Annal: 2003 Newbery Medal

Results of the Newbery Medal in the year 2003.

Book:Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Avi

“Asta’s son” is all he’s ever been called. The lack of name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in fourteenth-century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less—no home, family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he has been declared a “wolf’s head.” That means he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village. All the boy takes with him is a newly revealed name—Crispin—and his mother’s cross of lead. His journey through the English countryside is amazing and terrifying. Especially difficult is his encounter with the juggler named Bear. A huge, and possibly even mad, man, Bear forces the boy to become his servant. Bear, however, is a strange master, for he encourages Crispin to think for himself. Though Bear promises to protect Crispin, the boy is being relentlessly pursued. Why are his enemies so determined to kill him? Crispin…[more]

Book:A Corner of the Universe

A Corner of the Universe

Ann M. Martin

The summer she turns 12, Hattie Owen is steeped in the routines of her small town life until the startling arrival of an uncle no one has ever spoken about. Now that Uncle Adam’s “school” - an institution for the mentally disabled - is closing, Hattie’s family must deal with a childlike young man whose existence they’ve denied for years. Hattie suddenly experiences a summer in which she learns living life fully means facing both the good times and the bad.

Book:Hoot (Carl Hiaasen)

Hoot

Carl Hiaasen

Unfortunately, Roy’s first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn’t been sinking his thumbs into Roy’s temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and-here’s the odd part-wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy’s trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails.

Roy has most definitely arrived in Carl Hiaasen’s Florida.

Book:The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I?…I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

Book:Pictures of Hollis Woods

Pictures of Hollis Woods

Patricia Reilly Giff

Hollis Woods has been in so many foster homes she can hardly remember them all. She even runs away from the Regans, the one family who offers her a home.

When Hollis is sent to Josie, an elderly artist who is quirky and affectionate, she wants to stay. But Josie is growing more forgetful every day. If Social Services finds out, they’ll take Hollis away and move Josie into a home. Well, Hollis Woods won’t let anyone separate them. She’s escaped the system before; this time, she plans to take Josie with her.

Yet behind all her plans, Hollis longs for her life with the Regans, fixing each moment of her time with them in pictures she’ll never forget.

Book:Surviving the Applewhites

Surviving the Applewhites

Stephanie S. Tolan

Jake Semple is a scary kid. Word has it that he burned down his old school and then was kicked out of every other school in his home state. Only weeks into September, the middle school in Traybridge, North Carolina, has thrown him out, too.

Now there’s only one place left that will take him—a home school run by the most outrageous, forgetful, chaotic, quarrelsome family you’ll ever meet. Each and every Applewhite is an artist through and through—except E.D., the smart, scruffy girl with a deep longing for order and predictability. E.D. and Jake, so nearly the same age, are quickly paired in the family’s first experiment in “cooperative education.”

The two clash immediately, of course. The only thing they have in common is the determination to survive the family’s eccentricities. …[more]

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