Annal: 2004 Young Reader’s Choice Award Junior Division

Results of the Young Reader’s Choice Award in the year 2004.

Book:Skeleton Man

Skeleton Man

Joseph Bruchac

Trust your dreams. Both my parents said that. That’s our old way, our Mohawk way. The way of our ancestors. Trust the little voice that speaks to you. That is your speaking. But when those feelings, those dreams, those voices are so confusing, what do you do then? “Help,” I whisper. “Help.” I’m not sure who I’m talking to when I say that, but I hope they’re listening.

Ever since Molly woke up one morning and discovered that her parents vanished, she has had to depend on herself to survive—and find the reason for their disappearance.

Social Services has turned her over to the care of a great-uncle, a mysterious man Molly has never met before. Then Molly starts having dreams about the Skeleton Man from a spooky old Mohawk tale her father used to tell her…dreams that are trying to tell her something…dreams that might save her, if only she can understand them.

Book:Dial-A-Ghost

Dial-A-Ghost

Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes

When little Oliver Smith inherits the gloomy mansion Helton Hall, his scheming cousins, the Snodde-Brittles, are determined to rid themselves of the orphan heir. They have a perfect plan. They will hire some terrifying ghosts from the Dial-a-Ghost Agency to scare the boy to death. But, as in any Eva Ibbotson novel, the fantastic creatures do not necessarily behave as expected-they are a little too human for that. Soon the ghosts, led by a mysterious girl spirit named Adopta, have joined with Oliver against his cousins. But they may have underestimated the depths of the Snodde-Brittles’ evil….

The laughs and frights are thick in this spooky story, which is sure to join Eva Ibbotson’s other books as classics of the genre.

Book:Everything on a Waffle

Everything on a Waffle

Polly Horvath

By the author of The Trolls, a National Book Award Finalist.

My name is Primrose Squarp. I am eleven years old. I have hair the color of carrots in apricot glaze (recipe to follow), skin fair and clear where it isn’t freckled, and eyes like summer storms.

Readers will know right from the start that the narrator of Everything on a Waffle is going to tell her story straight and pull no punches. Primrose’s parents have been lost at sea, but she believes without an iota of doubt that they are still alive, somewhere. She moves in with her Uncle Jack, but feels generally friendless. Her only real refuge is a local restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where the owner, Miss Bowzer, serves everything on waffles—except advice and good sense, which come free of charge and are always reliable. …[more]

Book:Love That Dog

Love That Dog: A Novel

Sharon Creech

I guess it does
look like a poem
when you see it
typed up
like that.

Jack hates poetry. Only girls write it and every time he tries to, his brain feels empty. But his teacher, Ms. Stretchberry, won’t stop giving her class poetry assignments—and Jack can’t avoid them. But then something amazing happens. The more he writes, the more he learns he does have something to say. …[more]

Book:Parsifal's Page

Parsifal's Page: Book 4 of The Squire's Tales

Gerald Morris

Piers is desperate to become a page to escape the dirty, tedious labor of his father's blacksmith shop. So when a knight arrives announcing that he's on “the quest,” Piers begs to go along. Off on a series of adventures he never dreamed possible, Piers and the knight quickly run into difficulties. The knight is slain by Parsifal who is on a quest of his own.

Parsifal is unlike anyone Piers has ever met. He doesn”t behave “knightly” at all. Slowly, Piers realizes that being a knight has nothing to do with shining armor and winning jousts. And, as their journey continues, they find that to achieve their quest they must learn more than knighthood: they must learn about themselves.

The tale of Parsifal has been told more than that of any other knight, but no one has ever told his story quite like Gerald Morris does in his fourth Arthurian novel, another tour de force of humor, action, magic, and, as always, true love.

Book:Rowan of Rin

Rowan of Rin: Book 1 of Rowan of Rin Series

Emily Rodda

Seven hearts
the journey make.
Seven ways
the hearts will break.

The wise woman’s warning rings in Rowan’s head as he and six companions set out to climb the forbidden Mountain that towers over their village, Rin. The stream Rin depends on has stopped flowing, and these seven are seeking the source of the problem. But no one who has tried to climb the Mountain has ever returned. Legend has it that there is a dragon at the top; every morning and evening the people hear its roar. …[more]

Book:The School Story

The School Story

Andrew Clements, Brian Selznick

Twelve-year-old Natalie Nelson has written a powerful school story. It’s a short novel called “The Cheater,” and her best friend Zoe is certain it should be published. All Natalie has to do is give the manuscript to her mom, an editor at a big publishing house. However Natalie doesn’t want any favors from her mom. Still, Zoe won’t drop the idea.

Spurred into action, Natalie invents a pen name for herself and Zoe becomes a self-styled literary agent. But if the girls are to succeed, they’ll need support from their wary English teacher, legal advice from Zoe’s tough-talking father, and some clever maneuvering to outwit the overbearing editor in chief of Shipley Junior Books.

Andrew Clements, the best-selling author of Frindle, The Landry News, and The Janitor’s Boy, delights his audience with this story of two irrepressible girls who use their talent, ingenuity, and a little cunning to try to make a young writer’s dream come true.

Book:Walk Across the Sea

Walk Across the Sea

Susan Fletcher

The first time Eliza sees Wah Chung, he is squatting beside some rocks on the pathway to her island. Eliza’s island is the one on which the lighthouse—operated and maintained by her father—stands, sending its beacon of safety to ships at sea. The pathway to the island is a treacherous one, engulfed by water when the tide is high, passable only when the tide is low and reveals the secret life of the sea on the rocks and in the pools that remain.

Although Eliza is careful to avoid Wah Chung as he paints among the rocks (after all, he is a Chinaman), when a “sneaker wave” approaches the passage, it is Wah Chung who warns her and then rescues Eliza’s goat, Parthenia, before both are swept away.

It is a simple act of kindness, but one that causes Eliza to doubt many things. Are the Celestials, as the Chinese immigrants…[more]

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