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Kim Tomsic

Thursday, September 17, 2015

National Book Award Longlist, Young People's Literature




NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Longlist: Young People’s Literature

  • M.T. AndersonSymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)In September 1941, Adolf Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history—almost three years of bombardment and starvation that culminated in the harsh winter of 1943–1944. More than a million citizens perished. Survivors recall corpses littering the frozen streets, their relatives having neither the means nor the strength to bury them. Residents burned books, furniture, and floorboards to keep warm; they ate family pets and—eventually—one another to stay alive. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused, rallied, eulogized, and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony, which came to occupy a surprising place of prominence in the eventual Allied victory. This is the true story of a city under siege: the triumph of bravery and defiance in the face of terrifying odds. It is also a look at the power—and layered meaning—of music in beleaguered lives. Symphony for the City of the Dead is a masterwork thrillingly told and impeccably researched.”




  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing) The Newbery Honor-winning author of Hatchet and Dogsong shares surprising true stories about his relationship with animals, highlighting their compassion, intellect, intuition, and sense of adventure. Gary Paulsen is an adventurer who competed in two Iditarods, survived the Minnesota wilderness, and climbed the Bighorns. None of this would have been possible without his truest companion: his animals. Sled dogs rescued him in Alaska, a sickened poodle guarded his well-being, and a horse led him across a desert. Through his interactions with dogs, horses, birds, and more, Gary has been struck with the belief that animals know more than we may fathom. His understanding and admiration of animals is well known, and in This Side of Wild, which has taken a lifetime to write, he proves the ways in which they have taught him to be a better person.”

  • Laura RubyBone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books) “Eighteen-year-old Finn, an outsider in his quiet Midwestern town, is the only witness to the abduction of town favorite Roza, but his inability to distinguish between faces makes it difficult for him to help with the investigation, and subjects him to even more ridicule and bullying.”

  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press). “Malcolm Little's parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that's a pack of lies--after all, his father's been murdered, his mother's been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There's no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm's efforts to leave the past behind lead him into increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he's found is only an illusion--and that he can't run forever. X follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.”


  • Neal ShustermanChallenger Deep (HarperCollins Children's Books)Caden Bosch is on a galleon that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench. Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior. He is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.  Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head. He is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny. He is torn. He is dealing with schizophrenia... and as fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, his parents have only one choice left.” (Update: Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature!)

  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children's Books). “Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. Andher unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.



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