Annal: 1999 Newbery Medal

Results of the Newbery Medal in the year 1999.

Book:Holes (Louis Sachar)

Holes

Louis Sachar

A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, by the author of There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom.

Stanley Yelnats’s family has a history of bad luck, so he isn’t too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys’ juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake—it has been dry for over a hundred years—and it’s hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin’ Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather by a one-legged Gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters—and their forebears—for generations.

With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date.

Book:A Long Way from Chicago

A Long Way from Chicago: A Novel in Stories

Richard Peck

What happens when Joey and his sister, Mary Alice—two city slickers from Chicago—make their annual summer visits to Grandma Dowdel’s seemingly sleepy Illinois town?

August 1929: They see their first corpse, and he isn’t resting easy.

August 1930: The Cowgill boys terrorize the town, and Grandma fights back.

August 1931: Joey and Mary Alice help Grandma trespass, poach, catch the sheriff in his underwear, and feed the hungry—all in one day.

And there’s more, as Joey and Mary Alice make seven summer trips to Grandma’s—each one funnier than the year before—in self-contained chapters that readers can enjoy as short stories or take together for a rollicking good novel. In the tradition of American humorists from Mark Twain to Flannery O’Connor, popular author Richard Peck has created a memorable world filled with characters who, like Grandma herself, are larger than life and twice as entertaining.

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