2018-2019 SC Children's Book Award Nominees

A Long Pitch Home

Back in Pakistan, ten-year-old Bilal was a popular star on the cricket field. But when his father suddenly sends the family to live with their aunt and uncle in America, nothing is familiar. While Bilal tries to keep up with his cousin Jalaal by joining a baseball league and practicing his English, he wonders when his father will join the family in Virginia. Maybe if Bilal can prove himself on the pitcher's mound, his father will make it to see him play. But playing baseball means navigating relationships with the guys, and with Jordan, the only girl on the team--the player no one but Bilal wants to be friends with.

Allie, First at Last

Born into a family of over-achievers, fifth-grader Allie Velasco has never finished first in anything, and lately things have been going badly: her science project is ruined by a well-meaning student, her former best friend is hanging out with another girl--but now she is determined to win the Trailblazer contest with a photographic presentation about her great grandfather, the first Congressional Medal of Honor winner from their town.

As Brave as You

Eleven-year-old Genie loves to ask questions; he keeps a notebook filled with them. When his parents decide they need a summer alone to try to save their marriage, he and his older brother Ernie are sent to rural Virginia to stay with grandparents they hardly know. Compared with Brooklyn, Virginia is completely strange, and it’s not long before Genie discovers a whole new set of questions for his notebook: Why is Grandpop afraid to go outside? What’s the story behind the weird yellow house in the woods? What secret is Grandpop hiding?

Full of Beans

Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.

Garvey’s Choice

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely.
When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey and, through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.


Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.

Hamstersaurus Rex

When a mysterious growling hamster appears at the back of his class, Sam knows just what to call him: Hamstersaurus Rex. Sam tries to protect Hammie from an overzealous Hamster Monitor, and from the meanest bully in the history of Horace Hotwater Middle School. The bully isn’t afraid of some weird little class pet. But maybe he should be. Hamstersaurus Rex is no ordinary hamster.

Isabel Feeney Star Reporter

It’s 1920s Chicago --- the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone --- and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder scene, but also into her hero, the famous journalist Maude Collier.  Isabel fights to defend the honor of her accused friend and latches on to the murder case like a dog on a pant leg in this winning, thoroughly entertaining middle grade mystery.

Like Magic

For three ten-year-old girls, their once simple worlds are starting to feel too big. Painfully shy Grace dreads starting fifth grade now that her best friend has moved away. Jada hopes she'll stop feeling so alone if she finds the mother who left years ago. And Malia fears the arrival of her new baby sister will forever change the family she loves. When the girls each find a mysterious treasure box in their library and begin to fill the box with their own precious things, they start to feel less alone. But it's up to Grace, Jada, and Malia to take the treasures and turn them into something more: true friendship.

Moo: a novel

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.


When his father enlists in the military and makes him return his beloved pet fox to the wild, Peter, who has been sent to live with his grandfather hundreds of miles away, embarks on a journey filled with astonishing discoveries in order to be reunited with his fox.

Save Me a Seat

Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems--but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.


When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video-gaming--but before he knows it other kids are taking it seriously, and soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service, so the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.

The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend

Eight-year-old Steve Satlow is thrilled when Jackie Robinson moves into his Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948, although many of his neighbors are not, and when Steve actually meets his hero he is even more excited--and worried that a misunderstanding over a Christmas tree could damage his new friendship.

The Lost Cipher

Lucas’s father has recently died in Afghanistan, and to help him cope, his grandmother sends him to Camp Kawani, a camp for kids who have lost a parent. While there, he hears about the local legend of Thomas Jefferson Beale. Beale supposedly hid a hoard of gold in the mountains 200 years before. The location is encrypted in a set of codes no one has ever been able to decipher. When Lucas and his newfound friends decide to track down the treasure, they embark on a mission that could be too dangerous to survive.

The Peculiar Haunting of Thelma Bee

Eleven-year-old Thelma Bee is a budding scientist who has curiosity and adventure in her blood, but when a ghost kidnaps her father her only clues for getting her dad back are a strange jewelry box and the word "Return" whispered to her by the ghost.

Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas

Vivien Thomas’s greatest dream was to attend college to study medicine. But after the stock market crashed in 1929, Vivien lost all his savings. Then he heard about a job opening at the Vanderbilt University medical school under the supervision of Dr. Alfred Blalock. Vivien knew that the all-white school would never admit him as a student, but he hoped working there meant he was getting closer to his dream.

Towers Falling

While learning about September 11th, fifth grader Dèja (born after the attacks) realizes how much the events still color her world.

Weekends with Max and His Dad

Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog-walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home.

Welcome to Wonderland

Eleven-year-old P. T. Wilkie may be the greatest storyteller alive. But he knows one thing for a fact: the Wonderland Motel is the best place a kid could ever live! All-you-can-eat poolside ice cream! A snack machine in the living room! A frog slide! A giant rampaging alligator! (Okay, that last one may or may not be made up.) There's only one thing the Wonderland doesn't have, though—customers. And if the Wonderland doesn't get them soon, P.T. and his friend Gloria may have to say goodbye to their beloved motel forever.