U.S. A. National Book Awards-Young People's Literature

View all American Children's Awards book lists; This list was last updated on 11/5/2014
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On March 16, 1950, publishers, editors, writers, and critics gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City to celebrate the first annual National Book Awards, an award given to writers by writers. The National Book Awards (NBA) quickly established a reputation for recognizing literary excellence.

The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. visit the  National Book Foundation website for more details. 

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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release date: Jan 01, 2020
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Many Stones
Berry Morgan's older sister Laura was the one who got along best with their father, even after he moved out. Their interest in world events and action kept Berry on the outside. After college, Laura decided to work as a school volunteer in Capetown, South Africa-and, in a nightmare straight from the headlines, was brutally murdered. A year and a half later, Mr. Morgan arranges a trip to South Africa, so they can attend Laura's memorial service. It is a trip that, if they let it, will transform the two of them, and may break the long silence of grief so that Berry and her father can finally begin to talk with each other.

"In plain words, as hard as stones, this small, riveting book connects the anguish in one family with the struggle of a country to come to terms with its savage past." (Booklist, starred review)
release date: Oct 01, 2001
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The Book of the Lion
A National Book Award nominee!

Returning to the same era of his "In a Dark Wood", Cadnum's majestic novel--part mystery, part history--chronicles the pageantry and brutality of the Crusades under King Richard.

Edmund, a young apprentice, is awaiting punishment as a counterfeiter when a knight intervenes on his behalf--and compels Edmund to join Richard Lionheart's forces in the Holy Land. There, amidst the savagery of the twelfth-century Crusades, Edmund learns both courage and compassion, and discovers that cruelty is sometimes considered the will of Heaven. Set in medieval England and the war-torn shores of the Middle East, Cadnum's tale weaves together a rich tapestry of storms at sea, the brutality of hand-to-hand combat, and one of the classic horse and lance battles in recorded history--the Battle of Arsuf.
release date: Apr 09, 2002
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Forgotten Fire
A National Book Award Finalist.

In 1915 Vahan Kenderian is living a life of privilege as the youngest son of a wealthy Armenian family in Turkey. This secure world is shattered when some family members are whisked away while others are murdered before his eyes.

Vahan loses his home and family, and is forced to live a life he would never have dreamed of in order to survive. Somehow Vahan's incredible strength and spirit help him endure, even knowing that each day could be his last.
release date: Jan 01, 2002
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Homeless Bird
National Book Award Winner
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Like many girls her age in India, thirteen-year-old Koly is getting married. When she discovers that the husband her parents have chosen for her is a sickly boy with wicked parents, Koly wishes that she could flee. But on her wedding day, her fate is sealed. Then Koly's life takes an unexpected turn. Finding herself in a city of widows begging for food, this rare young woman sets out to forge her own future.

release date: Dec 01, 2002
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The Tiger Rising
FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Eleven-year-old Rob Horton, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.
by: An Na
release date: Jan 01, 2001
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Step from Heaven
2001 National Book Award Nominee

When she is five, Young Ju Park and her family move from Korea to California. During the flight, they climb so far into the sky she concludes they are on their way to Heaven, that Heaven must be in America. Heaven is also where her grandfather is. When she learns the distinction, she is so disappointed she wants to go home to her grandmother. Trying to console his niece, Uncle Tim suggests that maybe America can be "a step from Heaven." Life in America, however, presents problems for Young Ju's family. Her father becomes depressed, angry, and violent. Jobs are scarce and money is even scarcer. When her brother is born, Young Ju experiences firsthand her father's sexism as he confers favored status upon the boy who will continue to carry the Park name. In a wrenching climactic scene, her father beats her mother so severely that Young Ju calls the police. Soon afterward, her father goes away and the family begins to heal.
release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Hush
Evie Thomas is not who she used to be. Once she had a best friend, a happy home and a loving grandmother living nearby. Once her name was Toswiah.

Now, everything is different. Her family has been forced to move to a new place and change their identities. But that's not all that has changed. Her once lively father has become depressed and quiet. Her mother leaves teaching behind and clings to a new-found religion. Her only sister is making secret plans to leave.

And Evie, struggling to find her way in a new city where kids aren't friendly and the terrain is as unfamiliar as her name, wonders who she is.

Jaqueline Woodson weaves a fascinating portrait of a thoughtful young girl's coming of age in a world turned upside down
release date: Apr 16, 2002
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19 Varieties of Gazelle

"Tell me how to live so many lives at once ..."

Fowzi, who beats everyone at dominoes; Ibtisam, who wanted to be a doctor; Abu Mahmoud, who knows every eggplant and peach in his West Bank garden; mysterious Uncle Mohammed, who moved to the mountain; a girl in a red sweater dangling a book bag; children in velvet dresses who haunt the candy bowl at the party; Baba Kamalyari, age 71; Mr. Dajani and his swans; Sitti Khadra, who never lost her peace inside.

Maybe they have something to tell us.

Naomi Shihab Nye has been writing about being Arab-American, about Jerusalem, about the West Bank, about family all her life. These new and collected poems of the Middle East -- sixty in all -- appear together here for the first time.

release date: Jan 01, 2002
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Feed
Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world — and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.
release date: Jan 01, 2002
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The House of the Scorpion
Series: National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature, Newbery Honor Book, Printz Honor Book

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested.
His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium--a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster--except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.
release date: Jan 01, 2003
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The River Between Us
Richard Peck is a master of stories about people in transition, but perhaps never before has he told a tale of such dramatic change as this one, set during the first year of the Civil War. The whole country is changing in 1861-even the folks from a muddy little Illinois settlement on the banks of the Mississippi. Here, fifteen-year-old Tilly Pruitt frets over the fact that her brother is dreaming of being a soldier and that her sister is prone to supernatural visions. A boy named Curry could possibly become a distraction.

Then a steamboat whistle splits the air. The Rob Roy from New Orleans docks at the landing, and off the boat step two remarkable figures: a vibrant, commanding young lady in a rustling hoop skirt and a darker, silent woman in a plain cloak, with a bandanna wrapped around her head. Who are these two fascinating strangers? And is the darker woman a slave, standing now on the free soil of Illinois? When Tilly's mother invites the women to board at her house, the whole world shifts for the Pruitts and for their visitors as well.

Within a page-turning tale of mystery, adventure, and the civilian Civil War experience, Richard Peck has spun a breathtaking portrait of the lifelong impact that one person can have on another. This is a novel of countless riches.

release date: Jan 01, 2003
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An American Plague
1793, Philadelphia. The nation's capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown . . .

In a powerful, dramatic narrative, critically acclaimed author Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city's residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia's free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city--and all his papers--while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever's causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege.

Thoroughly researched, generously illustrated with fascinating archival prints, and unflinching in its discussion of medical details, this book offers a glimpse into the conditions of American cities at the time of our nation's birth while drawing timely parallels to modern-day epidemics. Bibliography, map, index.
release date: Jan 01, 2004
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Harlem Stomp!
When it was released in 2004, Harlem Stomp! was the first trade book to bring the Harlem Renaissance alive for young adults! Meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated, the book is a veritable time capsule packed with poetry, prose, photographs, full-color paintings, and reproductions of historical documents. Now, after more than three years in hardcover, three starred reviews and a National Book Award nomination, Harlem Stomp! is being released in paperback.
release date: Mar 01, 2005
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Each Little Bird That Sings
Ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger has attended 247 funerals. But that's not surprising, considering that her family runs the town funeral home. And even though Great-uncle Edisto keeled over with a heart attack and Great-great-aunt Florentine dropped dead--just like that--six months later, Comfort knows how to deal with loss, or so she thinks. She's more concerned with avoiding her crazy cousin Peach and trying to figure out why her best friend, Declaration, suddenly won't talk to her. Life is full of surprises. And the biggest one of all is learning what it takes to handle them.

Deborah Wiles has created a unique, funny, and utterly real cast of characters in this heartfelt, and quintessentially Southern coming-of-age novel. Comfort will charm young readers with her wit, her warmth, and her struggles as she learns about life, loss, and ultimately, triumph.
release date: Oct 31, 2006
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Autobiography of My Dead Brother

The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . .

As Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of Rise, he tries to make sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood plagued by drive-bys, vicious gangs, and abusive cops.

release date: Jan 01, 2006
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Inexcusable
“The world needs this story. And you will want to read it. Trust me.” —Laurie Halse Anderson on this taut, thought-provoking novel that deals with rape from the accused's point of view, repackaged as part of the distinguished Atheneum Collection.

Keir is a good guy. He is a senior in high school, well liked, and respected by his friends and family. So how could he be a rapist? Yet that is what Gigi, the love of his life, says he is. Keir doesn't understand. He loves Gigi. He would never do anything to hurt her. But apparently, he has. Alternating between the present day and flashbacks, Keir recounts the events that led up to his night with Gigi…and discovers something inexcusable.

Brilliantly crafted and much acclaimed, this is a riveting tale of truth, lies, and responsibility—a tale every teenager should read. 
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
With over one million copies sold, this series of modern classics about the charming Penderwick family from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestseller Jeanne Birdsall is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager.

The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn't quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick's sister has decided it's time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It's high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

Jin Wang starts at a new school where he's the only Chinese-American student. When a boy from Taiwan joins his class, Jin doesn't want to be associated with an FOB like him. Jin just wants to be an all-American boy, because he's in love with an all-American girl. Danny is an all-American boy: great at basketball, popular with the girls. But his obnoxious Chinese cousin Chin-Kee's annual visit is such a disaster that it ruins Danny's reputation at school, leaving him with no choice but to transfer somewhere he can start all over again. The Monkey King has lived for thousands of years and mastered the arts of kung fu and the heavenly disciplines. He's ready to join the ranks of the immortal gods in heaven. But there's no place in heaven for a monkey. Each of these characters cannot help himself alone, but how can they possibly help each other? They're going to have to find a way―if they want fix the disasters their lives have become.

American Born Chinese is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, the winner of the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album: New, an Eisner Award nominee for Best Coloring, a 2007 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, and a New York Times bestseller.

Other List with This Book:
release date: Jan 01, 2006
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The Rules of Survival
For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, vicious mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses Murdoch coming to a child?s rescue in a convenience store, and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope. When, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt?s mother, life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitably breaks up with their mother, Matt knows he needs to take action. But can he call upon his hero? Or will he have to take measures into his own hands? A heart-wrenching portrait of a family in crisis, this is Nancy Werlin?s most compulsively readable novel yet.
release date: Jan 01, 2006
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Sold
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family's crops, Lakshmi's stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.

He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at "Happiness House" full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.

An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family's debt-then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.

Lakshmi's life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother's words-Simply to endure is to triumph-and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision-will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?

Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.
release date: Oct 14, 2008
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The Kingdom on the Waves
Volume II of the National Book Award Winner and NEW YORK TIMES bestseller — a stunning resolution to the epic tale that "fascinates, appalls,
condemns, and enthralls."


Fearing a death sentence, Octavian and his tutor, Dr. Trefusis, escape through rising tides and pouring rain to find shelter in British-occupied Boston. Sundered from all he knows — the College of Lucidity, the rebel cause — Octavian hopes to find safe harbor. Instead, he is soon to learn of Lord Dunmore's proclamation offering freedom to slaves who join the counterrevolutionary forces.

In Volume II of his unparalleled masterwork, M. T. Anderson recounts Octavian's experiences as the Revolutionary War explodes around him, thrusting him into intense battles and tantalizing him with elusive visions of liberty. Ultimately, this astonishing narrative escalates to a startling, deeply satisfying climax, while reexamining our national origins in a singularly provocative light.
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Story of a Girl
I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy's Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o'clock on a Tuesday night. Tommy was seventeen and the supposed friend of my brother, Darren.
I didn't love him.
I'm not sure I even liked him.


In a moment, Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," Deanna longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom, and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany, and redemption.
release date: Jul 01, 2007
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The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
release date: Jan 01, 2008
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Absolute True Diary Of A Part-time Indian
Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.
release date: Dec 21, 2010
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Jumped

Acclaimed author Rita Williams-Garcia gives readers an intimate, gritty portrayal of three very different teens on the day when everything collides.

Trina: "Hey," I say, though I don't really know them. It's okay if they don't speak. I know how it is. They can't all be Trina.

Dominique: Some stupid little flit cuts right between us and is like, "Hey." I slam my fist into my other hand because she's as good as jumped.

Leticia: Girl fights are ugly. Girl fights are personal. And who's to say I wasn't seeing it from the wrong angle?

release date: Jan 01, 2009
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Lips Touch: Three Times
A girl who's always been in the shadows finds herself pursued by the unbelievably attractive new boy at school, who may or may not be the death of her. Another girl grows up mute because of a curse placed on her by a vindictive spirit, and later must decide whether to utter her first words to the boy she loves and risk killing everyone who hears her if the curse is real. And a third girl discovers that the real reason for her transient life with her mother has to do with belonging ― literally belonging ― to another world entirely, full of dreaded creatures who can transform into animals, and whose queen keeps little girls as personal pets until they grow to childbearing age. From a writer of unparalleled imagination and emotional insight, three stories about the deliciousness of wanting and waiting for that moment when lips touch.
release date: Nov 22, 2011
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Charles and Emma

Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species, his revolutionary tract on evolution and the fundamental ideas involved, in 1859. Nearly 150 years later, the theory of evolution continues to create tension between the scientific and religious communities. Challenges about teaching the theory of evolution in schools occur annually all over the country. This same debate raged within Darwin himself, and played an important part in his marriage: his wife, Emma, was quite religious, and her faith gave Charles a lot to think about as he worked on a theory that continues to spark intense debates.

Deborah Heiligman's new biography of Charles Darwin is a thought-provoking account of the man behind evolutionary theory: how his personal life affected his work and vice versa. The end result is an engaging exploration of history, science, and religion for young readers.

Charles and Emma is a 2009 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.

release date: Dec 01, 2008
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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father's "Bunny Rabbit." A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school. Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. Frankie Laundau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer. Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society. Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew is lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done. Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way. Chosen as a 2009 Michael L. Printz honor book
release date: May 06, 2008
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The Underneath

There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.

A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath.

Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love -- and its opposite, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.
release date: Jan 01, 2010
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Chains
If an entire nation could seek its freedom, why not a girl?

As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

From acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson comes this compelling, impeccably researched novel that shows the lengths we can go to cast off our chains, both physical and spiritual.
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