Nominations for the December 20 Capitol Choices agenda will be due at 11:59 PM on Thursday, December 12. Nominations for the 2014 List will still be accepted for the January 17 meeting as long as the books were published in 2013. The last date for any nominations of 2013 books will be on January 9, 2014.
After Sophie draws a face on the squash her mother bought at the farmer's market, it becomes her favorite doll but, like all squash, Bernice eventually grew soft. A satisfying story of friendship and vegetables told with humor and affection and illustrated to match. Up to Seven. K. Isaacs
In his new home Crystal Springs, ME, where "everything was normal, but everything was also a little off" , Ephraim finds friends for the first time, bringing together 6th graders from traditionally feuding families to solve the mystery of the Appledore family's healing waters and, perhaps, healing his own father. Building on the choices offered by Tuck Everlasting (discussed in Ephraim's English class) Blakemore raises the tantalizing possibility that someone chose to drink water that would make them immortal. This is a terrific read, combining science and magic with middle school awkwardnesses, early twentieth-century science, the Peary Arctic expedition and much more. Ten to Fourteen. Kathy Isaacs
This may be Kate DiCamillo's wildest book yet and it works like a charm. Every character is off-beat but still tethered sufficiently to reality. Mom is a romance writer, Dad is an oddball who is forever reintroducing himself to people, Tootie from next door accidentally vacuumed up a squirrel (Ulysses of the title), and that's just the beginning. Flora is our protagonist and she is a misfit kid who lives in the world of comic books. When Tootie vacuums up Ulysses, she takes him in and realizes that there's much more to Ulysses than being a squirrel. He writes poetry, he can fly, but most of all he can be a friend. Flora's friend William Spiver is temporarily blind and is fascinated by Flora and Ulysses. It's a very quirky story (which appeals) and the writing is lovely. In the end, I think that a poetry writing squirrel is just what the world of children's books needs. I should also mention that bits of the book have comic-like illustrations that resonate well with Flora's addiction to her comics. This comes out in September so we have to wait for the final art work but the sketches in the ARC were wonderful. Seven to Ten. Joan Kindig
Red's world changed completely when his daddy died. Daddy was his hero, his moral compass, and the best father a boy could have. His death precipitates a possible move to Ohio from their home in Virginia and Red is doing everything he can to prevent that. Daddy's friend, an elderly black woman named Miss Georgia, remains a constant in Red's life and is part of the reason for him getting to the bottom of a mystery his father left behind written in a small note yellowed with age. Set in 1972 when the South was still reeling from the Civil Rights movement and the country was in the midst of social unrest and political activism (think Viet Nam war protests, etc.), Red has to decide whether to do the right thing when he uncovers the mystery his father left behind. Ten to Fourteen. Joan Kindig
The friendship between 12-year-old Zach, Poppy, and Alice began with their role-playing using action figures and dolls. However, the author quickly moves this adventure to a horror story with some basis in fact. Readers who love weird ghost-like tales will pick this up. Ten to Fourteen. Blair Christolon
Exploring his Arctic world, a polar bear cub meets another cub covered with snow, a playmate for a joyful morning. "Snow, sea, and ice, and wide, blue sky" is the world Savage recreates in this appealing companion to the pair's Polar Bear Night, now available as a board book. Where the first was an award-winning celebration of home, this one celebrates friendship. And they both celebrate the bears' water-and-ice environment with a deceptively simple design. Up to 7. Kathy Isaacs
Paired as pen pals, two 14-year-olds gradually discover personal strengths as they learn about each other’s wildly different lives. Nawra's letters, full of traditional sayings, gradually reveal the female circumcision, rape, and pregnancy that preceded her arrival at the Darfur refugee camp; while K.C.'s school troubles in Virginia are finally diagnosed. A moving story that can connect American readers to a distant world. Fourteen and Up. Kathy Isaacs.
Ivan has lived most of his life in captivity and has accepted his small enclosure in a zoo-themed mall as his home. That is, until young elephant Ruby arrives and Ivan realizes that she deserves better. Strong narration combined with great storytelling give life to Ivan and his companions. Ivan's voice is both gruff and caring, and listeners will be anxious to find out if he can keep his promise to find a better life for Ruby. (Audio) - Colleen Beaupre
Autumn thinks with her body and her hands. She bothers with school only because she can't wrestle if her grades fall. Adonis lives in his head. He only exercises his body so he doesn't have to rely on others. Autumn has loved Adonis from the first moment she saw him, wheelchair and all. Adonis can't get far enough away from Autumn during the day, even if he can't stop dreaming about her. These two seemingly mismatched characters are fully realized by Turpin and Hoffman. The voices being almost at odds with Turpin bursting with Autumn exuberance and Hoffman maintaining Adonis's seriousness. As Autumn and Adonis wrestle with their emotions, growing up, and each other, Turpin and Hoffman find balance with each other, deepening the connection between Autumn and Adonis. 14+ Audio. Paula Langsam
When thirteen-year-old Jack Baker's mother dies, his father a naval officer moves Jack from landlocked Kansas to Maine, and enrolls him in al all boys prep school. When his father is supposed to come for a visit but does not, Jack decides to accompany Early Auden, an odd classmate on a quest on the Appalachian Trail. Early is on a mission - to search for his brother whom he believes is still alive although he was reported missing in action in WWII and presumed dead. Jack is rutterless. However, he does need a friend and Early will do. This is a wonderful story of friendship, loss and discovery. This novel is possibly better than Newbery winner Moon over Manifest, for it delves deeper into the soul. The audio is narrated in a matter of fact way by Tobbie Daymond with the story within the novel narrated with an adult voice by Mr. Bramhall which makes for a nicely paced and entertaining audio. Ages 10+ Maria E. Gentle