2014-2015 SC Children's Book Award Nominees

Alex the Parrot: No Ordinary Bird: A True Story

In 1977, graduate student Irene Pepperberg walked into a pet store and bought a year-old African grey parrot. Because she was going to study him, she decided to call him Alex--short for Avian Learning EXperiment. At that time, most scientists thought that the bigger the brain, the smarter the creature; they studied great apes and dolphins. African greys, with their walnut-sized "birdbrains," were pretty much ignored--until Alex.

Almost Home

Sugar Mae Cole doesn't often get downhearted, but lately it's been a struggle to keep up her hopes. Newly homeless, Sugar and her mother, Reba, have come to Chicago to make a fresh start. But everything goes wrong, Sugar and her mother are separated, and Sugar and her beloved rescue dog, Shush, are put into foster care. Through poems and letters and memories and grit, Sugar holds onto her dream of someday having a real home again.

Barbed Wire Baseball

As a boy, Kenichi "Zeni" Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss’s rich text and Yuko Shimizu’s beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography.

Buddy

2015 Children's Book Award Winner Tyrone "Li'l T" Roberts meets Buddy when his family's car accidentally hits the stray dog on their way to church. Buddy turns out to be the dog Li'l T's always wished for--until Hurricane Katrina comes to New Orleans and he must leave Buddy behind. After the storm, Li'l T and his father return home to find a community struggling to rebuild their lives--and Buddy gone. But Li'l T refuses to give up his quest to find his best friend. From the author of the BBYA Top Ten selection The Great Wide Sea comes a powerful story of hope, courage, and knowing when to let go.

Capture the Flag

Anna, José, and Henry are complete strangers with more in common than they realize. Snowed in together at a chaotic Washington DC airport, they encounter a mysterious tattooed man, a flamboyant politician, and a rambunctious poodle named for an ancient king. Even stranger…news stations everywhere have announced that the famous flag that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been stolen! Anna, certain that the culprits must be snowed in, too, recruits Henry and José to help catch the thieves and bring them to justice.

Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic

The great ocean liner Titanic is preparing to cross the Atlantic. On board is a sinister thief bent on stealing a rare book that may be the key to unlocking infinite treasure, a wealthy academic traveling home to America with several rare books, and Patrick Waters, a twelve-year-old Irish boy who is certain that his job as a steward will be the adventure of a lifetime.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Finding Zasha

FINDING ZASHA is the story of twelve year old Ivan, who is trapped in the siege of Leningrad in 1941. To survive, he must escape across a frozen lake, find a new home, and join the fight for his country.

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. She's skipped multiple grades and doesn't really connect with the older kids at school, but she's not comfortable with her family, either. And Sophie has a secret--she's a Telepath, someone who can read minds. But the day Sophie meets Fitz, a mysterious (and adorable) boy, she learns she's not alone. He's a Telepath too, and it turns out the reason she has never felt at home is that, well ... she isn't. Fitz opens Sophie's eyes to a shocking truth, and almost instantly she is forced to leave behind her family for a new life in a place that is vastly different from what she has ever known.

Meet the Stars: Pride, Nightingale and Baby—spunky, independent and orphaned siblings united by fierce loyalty to one another, with only their grandpa, Old Finn, to care for them. That is, until he falls gravely ill and is shuttled off to a hospital far from home.

The Quilt Walk

Ho for Colorado! It’s 1864, and Thomas Hatchett has just told his family they will move west. He’ll sell the farm, buy a covered wagon, and load it with construction supplies. Pa plans to build a business block in the frontier town of Golden, Colorado. There is no place in the wagon for trunks of clothes, so Ma and their daughter, Emmy Blue, must put on their dresses, one on top of the other, and wear them all the way to Golden.

Red Thread Sisters

Wen has spent the first eleven years of her life at an orphanage in rural China, and the only person she would call family is her best friend, Shu Ling. When Wen is adopted by an American couple, she struggles to adjust to every part of her new life: having access to all the food and clothes she could want, going to school, being someone's daughter. But the hardest part of all is knowing that Shu Ling remains back at the orphanage, alone. Wen believes that her best friend deserves a family and a future, too. But finding a home for Shu Ling isn't easy, and time is running out . . .

Sugar

Ten-year-old Sugar lives on the River Road sugar plantation along the banks of the Mississippi. Slavery is over, but laboring in the fields all day doesn’t make her feel very free. Thankfully, Sugar has a knack for finding her own fun, especially when she joins forces with forbidden friend Billy, the white plantation owner’s son.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom "finds herself," Stella fantasizes that someday she'll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn't be less like her name - she's tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to each other.

Summer of the Wolves

Julie of the Wolves meets Hatchet in this middle grade novel that follows orphaned twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota. A phone call from their uncle sets them on a journey in a small floatplane over the thick green forest canopy, to spend the summer on a wilderness island.

Third Grade Angels

George, aka "Suds," has just entered third grade, and he's heard the rhyme about "first grade babies/second grade cats/third grade angels/fourth grade rats," but what does this mean for his school year? It means that his teacher, Mrs. Simms, will hold a competition every month to see which student deserves to be awarded "the halo" - which student is best-behaved, kindest to others, and, in short, perfect.

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet

Eleven-year-old Ratchet determines to make a friend, save a park, and find her own definition of normal. She tells her story through the assignments in her homeschool language arts journal.

Ungifted

The word “gifted” has never been applied to Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like “don’t try this at home.” So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.

The Vengekeep Prophecies

Jaxter Grimjinx is a born thief. At least, he’s supposed to be. For generations, the Grimjinx clan has produced the swiftest, cleverest thieves in Vengekeep.

White House Kids

Living in America's most famous residence might seem glamorous at first--it's the most fun place any kid could live! There's a bowling alley in the basement, chefs are always available to prepare whatever you're craving, and sometimes presidential aides will even help you with your homework! But life isn't always easy for the youngsters who call the White House home.