Maine Student Book Award – A dedicated group of educators read many, many books published within the last full publication year (so 2016 for this year) and select 35-40 titles appropriate for readers in grades 4-8. This year, the committee broke up the list into books for readers in 4th-6th grade and books for readers in 6th-8th grade. There are many overlapping titles, but an effort was made to include books on the 4th-6th grade list that really speak to these younger readers. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary Library has all of the titles and will encourage all of our 4th and 5th graders to read at least three books from the list and then vote for their favorite. Our votes go to the MSBA committee where they will be added to votes from students all over the state. The winner will be announced at the beginning of April.
A few highlights from this year’s list:
Unbound by Ann E. Burg. A historical novel in verse. Set in pre-Civil War America, tells the story of Grace, a blue-eyed, light-skinned slave who is sent to the “Big House” to work. Learning that Master plans to sell members of her family motivates Grace to flee along with her family. They are heading for the Great Dismal Swamp but with bounty hunters on their heels, will they all make it? Great for a social studies read-aloud or for those readers who like to be carried along quickly by the story. You will cheer Grace on (and get an understanding about a heartbreaking period of American history and an amazing group of survivors).
League of Archers by Eva Howard. Action adventure tale set in the time of Robin Hood. Elinor Dray and her friends, who call themselves The League of Archers idolize Robin Hood, but she is accused of his murder, she must find a way to clear her name. A tale of survival and friendship and of difficulty of making choices.
Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan. Realistic story about two boys who seem very different, but over the course of one week of school, marked by what’s on the menu of the school lunch, they learn that they are not so different after all. Issues of fitting in, bullying, and friendship make this a story to which many students can relate.