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Volunteer State Book Award

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Title: Volunteer State Book Award


1
Volunteer State Book Award
  • 2003-2004 Nominations
  • Grades 4-6

2
Ghost Soldier. By Elaine Marie Alphin. Holt,
2001.
Ghosts of Civil War soldiers…Alexander has always
been able to see ghosts. Visions that grow more
and more real, draw Alexander even finds himself
participating in a battle in the trenches, with
mortars whizzing overhead. Richeson, whose death
Alexander witnessed, appears and appeals for help
in finding his sister, Richesons sister, who has
left a message for her brother in a metal box
hidden in a tree trunk--a box that a ghost cannot
open. In the course of solving Richeson's
mystery, Alexander finds answers to his own
problems. Teacher Note Middle-grade readers
will enjoy this story that straddles three
genres, and teachers will find its grounding in
the actual events of the Battle of Fort Stedman a
useful curriculum tie-in. (Ages 10 to 14) 
3
Historical novel-- rural Colorado in
1925 14-year-old Ida Bidson takes over the job
of teaching school so that she may graduate to
high school. Avi wittily up-ends the usual roles
assigned adults and children. Teachers Note A
crowd-pleaser. Ages 8-12.
The Secret School. By Avi. Harcourt, 2001
4
A story with plenty of play-by-play action, a
good plot, a valuable lesson, and some
interesting baseball history.
Winners Take All. By Fred Bowen. Peachtree, 2000
Teachers Note Gr 3-7-The story is told in an
interesting, nondidactic manner that makes it a
good baseball tale with a lesson in honesty.
Bowen pitches a winner here.
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6
The School Story. By Andrew Clements. Simon
Schuster, 2001
Don't mess with Zee Zee Reisman from the Sherry
Clutch Literary Agency. Especially when she's
promoting the hot new novelist Cassandra
Day--both 12-year-old girls. The girls devise a
masterfully elaborate plot to get the manuscript
in the right hands. Explore the publishing
worldwould you have the guts to go for it!
Teachers Note A highly original plot with
plenty of intriguing side stories makes this a
thoroughly satisfying read, especially for future
novelists, agents, and editors. This graceful and
enjoyable novel from Andrew Clements is
illustrated with rather gloomy, yet strangely
funny black-and-white drawings from Brian
Selznick. (Ages 8 to 12
7
Love That Dog. By Sharon Creech.  HarperCollins,
2001 Written in free verse, introduces us to an
endearingly unassuming, straight-talking boy who
discovers the powers and pleasures of poetry. A
short, rhythmic one by Walter Dean Myers called
"Love That Boy" The words completely captivate
our protagonist, Jack. His reverence for the
poem ultimately leads to meeting the poet
himself, an experience he will never forget.
Teachers Note great tie in with Myers and
poetry. Reluctant readers will appreciate format.
8
My Dog, Cat. By Marty Crisp. Holiday House, 2000
Abbie has a couple of wishes. He wants a more
masculine name. He wants to be taller. And he
really wants a dog. When Aunt Laura goes away for
six weeks, Abbie gets to take care of her new
dog. Abbie's hoping it's a big dog. Too bad when
the pooch, Cat, arrives, he finds it's a little
Yorkie. What follows is formulaic but still
funny Abbie fights off a bully with the help of
some new friends and Cat and when Cat helps
catch a purse snatcher, Abbie sees that size is
not as important as he thought. Aunt Laura's
return makes Abbie realize what he's about to
lose, and ending is sweet but no surprise.
Middle-graders will recognize the milieu and the
characters, especially as they are portrayed in
True Kelley's amusing ink-and-wash illustrations.
Ages 9-12
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17
Buddy is a Stupid Name for a Girl. By Willo
Davis Roberts. Atheneum, 2001 Buddy, the
11-year-old female protagonist, worries about her
mother's recent death, her father's mysterious
disappearance and the state of homelessness she
finds herself in when the landlord boots out
Buddy and her brother. When Bart, Buddy's
17-year-old brother, heads out to find their
missing father, she goes to live with relatives
she barely knows. In the small town of Haysville,
Buddy meets with little sympathy from her aunts,
who think her father abandoned his children and
that her mother ran off with the family's meager
fortune before she died. Buddy does not believe
the accusations, but has no proof of her parents'
innocence. Teachers Note offers a host of
colorful, if sometimes stock personalities, a
strong message about loyalty and a gratifying
resolution for those who pine for
happily-ever-after endings. Ages 8-12. 
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19
The Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine. By Diane
Stanley. HarperCollins, 2001 Jelly Worm
candies. Fifth-grader Franny sees the connection
between the sudden fad and writer I.M. Fine's
latest Chillers book, The Worm Turns (in it the
Jelly Worms come to life and destroy Cleveland).
As Franny and her friend, Beamer, investigate, a
mystery involving orphan twins separated in
childhood. Teachers Note rich but offhand
characterizations of family life (Franny's
younger twins are named Zoe and J.D., a fact
delivered without jokiness) and tough subject
matter (the painful effects of McCarthyism play a
significant role). Superior entertainment, this
work should engage both ambitious readers and
diehard fans of the genre (horror series) it
satirizes. Ages 9-12
20
The Christmas Doll. By Elivra Woodruff.
Scholastic, 2000 In this old-fashioned tale,
set in the 1850s, Lucy and her little sister,
Glory, find themselves in dire circumstances
after they run away from the orphanage. Lucy
obtains a temporary job embroidering hearts on
dolls and sneaks Glory into the shop each night
after closing, along with a friendly urchin who
looks after Glory during the daytime. The
sentimental tone and Dickensian setting create
the right mood for this sweet story about dolls
and sisterhood. Ages 9-12
21
Angelfish. By Laurence Yep.  Putnam, 2001
Laurence Yep continues the adventures of
Chinese-American ballet student Robin Lee,
previously met in Ribbons and The Cook's Family,
in Angelfish, a twist on "Beauty and the Beast."
Robin has just landed the role of Beauty in a
ballet recital when she accidentally breaks the
window of a pet-fish store belonging to the
beastly Mr. Tsow, who sentences her to three
months of work to make up for the damage. Aided
by her Chinese-born grandmother, Robin discovers
that Mr. Tsow had been a ballet star in China
until the Cultural Revolution forced his
"reeducation," and with this knowledge she brings
about his transformation.  Ages 9-12
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