2019-2020 SC Children's Book Award Nominees

Amina's Voice

Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.

Bolivar

Sybil knows that there is something off about her next door neighbor, but she can't seem to get anyone to believe her. Everyone is so busy going about their days in the busy streets of New York City that they don't notice Bolivar. They don't notice his odd height, his tiny arms, or his long tail. No one but Sybil sees that Bolivar is a dinosaur. When an unlikely parking ticket pulls Bolivar into an adventure from City Hall to New York’s Natural History Museum, he must finally make a choice: Bolivar can continue to live unnoticed, or he can let the city see who he really is.

Chester and Gus

Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true—until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn’t even want Chester in the room. Chester’s not sure how to help Gus since this isn’t exactly the job he trained for—but he’s determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person.

Confessions from the Principal's Kid

During the school day, fifth-grader Allie West is an outsider. Everyone knows the principal's kid might tattle to her mom! But after school, Allie is an insider. She's friendly with the janitor, knows the shortest routes around the building, and hangs out with the Afters, a group of misfits whose parents are teachers at their school. Although Allie secretly loves her insider life, she's sick of being an outsider—so she vows to join the Pentagon, the popular math team led by her ex-best friend. But can Allie change her status without betraying where she really belongs?

Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes

When her little sister Leslie is almost killed by a stack of newspapers, Annabelle knows it was time to do something about her mom’s hoarding problem. But “almost killed” is an exaggeration, and so is “time to do something.” In the years since mom started collecting soup cans, old linens, empty milk bottles and papers of all description, much has been shouted but nothing done. Dad usually retreats to his study when he’s had enough, big brother Chad takes off in his truck, Annabelle checks and double-checks her resolutely-bare room. The brunt falls on Leslie, who has been having dreams so intense they make her sick. After Dad departs, two weeks ahead of schedule, for his annual lecture trip to England, the situation gets so bad Leslie calls Grandma Nora. Grandma marches in like a drill sergeant, determined to clean up once and for all. The life of the family is at stake!

Grand Canyon

Home to an astonishing variety of plants and animals that have lived and evolved within its walls for millennia, the Grand Canyon is much more than just a hole in the ground. Follow a father and daughter as they make their way through the cavernous wonder, discovering life both present and past.

Granted

In a magical land called the Haven lives a young fairy named Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets. Ophelia is no ordinary fairy—she is a Granter: one of the select fairies whose job it is to venture out into the world and grant the wishes of unsuspecting humans every day. On a typical day, only a small fraction of the millions of potential wishes get granted. Today, however, is anything but typical. Because today, Ophelia is going to get her very first wish-granting assignment. And she’s about to discover that figuring out how to truly give someone what they want takes much more than a handful of fairy dust.

Joplin, Wishing

While cleaning out her reclusive grandfather’s house, Joplin discovers pieces of a broken platter in a cookie tin. After having the platter repaired, Joplin wishes that she could both find a friend at school, and befriend the girl pictured in the platter. The next day, Joplin befriends a boy named Barrett, and also notices a girl outside her apartment. A girl who looks remarkably like the girl in the platter… The girl introduces herself as Sofie, and she has a terrible secret. Cursed to grant wishes for the owner of the platter for all of time, she has been trapped for centuries. Joplin and Barrett vow to help her, but freeing Sofie is more complicated than they could have imagined, and the three friends end up against a sinister foe who could put them all in terrible danger.

Let's Pretend We Never Met

If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, sixth grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent. But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met—she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze. Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes?

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Featuring 40 trailblazing black women in the world's history, this book educates and inspires as it relates true stories of women who broke boundaries and exceeded all expectations.

Mango Delight

What happens when your BFF becomes your EFF . . . EX-Friend-Forever? When seventh-grader Mango Delight Fuller accidentally breaks her BFF Brooklyn’s new cell phone, her life falls apart. She loses her friends and her spot on the track team, and even costs her father his job as a chef. But Brooklyn’s planned revenge—sneakily signing up Mango to audition for the school musical—backfires when Mango not only wins the lead role, but becomes a YouTube sensation and attracts the attention of the school’s queen bee, Hailey Jo. Hailey Jo is from a VERY wealthy family, and expects everyone to do her bidding. Soon Mango finds herself forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and, just as important, the kind of friend she wants to be.

Real Friends

Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top...even if it means bullying others. Now every day is like a roller coaster for Shannon. Will she and Adrienne stay friends? Can she stand up for herself? And is she in The Group—or out?

Sergeant Reckless

When a group of US Marines fighting in the Korean War found a bedraggled mare, they wondered if she could be trained to as a packhorse. They had no idea that the skinny, underfed horse had one of the biggest and bravest hearts they’d ever known. And one of the biggest appetites! Soon Reckless showed herself more than willing to carry ammunition too heavy for the soldiers to haul. As cannons thundered and shells flew through the air, she marched into battle—again and again—becoming the only animal ever to officially hold military rank—becoming Sgt. Reckless—and receive two Purple Hearts.

Spirit Hunters

Harper doesn’t trust her new home from the moment she steps inside, and the rumors are that the Raine family’s new house is haunted. Harper isn’t sure she believes those rumors, until her younger brother, Michael, starts acting strangely. The whole atmosphere gives Harper a sense of déjà vu, but she can’t remember why. She knows that the memories she’s blocking will help make sense of her brother’s behavior and the strange and threatening sensations she feels in this house, but will she be able to put the pieces together in time?

Stef Soto, Taco Queen

Estefania "Stef" Soto is itching to shake off the onion-and-cilantro embrace of Tia Perla, her family's taco truck. She wants nothing more than for Papi to get a normal job and for Tia Perla to be a distant memory. Then maybe everyone at school will stop seeing her as the Taco Queen. But when her family's livelihood is threatened, and it looks like her wish will finally come true, Stef surprises everyone (including herself) by becoming the truck's unlikely champion. In this fun and heartfelt novel, Stef will discover what matters most and ultimately embrace an identity that even includes old Tia Perla.

Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood's Revenge

Max has always been a whiz with electronics (just take a look at her turbo-charged wheelchair). But when a hacker starts a slanderous Facebook page for her grandpa, Max isn’t sure she has the skills to take him down. The messages grow increasingly sinister, and Max fears that this is more than just a bad joke. Here’s the thing: Max has grown up in the shadow of Thornwood Manor, an abandoned mansion that is rumored to be haunted by its original owner, Hargrove Thornwood. It is said that his ghost may be biding his time until he can exact revenge on the town of Blue Creek. Why? Well, it’s complicated. To call him a jerk would be an understatement. When the hacking escalates, suddenly it looks to Max like this could really be Thornwood’s Revenge. If it is, these messages are just the beginning—and the town could be in danger.

The Exact Location of Home

Kirby “Zig” Zigonski lives for the world of simple circuits, light bulbs, buzzers, and motors. Electronics are, after all, much more predictable than most people–especially his father, who he hasn’t seen in over a year. When his dad’s latest visit is canceled with no explanation and his mom seems to be hiding something, Zig turns to his best friend Gianna and a new gizmo–a garage sale GPS unit–for help. Convinced that his dad is leaving clues around town to explain his absence, Zig sets out to find him. Following one clue after another, logging mile after mile, Zig soon discovers that people aren’t always what they seem . . . and sometimes, there’s more than one set of coordinates for home.

The Van Gogh Deception

Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne in this riveting middle-grade mystery thriller. When a young boy is discovered in Washington DC’s National Gallery without any recollection of who he is, so begins a high-stakes race to unravel the greatest mystery of all: his identity. As the stakes continue to rise, the boy must piece together the disjointed clues of his origins while using his limited knowledge to stop one of the greatest art frauds ever attempted. Digitally interactive, this breathtaking museum mystery offers QR codes woven throughout the book that bring renowned paintings to readers’ fingertips.

Wishtree

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with a crow named Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this wishtree watches over the neighborhood. You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's experience as a wishtree is more important than ever. Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

You Go First

Twelve-year-old Charlotte Lockard and eleven-year-old Ben Boxer are separated by more than a thousand miles. On the surface, their lives seem vastly different—Charlotte lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while Ben is in the small town of Lanester, Louisiana. Charlotte wants to be a geologist and keeps a rock collection in her room. Ben is obsessed with Harry Potter, presidential history, and recycling. But the two have more in common than they think. They’re both highly gifted. They’re both experiencing family turmoil. And they both sit alone at lunch. Over the course of a week, Charlotte and Ben—online friends connected only by a Scrabble game—will intersect in unexpected ways, as they struggle to navigate the turmoil of middle school. This engaging story about growing up and finding your place in the world by the winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature will appeal to fans of Rebecca Stead and Rita Williams-Garcia.