Annal: 2009 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Results of the National Book Award in the year 2009.

Book:Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Phillip Hoose

“When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, ‘This is not right.’”—Claudette Colvin

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.

Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.

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:Jumped (Rita Williams-Garcia)

Jumped

Rita Williams-Garcia

The wrong angle

Trina: “Hey,” I say, though I don’t really know them. The boyed-up basketball girl barely moves. The others, her girls, step aside. It’s okay if they don’t speak. I know how it is. They can’t all be Trina.

Dominique: Some stupid little flit cuts right in between us and is like, “Hey.” Like she don’t see I’m here and all the space around me is mines. I slam my fist into my other hand because she’s good as jumped.

Leticia: Why would I get involved in Trina’s life when I don’t know for sure if I saw what I thought I saw? Who is to say I wasn’t seeing it from the wrong angle?

Acclaimed author Rita Williams-Garcia intertwines the lives of three very different teens in this fast-paced, gritty narrative about choices and the impact that even the most seemingly insignificant ones can have. Weaving in and out of the girls’ perspectives, readers will find themselves not with one intimate portrayal but three.

Book:Lips Touch: Three Times

Lips Touch: Three Times

Laini Taylor

Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit: In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses: A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Hatchling: Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Book:Stitches: A Memoir

Stitches: A Memoir

David Small

With this stunning graphic memoir, David Small takes readers on an unforgettable journey into the dark heart of his tumultuous childhood in 1950s Detroit, in a coming-of-age tale like no other.

At the age of fourteen, David awoke from a supposedly harmless operation to discover his throat had been slashed and one of his vocal chords removed, leaving him a virtual mute. No one had told him that he had cancer and was expected to die. The resulting silence was in keeping with the atmosphere of secrecy and repressed frustration that pervaded the Small household and revealed itself in the slamming of cupboard doors, the thumping of a punching bag, the beating of a drum.

Believing that they were doing their best, David’s parents did just the reverse. David’s mother held the family emotionally hostage with her furious withdrawals, even as she kept her emotions hidden—including from herself. His father, rarely…[more]

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