Annal: 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Fiction

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2009.

Book:Marching for Freedom

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary

Elizabeth Partridge

An inspiring look at the fight for the vote, by an award-winning author

Only 44 years ago in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading a fight to win blacks the right to vote. Ground zero for the movement became Selma, Alabama.

Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge leads you straight into the chaotic, passionate, and deadly three months of protests that culminated in the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Focusing on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence in order to march alongside King, this is an inspiring look at their fight for the vote. Stunningly emotional black-and-white photos accompany the text.

Book:Charles and Emma

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith

Deborah Heiligman

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

Deborah Heiligman’s new biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers.  

Book:The Lost Conspiracy

The Lost Conspiracy

Frances Hardinge

On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in a deadly web of deceits.

Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess—one of the island’s precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.

When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her world—€”and of herself—€”in a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.

Book:The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy

The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy

James Cross Giblin

When Cold War tension was at its height, Joseph (“call me Joe”) McCarthy conducted an anti-Communist crusade endorsed by millions of Americans, despite his unfair and unconstitutional methods. Award-winning writer James Cross Giblin tells the story of a man whose priorities centered on power and media attention and who stopped at nothing to obtain both. The strengths and weaknesses of the man and the system that permitted his rise are explored in this authoritative, lucid biography, which sets McCarthy’s life against a teeming backdrop of world affairs and struggles between military and political rivals at home. Chapter notes, bibliography, index.

Book:Tales from Outer Suburbia

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Shaun Tan

Breathtakingly illustrated and hauntingly written, Tales from Outer Suburbia is by turns hilarious and poignant, perceptive and goofy. Through a series of captivating and sophisticated illustrated stories, Tan explores the precious strangeness of our existence. He gives us a portrait of modern suburban existence filtered through a wickedly Monty Pythonesque lens. Whether it’s discovering that the world really does stop at the end of the city’s map book, or a family’s lesson in tolerance through an alien cultural exchange student, Tan’s deft, sweet social satire brings us face-to-face with the humor and absurdity of modern life.

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