Annal: 2004 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Results of the National Book Award in the year 2004.

Book:Godless

Godless

Pete Hautman

“I refuse to speak further of the Ten-legged One…but the more I think about it, the more I like it. Why mess around with Catholicism when you can have your own customized religion? All you need is a disciple or two…and a god.”

Fed up with his parents’ boring old religion, agnostic-going-on-atheist Jason Bock invents a new god—the town’s water tower. He recruits an unlikely group of worshippers: his snail-farming best friend, Shin, cute-as-a-button (whatever that means) Magda Price, and the violent and unpredictable Henry Stagg. As their religion grows, it takes on a life of its own. While Jason struggles to keep the faith pure, Shin obsesses over writing their bible, and the explosive Henry schemes to make the new faith even more exciting—and dangerous.

When the Chutengodians hold their first ceremony high atop the dome of the water tower, things quickly go from merely dangerous to terrifying and deadly. Jason soon realizes that inventing a religion is a lot easier than controlling it, but control it he must, before his creation destroys both his friends and himself.

Book:Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance

Harlem Stomp! A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance

Laban Carrick Hill

The Harlem Renaissance was one of the most exciting and important periods in American cultural history. Determined to make a new start for themselves at the dawn of the twentieth century, many African Americans joined the “Great Migration” and headed to the North. For those who landed in the hotbed of Harlem, New York, it was a time of intellectual, artistic, literary, and political blossoming. Influential African-American artists and activists took center stage as their burgeoning creativity captured the attention of the world. Harlem Stomp! is a breathtaking whirlwind tour through this fascinating era.

Book:Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Deb Caletti

Ruby McQueen is a sixteen-year-old high school student with the name, she thinks, of a rodeo cowgirl porn star, or, maybe worse, a Texas beauty queen runner-up. Her mother, Ann, one of the town librarians, was reading too much Southern literature before Ruby was born, and Chip, Ruby’s father, who was already dreaming of Nashville stardom, thought it would make a great stage name someday. Soon after Chip Jr. was born, Chip left to try his luck in the music business and ended up at the Gold Nugget Amusement Park one state over. He returns occasionally for visits that turn Ann’s heart upside down, and Ruby’s stomach inside out.

It is summer in the northwest town of Nine Mile Falls, a place where brown bears sometimes show up in the shopping mall and people in hang gliders soar down the mountains and sometimes get stuck dangling from the trees. Ruby, ordinarily dubbed The Quiet Girl, finds herself hanging out with gorgeous, rich, thrill-seeking Travis Becker. With Travis, Ruby can be someone she’s…[more]

Book:The Legend of Buddy Bush

The Legend of Buddy Bush

Shelia P. Moses

The day Uncle Goodwin “Buddy” Bush came from Harlem all the way back home to Rehobeth Road in Rich Square, North Carolina, is the day Pattie Mae Sheals’ life changes forever.

Pattie Mae adores and admires Uncle Buddy—he’s tall and handsome and he doesn’t believe in the country stuff most people believe in, like ghosts and stepping off the sidewalk to let white folks pass. He unsettles the dust and brings fresh ideas to Rehobeth Road. But when Buddy’s deliberate inattention to the protocol of 1947 North Carolina lands him in jail for a crime against a white woman that he didn’t commit, Pattie Mae and her family are suddenly set to journeying on the long, hard road that leads from loss and rage to forgiveness and pride.

Shelia P. Moses tells a moving and lyrical story in The Legend of Buddy Bush that introduces the remarkable and memorable character of Pattie Mae Sheals—a girl whose sense of humor, ability to get into “grown folks business,” and determination to know the truth will endear her to readers everywhere.

Book:Luna

Luna

Julie Anne Peters

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