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National Book Awards


As the calendar year winds down, awards season winds up.

As the calendar year winds down, awards season winds up. The National Book Award nominations (including those for Young People’s literature) were announced recently, and as always the shortlist has surprises, and some familiar faces.

First, E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks , the only one of the five I’ve read at this point, which I blogged about back in March. I’m pleased with the staying power of this one, even if its not my favorite of E. Lockhart’s books (which isn’t the question anyway, as this is the only one she wrote in 2008!)

Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath is getting quite a lot of buzz as to being a Newbery contender as well. I cannot bring myself to read it, as the premise is based on animal cruelty. It may be incredibly beautifully written, even the best book ever, but if there is a threat of an animal dying, I’m not reading it.

Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains is a historical fiction title aimed at a middle school audience, slightly lower than her usual fare. This book from the much honored Anderson concerns slavery, spying and the price of freedom.

Now, the two surprises. What i Saw and How I Lied is by Judy Blundell. Blundell has written many series books under the pen name Jude Watson, including suspense series novels and movie tie-ins, some of which I’ve read and found quite enjoyable. This is another historical fiction title, set during World War II, and will be on shelves next month.

Also out next month is Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now . Tharp’s first book, Knights of the Hill Country was one of my favorites of 2006, and simply one of the best portrayals of small town life I’ve read, as well as being a great boy book and sports book. Both of Tharp’s books are about older teens as well, and fill a great niche for that end of the age group.

The awards will be presented November 19 in New York, so you still have a few weeks to get your reading done!