds."--Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street In this unforgettable multicultural coming-of-age narrative--based on the author's childhood in the 1960s--a young Cuban-Jewish immigrant girl is adjusting to her new life in New York City when her American dream is suddenly derailed. Ruthie's plight will intrigue readers, and her powerful story of strength and resilience, full of color, light, and poignancy, will stay with them for a long time. Ruthie Mizrahi and her family recently emigrated from Castro's Cuba to New York City. Just when she's finally beginning to gain confidence in her mastery of English--and enjoying her reign as her neighborhood's hopscotch queen--a horrific car accident leaves her in a body cast and confined her to her bed for a long recovery. As Ruthie's world shrinks because of her inability to move, her powers of observation and her heart grow larger and she comes to understand how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all are as human beings, and how friends, neighbors, and the power of the arts can sweeten even the worst of times.
Lucky Enough by
Publication Date: 2018-03-01
Early Grade 4
Trey is overjoyed when his lucky charm helps him make the travel team, but will his luck hold out? When Trey's treasured lucky charm'a piece of blue sea glass he found near his grandmother's beach house?"helps" him make it onto the Ravens travel team with his friend Cole, he is overjoyed. This stroke of good fortune reinforces his superstitious behavior, and the rituals become more and more important to him. In spite of some teasing and even some sarcasm from his teammates, Trey persists'he never steps on the foul line, he obsessively taps the corners of home plate when he's at bat, he always chooses the same lucky bat'and the list just keeps getting longer. Why stop? After all, his tactics are working; he's doing quite well on the field and in the batter's box. Then one day he can't find his lucky sea glass. He and Cole search everywhere'but it's no use. Trey's performance begins to slip, and he is convinced that his future with the Ravens is doomed. It is no comfort to him to learn that many pro baseball players also depended on lucky charms or rituals. Things don't start to improve for Trey until his uncle reminds him of his grandmother's favorite saying: "The harder you work, the luckier you get."
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by
Publication Date: 2018-04-03
Pura Belpré Author Honor Book Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL? For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela's restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo's apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn't notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí. Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy's quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia.
New Kid by
Publication Date: 2019-02-05
Perfect for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Gene Luen Yang, New Kid is a timely, honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real, from award-winning author-illustrator Jerry Craft. Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds--and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by
Publication Date: 2017-09-12
A girl's friendship with a lonely black hole leads her to face her own sadness in this original, funny, and touching middle grade novel for fans of Crenshaw and Flora & Ulysses. When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan's Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least--but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn't want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she's taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around. It's not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that's not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.
Scar Island by
Publication Date: 2017-01-03
Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys--an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp, and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves. Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he's willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming. Just as he's getting used to his new situation, however, a freak accident leaves the troubled boys of Slabhenge without any adult supervision. Suddenly the kids are free, with an entire island to themselves. But freedom brings unexpected danger. And if Jonathan can't come to terms with the sins of his past and lead his new friends to safety... then every boy on the island is doomed. Dan Gemeinhart's most gripping novel yet, this is a tale of misfits and outcasts at odds and in peril, and a redemption story that shines a light on dark truths to reveal that the strongest prisons of all are the ones we build for ourselves.
Ban This Book by
Publication Date: 2017-08-29
In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, a fourth grader fights back whenFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweilerby E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don't mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books that will make you laugh and pump your fists as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take a stand against censorship. Ban This Book is a stirring defense against censorship that's perfect for middle grade readers. Let kids know that they can make a difference in their schools, communities, and lives! "Readers, librarians, and all those books that have drawn a challenge have a brand new hero.... Stand up and cheer, book lovers. This one's for you." --Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor-winningThe Underneath "Ban This Book is absolutely brilliant and belongs on the shelves of every library in the multiverse."--Lauren Myracle, author of the bestselling Internet Girls series, the most challenged books of 2009 and 2011 "Quick paced and with clear, easy-to-read prose, this is a book poised for wide readership and classroom use."--Booklist "A stout defense of the right to read." --Kirkus Reviews "Gratz delivers a book lover's book that speaks volumes about kids' power to effect change at a grassroots level."--Publishers Weekly
House Arrest by
Publication Date: 2015-10-06
Timothy is on probation. It's a strange word--something that happens to other kids, to delinquents, not to kids like him. And yet, he is under house arrest for the next year. He must check in weekly with a probation officer and a therapist, and keep a journal for an entire year. And mostly, he has to stay out of trouble. But when he must take drastic measures to help his struggling family, staying out of trouble proves more difficult than Timothy ever thought it would be. By turnstouching and funny, and always original,House Arrest is a middlegrade novel in verse about one boy's path to redemption as he navigates life with a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.