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South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominees 2012-2013

"The purposes of the South Carolina book awards are to encourage our students to read good quality contemporary literature and to honor the authors of the books annually chosen the favorites by student vote. The book award medals will be awarded to the winning authors the following year at the South Carolina Association of School Librarians annual conference."
- from the South Carolina Association of School Librarians

Check out the 2012 - 2013 nominees and let us know your favorites!


The Bat Scientists by Mary Kay Carson
Amazon Says: Dr. Merlin Tuttle and his colleagues at Bat Conservation International aren't scared of bats. These bat crusaders are fascinated by them, with good reason. Bats fly the nigh more...
Amazon Says: Dr. Merlin Tuttle and his colleagues at Bat Conservation International aren't scared of bats. These bat crusaders are fascinated by them, with good reason. Bats fly the night skies in nearly every part of the world, but they are the least studied of all mammals. As the major predator of night-flying insects, bats eat many pests. Unfortunately bats are facing many problems, including a terrifying new disease. White-nose Syndrome is infecting and killing millions of hibernating bats in North America. But Dr. Tuttle, with the help of his fellow bat scientists are in the trenches—and caves—on the front line of the fight to save their beloved bats. less...
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Boys without Names by Kashmira Sheth
Amazon Says: Trapped.For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. They flee to the big city of Mumbai in h more...
Amazon Says: Trapped.For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. They flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.?But there is no factory, just a stuffy sweatshop where he and five other boys are forced to work for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. Locked away in a rundown building, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.But late one night, when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys' key to survival. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape. less...
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Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon
Amazon Says: Set in a suburb of Las Vegas, Ella and Zachary, called Z, have been friends forever, but Z has always been “the weird kid” in their class. He collects stubby pencils, play more...
Amazon Says: Set in a suburb of Las Vegas, Ella and Zachary, called Z, have been friends forever, but Z has always been “the weird kid” in their class. He collects stubby pencils, plays chess, and maintains an elaborate –and public– fantasy life, starring himself as a brave knight. Z’s games were okay back in 3rd or 4th grade, but by now their other friends have ditched them both. Z doesn’t care, but Ella longs to be part of a group of friends, even though most of the class makes fun of her. Ella’s mother is black and her father (now deceased) was white, and she’s the only black girl in their sixth grade class. When a new boy, Bailey, moves to town, he befriends Ella, because they are now the only two black kids in class. But Bailey is popular – popular enough to make Ella cool and give her a wider circle of friends – but only if she stops hanging out with Z. Ella’s faced with a difficult decision – remain loyal to the boy who has been her best and only friend for years, or pass up the opportunity to be one of the popular kids that she has always longed to be. less...
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Crunch by Leslie Connor
Amazon Says: Dewey Marriss is stuck in the middle of a crunch.He never guessed that the gas pumps would run dry the same week he promised to manage the family's bicycle-repair business. Su more...
Amazon Says: Dewey Marriss is stuck in the middle of a crunch.He never guessed that the gas pumps would run dry the same week he promised to manage the family's bicycle-repair business. Suddenly everyone needs a bike. And nobody wants to wait.Meanwhile, the crunch has stranded Dewey's parents far up north with an empty fuel tank and no way home. It's up to Dewey and his older sister, Lil, to look after their younger siblings and run the bike shop all on their own. Each day Dewey and his siblings feel their parents' absence more and more. The Marriss Bike Barn is busier than ever. And just when he is starting to feel crunched himself, Dewey discovers that bike parts are missing from the shop. He's sure he knows who's responsible—or does he? Will exposing the thief only make more trouble for Dewey and his siblings?Award-winning author Leslie Connor has created another timely family story infused with humor and hope. less...
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Dark Life: Book 1 by Kat Falls
Amazon Says: Dive deep into the vivid underwater world of Dark Life! The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the risin more...
Amazon Says: Dive deep into the vivid underwater world of Dark Life! The oceans rose, swallowing the lowlands. Earthquakes shattered the continents, toppling entire regions into the rising water. Now, humans live packed into stack cities. The only ones with any space of their own are those who live on the ocean floor: the Dark Life. Ty has spent his whole life living deep undersea. When outlaws attack his homestead, he finds himself in a fight to save the only home he has ever known. Joined by Gemma, a girl from Topside, Ty ventures into the frontier's rough underworld and discovers some dark secrets to Dark Life. Secrets that threaten to destroy everything. less...
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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
Amazon Says: Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library—a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the libra more...
Amazon Says: Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library—a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That’s where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White’s stepmother’s sinister mirror that talks in riddles. When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime—or captured by the thief. Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary—and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue. Watch a Video less...
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Hero by Mike Lupica
Amazon Says: From the #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica comes the story of one unsuspecting boy poised to follow in his superhero father’s footsteps Fourteen-year- more...
Amazon Says: From the #1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica comes the story of one unsuspecting boy poised to follow in his superhero father’s footsteps Fourteen-year-old Billy Harriman can feel the changes. The sharpening of his senses. The incredible strength. The speed, as though he can textmessage himself across miles. The confidence and the strange need to patrol Central Park at night. His dad had been a hero, a savior to America and a confidante of the president. Then he died, and the changes began in Billy. What Billy never knew was that his father was no ordinary man-he was a superhero, battling the world's evil. This is a battle that has been waged for generations and that knows no boundaries. And now it's Billy's turn to take on the fight. It's Billy's turn to become a hero. “[N]othing Mike Lupica has written will thrill you like this.” –William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride   “Sportswriter and novelist Lupica offers a change of pace from his previous sports stories for younger readers, deftly reworking the traditional superhero origin story into a moving tale of adolescent growth.” –Publisher’s Weekly   “[T]he stage is set for a sequel to what looks like a surefire hit.” –School Library Journal   less...
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Is It Night or Day? by Fern Schumer Chapman
Amazon Says: It’s 1938, and twelve-year-old Edith is about to move from the tiny German village she’s lived in all her life to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illin more...
Amazon Says: It’s 1938, and twelve-year-old Edith is about to move from the tiny German village she’s lived in all her life to a place that seems as foreign as the moon: Chicago, Illinois. And she will be doing it alone. This dramatic and chilling novel about one girl’s escape from Hitler’s Germany was inspired by the experiences of the author’s mother, one of twelve hundred children rescued by Americans as part of the One Thousand Children project. Is It Night or Day? is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year. less...
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Amazon Says: The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. more...
Amazon Says: The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way. less...
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Mamba Point by Kurtis Scaletta
Amazon Says: When his dad gets a job at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, twelve-year-old Linus Tuttle knows it's his chance for a fresh start. Instead of being his typical anxious self, from n more...
Amazon Says: When his dad gets a job at the U.S. embassy in Liberia, twelve-year-old Linus Tuttle knows it's his chance for a fresh start. Instead of being his typical anxious self, from now on he'll be cooler and bolder: the new Linus.   But as soon as his family gets off the plane, they see a black mamba--one of the deadliest snakes in Africa. Linus's parents insist mambas are rare, but the neighborhood is called Mamba Point, and Linus can barely go outside without tripping over one--he's sure the venomous serpents are drawn to him. Then he hears about kasengs, and the belief that some people have a deep, mysterious connection to certain animals.   Unless Linus wants to hide in his apartment forever (drawing or playing games with the strange kid downstairs while his older brother meets girls and hangs out at the pool), he has to get over his fear of his kaseng animal. Soon he's not only keeping a black mamba in his laundry hamper; he's also feeling braver than ever before. Is it his resolution to become the new Linus, or does his sudden confidence have something to do with his scaly new friend?   From Kurtis Scaletta, author of Mudville, comes a humorous and compelling story of a boy learning about himself through unexpected friends, a fascinating place, and an extraordinary animal. less...
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Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Amazon Says: In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always more...
Amazon Says: In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful. Kathryn Erskine has written a must-read gem, one of the most moving novels of the year. Praise for MOCKINGBIRD * "Erskine works in powerful imagery throughout." --Publishers Weekly, starred review * "[A] fine addition to the recent group of books with autistic narrators." --Booklist, starred review "A strong and complex character study." --Horn Book "This heartbreaking story is delivered in the straightforward, often funny voice of a fifth-grade girl with Asperger's Syndrome." --Kirkus, starred review "This is...a valuable book." --School Library Journal "Fascinating characters." --Los Angeles Times less...
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Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Amazon Says: Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kid more...
Amazon Says: Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane--Katrina--fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm. Ninth Ward is a deeply emotional story about transformation and a celebration of resilience, friendship, and family--as only love can define it. less...
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Amazon Says: Through poems and poetic prose pieces, acclaimed children's author Arnold Adoff celebrates that uniquely American form of music called the blues. In his signature “shaped s more...
Amazon Says: Through poems and poetic prose pieces, acclaimed children's author Arnold Adoff celebrates that uniquely American form of music called the blues. In his signature “shaped speech” style, he creates a narrative of moments and joyous music, from the drums of the ancestors, the red dirt of the plantations, the current of the mighty Mississippi, and the shackles, blood, and tears of slavery. Each chop of the ax is a beat, each lash of the whip fashions another line on the musical staff. But each sound also creates the chords and harmonies that preserve the ancestors and their stories, and sustain life, faith, and hope into our own times. less...
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Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai
Amazon Says: Fadi never imagined he'd start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles away from home in Kabul.  But, here he was, half a world apart from his missing six ye more...
Amazon Says: Fadi never imagined he'd start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles away from home in Kabul.  But, here he was, half a world apart from his missing six year old sister who'd been lost because of him, as they'd fled Afghanistan. Adjusting to life in the United States isn't easy for Fadi's family and as the events of September 11th unfold, the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim -- impossible. Desperate, Fadi tries every hare-brained scheme he can think of to find her. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister.  But can one photo really bring Mariam home? Based in part on Ms. Senzai's husband's experience fleeing Soviet controlled Afghanistan in 1979, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance. less...
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Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan
Amazon Says: It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her fa more...
Amazon Says: It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father--he was a war hero--and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.     People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue--sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists--Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light. less...
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Amazon Says: In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his cla more...
Amazon Says: In this funny, uncannily wise portrait of the dynamics of a sixth-grade class and of the greatness that sometimes comes in unlikely packages, Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. If that weren’t strange enough, the puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz, guesses who stole the classroom Shakespeare bust, and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel.  F&P Level: T F&P Genre: RF less...
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Amazon Says: Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be your average, happy, vanilla eighth grader. But with Shakespearean scholar parents who dress in Elizabethan regalia and generally go about in p more...
Amazon Says: Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be your average, happy, vanilla eighth grader. But with Shakespearean scholar parents who dress in Elizabethan regalia and generally go about in public as if it were the sixteenth century, that’s not terribly easy. It gets worse when they decide that Hamlet’s genius seven year-old sister will attend middle school with her— and even worse when the Shakespeare project is announced and her sister is named the new math tutor. By the time an in-class recitation reveals that our heroine is an extraordinary Shakespearean actress, Hamlet can no longer hide from the fact that she—like her family—is anything but average. In a novel every bit as funny as her debut, Erin Dionne has created another eighth grader whose situation is utterly unique—but whose foibles and farces will resound with every girl currently suffering through middle school. less...
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Warriors in the Crossfire by Nancy Bo Flood
Amazon Says: On the island of Saipan, in the South Pacific, the second world war is a distant idea. The Japanese have governed the island for twenty-five years and they mix regularly with more...
Amazon Says: On the island of Saipan, in the South Pacific, the second world war is a distant idea. The Japanese have governed the island for twenty-five years and they mix regularly with the native islanders. Though no one questions who holds power, the two peoples coexist peacefully. Joseph has known Japanese occupation for his entire life. One of the only islanders accepted by the Japanese and allowed into their school, Joseph nevertheless is the son of the Chamorro chief and proud of his heritage. He seeks to fight against the oppressors, as his warrior ancestors had, and openly defies restrictions. A greater war approaches the island, however, and the Japanese impress the indigenous men into labor camps. Before he leaves, Joseph's father takes him to the caves that their family has used to defend itself for thousands of years. On his solo journey home, Joseph's responsibility to his family becomes uncomfortably palpable. He tries to hide from his obligation, but when his father dies through the labor camps, Joseph's fantasy becomes impossible. As Joseph buries his father at sea and risks his own life, he begins to learn the true practices of a warrior. Equally difficult is taking his family to the caves, where want of food and water threatens starvation. American and Japanese troops approach the island, beginning to fight what will become one of the largest battles of the war. The stress forces Joseph to take responsibility not only for his family, but for his people as well. In this debut historical novel, Nancy Bo Flood creates a company of clear-voiced characters who move convincingly through a story of war and mounting pressure. Her experience as a resident of and teacher in Saipan inform an intimacy that quickly presents the texture of the island, its history, and its culture. Readers will feel Joseph's strain as they read about this little-known chapter of American history. less...
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Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Amazon Says: Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war more...
Amazon Says: Samuel, 13, spends his days in the forest, hunting for food for his family. He has grown up on the frontier of a British colony, America. Far from any town, or news of the war against the King that American patriots have begun near Boston. But the war comes to them. British soldiers and Iroquois attack. Samuel’s parents are taken away, prisoners. Samuel follows, hiding, moving silently, determined to find a way to rescue them. Each day he confronts the enemy, and the tragedy and horror of this war. But he also discovers allies, men and women working secretly for the patriot cause. And he learns that he must go deep into enemy territory to find his parents: all the way to the British headquarters, New York City. From the Hardcover edition. less...
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