The National Book Award for Young People's Literature are right up there with the Caldecott, the Newbery and the many regional awards handed out each year for excellence in children's and young adult literature. This year the winners of the National Book Awards will be announced on Nov. 20 at Cipriani Wall Street. Five finalists in four categories were named on Oct. 16 and of those categories, only one is for books written for someone other than adults.
Here, in alphabetical order by the author's last name, are the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.
"The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp" by Kathi Appelt (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, July 2013) This is Appelt's second time making the finalist list for this award. Her 2010 book, "The Underneath," was also named to this list and was a Newbery Honor Book. In this tale of two raccoon brothers, the author teams up a group of animals who belong to the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts and twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn must team up to save the swamp from becoming an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park.
"The Thing About Luck" by Cynthia Kadohata and Julia Kuo (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, June 2013) Illustrator Kuo teams up with award-winning author Kadohata in this book about a Japanese girl who is sure her family will have nothing but bad luck. With her parents having to make a trip to Japan at harvest time, Summer and her brother must stay with her old-fashioned grandparents. Just as in her book "Kira-Kira," Kadohata writes about the Japanese life she is so familiar with.
"Far Far Away" by Tom McNeal (Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 2013) In the style of fairy tales but with a modern twist, this book for young readers includes the ghost of Jacob Grimm of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Jeremy is watched over by Jacob Grimm in a story of a land called Never Better, a place where not all fairy tales have happy endings.
"Picture Me Gone" by Meg Rosoff (Putnam Juvenile, Oct. 2013) Rosoff has won numerous children's book awards around the world. In this story of a girl with a special ability, the reader will see the relationship between a daughter and her father as they search for his missing friend. Mila and her dad travel from London to the U.S. to help find Matthew when he suddenly goes missing. Although Mila can often read people in a way no other person can, even she is shocked when she learns something about the person she thought she knew the best.
"Boxers and Saints" by Gene Luen Yang ( First Second, Sept. 2013) Yang has been nominated for a National Book Award for "American Born Chinese" and also won the Michael L. Printz Award for the same title. This two-book graphic novel is set during the Boxer Rebellion of China. One book is told from the viewpoint of a Chinese peasant boy whose village is being destroyed by those claiming to be missionaries. The other book is told from the view of young girl who sees the missionaries as rescuers when her family had no where else to go.
To learn about other books like these National Book Award finalists and read reviews of children's literature, subscribe to the Children's Fiction Examiner.