ACPL Mock Newbery

The Newbery Medal was named for 18th-century British bookseller, John Newbery. It is awarded annually by ALA's Association for Library Service to Children to the author of the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." This is a board where ACPL staff and patrons may comment about new children's books and vote on what they think should win! To register for our "in-person" discussion on December 12, 2015, call Children's Services at 260.421.1220


ACPL Mock Newbery

  • 100 Pins

<2015 pin> The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. SUMMARY: Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.

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<2015 pin> Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. SUMMARY: As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her best friends, curvaceous Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend--or more than friend--Sherm, she finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: "What is my purpose?"

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<2015 Pin> Fort by Cynthia DeFelice. "A middle-grade summer adventure about two boys who build an awesome fort and tangle with two older bullies."-- Provided by publisher.

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<2015 pin> Listen Slowly by Thanhha Lai. SUMMARY: Assisting her grandmother's investigation of her grandfather's fate during the Vietnam War, Mai struggles to adapt to an unfamiliar culture while redefining her sense of family.

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  • Kris L.
    Kris L.

    There are so many things to like about this book. Excellently written, the author has a wonderful way with words. Mai's voice was perfect, her character development was very seamless, I wanted to keep reading to get to know her more. And the setting! The sights, smells, sounds and culture of Vietnam came alive. And so, so funny! I found myself laughing out loud, and then after a few pages tearing up from something poignant. One of my favorites.

<2015 pin> The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart. SUMMARY: A boy named Mark, tired of being sick with cancer, conceives a plan to climb Mount Rainier, and runs away from home with his dog, Beau--but with over two hundred miles between him and his goal, and only anger at his situation to drive him on nothing will be easy, and only his best friend, Jessie, suspects where he is heading.

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<2015 pin> Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt. SUMMARY: In Rippling Creek, Louisiana, in 1948, eleven-year-old Tate writes letters to her favorite country singer, sharing her dreams of becoming a singer and revealing that her mother is in prison.

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<2015 pin> George by Alex Gino. SUMMARY: More than anything else, George wants to play Charlotte in her fourth-grade class's production of Charlotte's Web. The problem is, her teacher won't let her, because George is a boy. But George isn't about to let that squash her dream. With the help of her best friend, George must learn to stand up for her wish -- and brave a few bullies along the way.

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<2015 pin> Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan. SUMMARY: Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica--and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.

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  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    Granted, it's early in the year, but this is my favorite thus far this year. I appreciated the way it dealt with the complexity of each moment in history in the vignettes, and ultimately how those stories connected to each other.

  • Ryan Throop
    Ryan Throop

    This is my favorite novel thus far, as well! Pam Munoz Ryan does an excellent job developing the characters in a way that draws the reader into their separate, unique stories and places in history while interweaving their lives across the story arc. There were parts of the plot that seemed a bit cliche, but that is easily made up for through the characterization. The characters are easily connected to and their stories are captivating. I can't wait to discuss this novel further!

  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    I totally know the parts you're talking about, but I always wonder if kids will find those moments cliche. When you aren't as experienced of a reader, those things can feel new. This is an issue I often struggle with when evaluating kids' books.

<2015 pin> The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. SUMMARY: Summary: A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

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  • Abby Johnson
    Abby Johnson

    I love the character development in this book. I think it takes a very interesting perspective - that of a girl who is abused when her brother is not - and the emotions are so well developed and portrayed. I also loved seeing the development of the rural caretaker whom you can see warming to the children and dealing with her own demons as the story progresses.

<2015 pin> Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. SUMMARY: When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

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  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    Loved this one! I always appreciate that Draper doesn't pull her punches - she deals with the harsh details/issues in ways that are honest while also age-appropriate.

  • Ryan Throop
    Ryan Throop

    "Stella by Starlight" is a top Newbery contender in my opinion. The way the protagonist deals with the realities and affects of prejudice is real and I found myself wrapped up in her narrative. I foresee the target age group being equally as captivated.

A group of librarians, moms, and teachers -- all lovers of children's books -- gathered to select Allen County Public Library's 2015 Mock Newbery! (Double click the image above to find out what we selected!)

Mock Newbery Discusion and Election - 2015

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<2014 pin - ACPL Short List> The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis. SUMMARY: Even though it is now 1901, the people of Buxton, Canada (originally a settlement of runaway slaves) and Chatham, Canada are still haunted by two events of half a century before--the American Civil War, and the Irish potato famine, and the lasting damage those events caused to the survivors.

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  • Ryan Throop
    Ryan Throop

    This book is a great tale of two unlikely friends. The back and forth narration between Benji and Red was well done. I thought the setting was established effectively, however the characterization can be confusing at time, with so many characters. Overall, I enjoyed this book.

<2014 pin> The Witch's Boy by Kelly Barnhill. SUMMARY: When a Bandit King comes to take the magic that Ned's mother, a witch, is meant to protect, the stuttering, weak boy villagers think should have drowned rather than his twin summons the strength to protect his family and community, while in the woods, the bandit's daughter puzzles over a mystery that ties her to Ned.

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<2014 pin - ACPL Short List> The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming. Subtitled: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia.

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  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    I really appreciated the way Fleming integrated her research to create an engaging narrative. Even though I know the history (and how things ended), the process of getting there was thoroughly enjoyable. I imagine young readers new to the story will be entranced by it.

<2014 pin - ACPL Short List> The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. SUMMARY: Ellie's scientist grandfather has discovered a way to reverse aging, and consequently has turned into a teenager--which makes for complicated relationships when he moves in with Ellie and her mother, his daughter.

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  • Kris L.
    Kris L.

    I enjoyed this one, much more than I anticipated. Themes of family, friendship, science and ethics are explored in a light read that is very accessible for young readers.

  • Ryan Throop
    Ryan Throop

    I thought this book was fun and enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Ellie and her grandfather. I felt the book could have explored further the themes introduced, but is a great book for younger readers.

<2014 pin> Greenglass House by Kate Milford. SUMMARY: At Greenglass House, a smuggler's inn, twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers' adopted son, plans to spend his winter holidays relaxing but soon guests are arriving with strange stories about the house sending Milo and Meddy, the cook's daughter, on an adventure.

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  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    This one is fun! With the exception of the big reveal at the end, it doesn't muck about with too many literary pretensions or slights of hand, and I appreciate that for this particular story. The plot is complex, but presented with clarity. It isn't my top choice and I don't know that I would argue for it as an Honor book (others have my allegiance at the moment), but I'd love to hear others' arguments for it.

  • Debra Andrews
    Debra Andrews

    Well done; reminiscent of The Westing Game. Plot line intricate but not confusing. Well-drawn characters, and great atmosphere drawn with setting. Fun read!

<2014 pin> Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen. SUMMARY: In 1965, a year after Arianne thinks she sees a shooting star land in the fields surrounding her family's horse farm, a baby centaur's born, and the family, already under scrutiny because Arianne's six-year-old brother has birth defects, struggles to keep the colt a secret.

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<2014 pin> I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora. SUMMARY: "When best friends Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic"-- Provided by publisher.

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<2014 pin> The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney. SUMMARY: "After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder"-- Provided by publisher.

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<2014 pin> Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington. SUMMARY: "Twelve-year-old Mysti Murphy of Texas wishes she were a character in a book. If her life were fiction, she'd know how to solve her problems at school, take care of her family when her dad has to spend time in the hospital, and deal with her family's secret: that her mother is agoraphobic and never leaves the house"-- Provided by publisher.

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<2014 pin - ACPL Short List> Rain Reign by Ann Martin. SUMMARY: Struggling with Asperger's, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

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  • Mary Voors
    Mary Voors

    Oh, My. Rose was so well painted in this novel. The brief summary description doesn't begin to touch on the emotions this book forced me to experience.

  • Katy Southern
    Katy Southern

    I enjoyed this and I appreciate the fact that the ending was complex. As I neared the end I worried that it would wrap up in a simplistic happily-ever-after bow, but Martin maintained the integrity of the plot and characterizations through the end.

  • Mary Voors
    Mary Voors

    Katy! I agree about the ending! Can't wait to discuss this book.

<2014 pin> Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon. SUMMARY: Dory, the youngest in her family, is a girl with a very active imagination, and she spends the summer playing with her imaginary friend, pretending to be a dog, battling monsters, and generally driving her family nuts.

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<2014 pin> Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire. SUMMARY: An impoverished Russian country girl Elena Rudina and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.

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<2014 pin> The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry. SUMMARY: "Seven very proper Victorian young ladies conspire to hide a murder from the authorities at their boarding school"-- Provided by publisher.

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<2014 pin> The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage. SUMMARY: "When Miss Lana accidentally buys a haunted inn at the Tupelo Landing town auction, Desperado Detectives--aka Mo LoBeau and her best friend Dale--opens up a paranormal division to solve the ghost's identity before the town's big 250th anniversary bash"-- Provided by publisher.

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