Annal: 2006 Young Reader’s Choice Award Junior Division

Results of the Young Reader’s Choice Award in the year 2006.

Book:Tale of Despereaux

Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread

Kate DiCamillo

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other’s lives. And what happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

From the master storyteller who brought us Because of Winn-Dixie comes another classic, a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, featuring twenty-four stunning black-and-white illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering, in an elegant design that pays tribute to the best in classic children’s books and bookmaking traditions.

Book:Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

Sharon Creech

Bailey, who is usually so nice, Bailey, my neighbor, my friend, my buddy, my pal for my whole life, knowing me better than anybody, that Bailey, that Bailey I am so mad at right now, that Bailey, I hate him today.

Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don’t always get along, that’s true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her warm words and family recipes. She understands from experience that life’s twists and turns can’t rattle the unique bond between two lifelong pals.

Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech cooks up a delightfully tender novel, filled with homemade dishes and secret recipes. It’s easy to remember what’s important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

Book:Gregor the Overlander

Gregor the Overlander: Book 1 of the Underland Chronicles

Suzanne Collins

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor’s arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland’s uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it—until he realizes it’s the only way to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

Book:Kensuke's Kingdom

Kensuke's Kingdom

Michael Morpurgo

When Michael’s parents lose their jobs, they buy a boat and decide to sail around the world with their son and their beloved dog. It’s an ideal trip—until Michael is swept overboard. He’s washed up on an island, where he struggles to survive. Then he discovers that he’s not alone. His fellow-castaway, Kensuke, keeps his distance at first. But when Michael’s life is threatened, he slowly lets the boy into his world. The two teach and learn from each other until, inevitably, they must part ways.

Book:The Mayor of Central Park

The Mayor of Central Park

Avi, Brian Floca

To look at Oscar Westerwit, you might think, Hey, just another New York City squirrel. Only thing is, you’d be wrong….

For Oscar, life is good in New York City in the year 1900. He’s the Mayor of Central Park—the greatest place on earth for the squirrels, chipmunks, mice, and other animals who live there. He’s the manager of his baseball team, the Central Park Green Sox, and shortstop, too. What could be bad?

Plenty, that’s what! Big Daddy Duds, jewel thief, all-round thug, and leader of rats, is about to invade the park with five hundred of his closest friends. And when he does, the other animals who live there will be turned out of their homes. Everyone looks to the Mayor to save them, but he may not even be able to save himself from the invaders.

The Mayor of Central Park is a rich and fragrant evocation of old New York, with a community of animals who are as lively as characters in a Damon Runyon story, brought to life in a blend of humor and heartbreak that is vintage Avi.

Book:Olive's Ocean

Olive's Ocean

Kevin Henkes

“Olive Barstow was dead. She’d been hit by a car on Monroe Street while riding her bicycle weeks ago. That was about all Martha knew.”

Martha Boyle and Olive Barstow could have been friends. But they weren’t—and now all that is left are eerie connections between two girls who were in the same grade at school and who both kept the same secret without knowing it.

Now Martha can’t stop thinking about Olive. A family summer on Cape Cod should help banish those thoughts; instead, they seep in everywhere.

And this year Martha’s routine at her beloved grandmother’s beachside house is complicated by the Manning boys. Jimmy, Tate, Todd, Luke, and Leo. But especially Jimmy. What if, what if, what if, what if? The world can change in a minute.

Book:Rodzina

Rodzina

Karen Cushman

Rodzina Clara Jadwiga Anastazya Brodski is the new face in Karen Cushman”s gallery of unforgettable heroines. One of a group of orphans, 12-year-old Rodzina boards a train on a cold day in March 1881. She”s reluctant to leave Chicago, the only home she can remember, and she knows there”s no substitute for the family she has lost. She expects to be adopted and turned into a slave—or worse, not to be adopted at all.

As the train rattles westward, Rodzina unwittingly begins to develop attachments to her fellow travelers, even the frosty orphan guardian, and to accept the idea that there might be good homes for orphans—maybe even for a big, combative Polish girl. But no placement seems right for the formidable Rodzina, and she cleverly finds a way out of one bad situation after another, until at last she finds the family that is right for her.

Once again, Karen Cushman brings us a compelling story that is thoroughly researched, full of memorable characters, and told with wry humor and keen observation by an absolutely captivating narrator.

Book:Sahara Special

Sahara Special

Esmé Raji Codell

Sahara Jones is going into fifth grade-again. Although she won’t be “Sahara Special” anymore (special needs, that is), she doesn’t expect this year to be any better than last year.

Fifth grade is going to be different, though, because Sahara’s class is getting a new teacher. With her eggplant-colored lipstick and strange subjects such as “Puzzling” and “Time Travel,” Miss Pointy is like no other teacher Sahara has ever known. With her help, Sahara just might find a way to redefine special for herself.

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