The 2009-2010 Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominees

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The list below represents the nominees for the Texas Bluebonnet Award 2009-2010. At our local elementary school, in third grade the students may vote for their favorite if they have read at least 5 books from the Master List.

My daughter learned in third grade that all the books nominated are great. They also cover a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction writing including novels, poetry, picture books and chapter books. Some of the stories can be extremely controversial and bring out some strong emotions.

We have been known to laugh out loud or cry when reading some of these books. We have even become so outraged and upset that we wanted to stop reading a book, but we were so pulled in and invested in the story, we could not stop. Several of these have started some of our best discussions. These are the kind of books I love.

I have added several to my Books to Read list. I hope you look through the list below and choose to read some yourself or to your children. If you do, please comment below and let me know what you thought.

Texas Bluebonnet Award 2009-2010 Master List

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwick girls discover that before their mother died, she left instructions with her sister to make sure her husband, their Dad, remarries. The girls come up with a “Save Daddy Plan” so they will not have to have a stepmother. The plan: get him dates with women they know he will detest. Each girl also deals with her own situations such as Jane doing Skye’s writing assignments, and Batty spying on the new neighbors.

Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty Birney

Humphrey loves being the classroom pet at Longfellow Elementary–Room 26 in Mrs. Brisbane’s classroom. All the children, including Don’t Complain-Mandy Payne, Sit-Still-Seth Stevenson, and Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. Thomas, are his friends. There are some strange happenings going on, however, and Humphrey is worried about his friends. Especially frightening is the fear that Aldo the janitor is being replaced by an alien. For Humphrey it’s SCARY, SCARY, SCARY.

Frogs by Nic Bishop

The reader can almost feel the slime in this photographic volume on frogs. The pictures are not only vastly informative, but the text also gives fascinating information on these amphibians. The combination of the two make for a book that increases one’s knowledge and has the reader making a multitude of verbal responses when turning the pages-“Yuk!”; “How interesting”; “I didn’t know that!”; and “WOW!”

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale by Carmen Agra Deedy

It is time for Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha, the beautiful muchacha, to find a husband. Her abuela tells her that she needs to give each suitor the “coffee on the shoes” test in order to find a good husband. Who will Martina choose? Will it be Don Gallo the rooster, Don Cerdo the pig, Don Lagarto the lizard or Perez the mouse? How does coffee help Martina? All these are questions answered in this delightfully illustrated Cuban folktale.

The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman

Gil’s father has been falsely accused of embezzlement while working at the Golly Toy and Game Company. Gil grabs his chance to redeem his pride by getting the opportunity to compete in the Gollywhopper Games. Puzzle fans will enjoy the ride as Gil must solve puzzles with his sometimes, not so nice, team partners in this fast-paced adventure.

The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating by A.W. Flaherty

“Picky eaters unite!” will become the rallying cry for kids after reading this book. Katerina-Elizabeth’s parents send her on an ocean voyage to Scotland to visit her grandparents. Every morning on the ship she has the same thing for breakfast–oatmeal. Every morning she slyly tosses the oatmeal into the ocean. A little sea worm begins following the ship to get the tasty treat each day. He grows from thumbnail size to giant size on the trip across the ocean. Upon arrival in Scotland the worm followed the water, up a river, to Loch Ness. Can you guess what happens next?

Piper Reed: Navy Brat by Kimberly Willis Holt

Piper, a fourth grader, is the middle child of the girls in the Reed household. She loves the fact that her father is in the Navy. She gets upset with her sisters because they actually refer to him as Dad, not Chief. As in all military families, moving is a part of their life. This time they are moving from San Diego to Pensacola. Piper’s older sister Tori thinks the Navy is ruining her life, and her younger sister Sam is a genius. Piper who loves the Navy life and has dyslexia sometimes feels that she does not fit. Despite all the differences there is plenty of love in this family.

What To Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! By Barbara Kerley

Teddy Roosevelt famously said, “I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I can’t possibly do both.” Alice Roosevelt, his oldest child, was hard to contain. She wanted to “eat up the world.” Her idea of watching her siblings in the White House was to teach them how to slide down the stairway on trays. She had a pet snake and monkey that she showed off to visiting dignitaries, and despite her father’s admonition to stay out of the news, she did just the opposite. Her father “was not amused.” Just as Alice “ate up the world,” reader’s will eat up this book about Alice Roosevelt.

Savvy by Ingrid Law

Each member of Mib’s family gets a special gift upon turning thirteen. They learn what their Savvy is. Mib’s brother Fish has a powerful effect on water, her brother Rocket is electric, and her Great Aunt Jules steps back in time twenty minutes each time she sneezes. Now Mib is about to turn thirteen. On her big day, her father is in a serious car accident and rushed to the hospital. Now Mibs thinks her Savvy will be the ability to save lives. Since her mother is at the hospital with her dad, Mibs, her brother Fish, and the town’s preacher’s kids, hitch a ride on a bus with a traveling Bible salesman to make it to the hospital. Though Mib’s Savvy is not what she thought, she learns something on the crazy bus ride with a most unusual group of people.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things By Lenore Look

For the reader who likes to LOL, Alvin Ho is here to save the day. Alvin is scared of most things, including Wasabi. He packs his PDK (Personal Disaster Kit) to take to school each day. He has never said one word at school-ever-even though he talks at home. When he gets angry, he cusses in Shakespeare since that is what his father teaches. There are many hilarious scenes, including the chapter entitled “The Best Way to Avoid School” in which the entire class sneaks in to visit their classmate with chicken pox. Reading this book will cheer up the worst of days.

Two-Minute Drill by Mike Lupica

Football, friendship, and faith in oneself are played out in this addition to Lupica’s Comeback Kids series. Sixth grader Scott loves football, but as he says, football does not love him. Chris his classmate is the best player on the team, but he has a struggle of his own. The two boys develop a strong friendship and find that their individual talents, teamed with practice, can help both of them reach their potential. You won’t have to tackle your boys to read this one.

¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué Rico!: America’s Sproutings by Pat Mora

What do haiku, information on native American foods, and bright, colorful illustrations have in common? This book-¡Yum! ¡MmMm! ¡Qué rico!: Americas’ Sproutings-that’s what. This book is the perfect recipe for information, poetry, and art, while bringing all the Americas together for the fun.

The Hound of Rowan by Henry Neff

Max has always had something deep within him that he did not understand. That “something” feels like it comes alive when he ducks into a small gallery at Chicago’s Art Institute to hide from a strange man who has been following him. In the gallery, there is an old Celtic tapestry hanging on the wall that begins to quiver and glow. Max discovers that he, along with a few other children, have an ancient Celtic magic called Potential. As Potential children are being kidnapped, he and his fellow students at Rowan, the school for Potentials, must act to save the world from the powerful Evil. This is the first installment in The Tapestry series.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson

It’s the illustrations that will first draw the reader to this book. Each page will be turned in admiration as one is introduced to the players, coaches, and teams of the Negro Baseball League. The narration is equally admirable. Nelson explains that the narrator is “a collective voice, the voice of every player, the voice of we.” Readers feel as if they are sitting in their den listening to the stories being told. The pain of segregation and the joy of playing the game will be felt by all who board this Ship.

Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport

There have been many children’s books published about the Statue of Liberty but never one like this. Through free verse and illustrations that put the reader in the events, The Lady’s biography is told. Each double page spread tells of people involved in the process of bringing her to New York Harbor-from the idea, to the creation of the statue, to the pennies sent in by children across the United States to pay for her base, to the celebration of her placement. The reader will look upon The Lady with new eyes whether in New York viewing her or bringing her to the mind’s eye.

Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman

The Red Tail Hawk, known as Pale Male, does not have an easy time of it. The trials, tribulations, and final triumph of the hawk who nests on the ledge at one of New York City’s most exclusive addresses is presented with a perfect melding of words and illustrations. Details of everything from the political battles fought to keep Pale Male at his home to Pale Male’s fathering skills weave together into a story that all readers will enjoy.

Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck

Maybelle the cockroach and Henry the flea live in the Peabody household where everything has to be just so. The two friends know the rules for survival: “When it’s light, stay out of sight; if you’re spied, better hide; and never meet with human feet.” Henry is good at following the rules, but Maybelle gives way to temptation when the Peabody’s have a dinner party. When she ends up on the spoon of one of the guests, the hilarity begins. Never has a cockroach been such a welcome diversion.

Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli

Diana is happy in her life. She loves her house, her best friend Rose, and even her pesky little sister. To top things off, she has just won a poetry contest, and the prize is enrollment in a poetry workshop. Her life could not be better-until her father (who always jokes) gets serious; he and her mother talk quietly together. She is afraid her parents are getting a divorce. The good news is that they are not, but the bad news is that her father lost his job. Diana’s family will have to move. Told in simple free verse, Diana experiences the feelings of loss and acceptance. It is appropriate that the first and last poems are both entitled “Where I Live.”

Help Me, Mr. Mutt! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

When humans have a problem, they write Dear Abby; but the best help for the suffering canine is Mr. Mutt. Each troubled hound is given doggone good advice-all of which ends with a P.S. suggesting that the family cat is less than a worthy pet. Of course, Mutt’s family cat The Queen comes back with her own thoughts on this. By the end of the book, Mr. Mutt and The Queen come to blows, and our canine advisor must be rescued by his fans. There are plenty of laughs for both pets and their humans.

Someone Named Eva by Joan Wolf

Milada celebrates her eleventh birthday happily with family and friends despite the hardships brought on by three years of Nazi occupation in Czechoslovakia. A few weeks later, German soldiers arrest the entire village. The men and women are separated and sent to camps, but Milada and one other village girl are not. Since both girls have the blonde hair and blue eyes of Hitler’s Aryan ideal, they are sent to Germany to be retrained and adopted by loyal Nazi families. Milada struggles to remember her grandmother’s words to her on her eleventh birthday, “Remember who you are, Milada. Remember where you are from. Always.”

write by Mfalme Odie

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