2013 Rebecca Caudill Master List (Part 2 of 2)


Schools and libraries in Illinois promote the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award. It is a children's choice program for readers in grades four through eight. The 2013 Rebecca Caudill master list was released on Monday.

The purposes of the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers' Book Award are:

To encourage children and young adults to read for personal satisfaction.

To develop a statewide awareness of outstanding literature for children and young people and to promote a desire for literacy.

To encourage cooperation among Illinois agencies providing educational and library service to young people.

I divided the list into two posts. Click here to view part one.


Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur [Random House | 2009]

Aubrey has suffered an unbelievable loss, and goes to live with her grandmother in Vermont in order to heal. There she makes new friends, learns to cope with what has happened, and begins to figure out how to move on. Readers will fall in love with Aubrey from page one, and hold their breath until the very end, when she has to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

Read this Q&A with Suzanne LaFluer.


Inside Out and Back Again by Thanha Lai [HarperCollins | 2011]

Travis Jonker and I named Inside Out and Back Again a best book of 2011.

My personal copy of Inside Out and Back Again looks like it was attacked by a pack of neon Post-it notes. Every syllable, every word, every punctuation mark screamed, "Notice me. Underline me. Re-read me. I'm important." I wanted to travel back to 1975 and help ten-year-old HÃ as she and her family traveled from war-torn Saigon to Alabama. If only I could have protected her from the insults and ignorance of her new classmates and neighbors. Many times while reading, I imagined myself as Ha's school librarian, offering her a safe and encouraging environment. The passages I marked and underlined stayed with me for months–like these:

In the distance
lighten the sky,
falls like rain.

yet within ears,
within eyes.

Not that far away
after all.

One cannot justify war
unless each side
flaunts its own
blind conviction.

Brother Quang says
add an s to nouns
to mean more than one
even if there's already an s
sitting there.


All day
I practice
squeezing hisses
through my teeth.

Whoever invented
must have loved snakes.

They chase me.
They yell Boo-Da, Boo-Daâ at me.
They pull my arm hair.
They call me Pancake Face.
They clap at me in class.

This novel-in-verse will lead to thoughtful and important discussions about war, immigration, grief, and hope. Thank you, Thanhha Lai, for telling Ha's story.

Watch Thanhha Lai's acceptance speech for the National Book Award.

"I tell everyone, do not go into writing unless you can handle sitting still for hours and hours and hours. It’s shockingly boring. Like anything else, what you see is merely the end result of hours of practice, be it shooting hoops from midcourt or playing Chopin." -Thanha Lai


Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer [Delacorte | 2010]

Gustave doesn't want to move from the exciting city to the boring countryside, far from his cousin Jean-Paul and his best friend, the mischievous Marcel. But he has no choice. It is March of 1940, and Paris is not a safe place for Jews.
When Paris is captured by the Nazis, Gustave knows that Marcel, Jean-Paul, and their families must make it out of the occupied zone. And when he learns that his new friend Nicole works for the French Resistance, he comes up with a plan that just might work. But going into Occupied France is a risky thing to do when you are Jewish. And coming back alive? That is nearly impossible.

Black Radishes is included in Random House's guide about "Discovering family Stories and Histories."


Trash by Andy Mulligan [Random House | 2010]

In an unnamed Third World country, in the not-so-distant future, three “dumpsite boys” make a living picking through the mountains of garbage on the outskirts of a large city. One unlucky-lucky day, Raphael finds something very special and very mysterious. So mysterious that he decides to keep it, even when the city police offer a handsome reward for its return. That decision brings with it terrifying consequences, and soon the dumpsite boys must use all of their cunning and courage to stay ahead of their pursuers. It’s up to Raphael, Gardo, and Rat—boys who have no education, no parents, no homes, and no money—to solve the mystery and right a terrible wrong.

Andy Mulligan answers questions about Trash.

Andy Mulligan appears on NDTV.


As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins [Greenwillow | 2010]

About the book:






He'll get there.

Won't he?

Download the discussion guide for As Easy as Falling off the Face of the Earth.


Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes [Little, Brown | 2010]

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. She doesn't have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like the other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya's visions show a powerful hurricane--Katrina--fast approaching, it's up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

Ninth Ward was featured on Al Roker's Book Club.


Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai [Simon and Schuster | 2010]

In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind.
Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

Download the Shooting Kabul study guide.


Smile by Raina Telgemeier [Scholastic | 2010]

Travis Jonker and I named Smile a best book of 2010.

Smile rarely takes a nap on the shelf. Hardcore fans browse libraries and bookshops, waiting to tell unsuspecting patrons about Telgemeier's graphic memoir. I recently witnessed a 5th grader put it in a friend's hand, guide her toward the circulation desk, and, in a loving manner, yell: YOU MUST CHECK THIS OUT NOW AND TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE MORNING!

The uniqueness of Smile is its ability to be two different books to two different readers. To those who choose Smile knowing it is a memoir, it’s a riveting tale of Raina Telgemeier's life. To those who do not realize it is a memoir, Smile is a fascinating tale of Raina, written by an author who, coincidentally, shares the same name. A perfect, well-crafted story.

Three questions with Raina and Dave Roman.

Read Raina's webcomics.

Create your own Smile graphic novel.

Raina accepts the 2010 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for Nonfiction for Smile.

Download Using Graphic Novels with Children and Teens: A Guide for Teachers and Librarians.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles [Scholastic | 2010]

"It is hard for kids to see themselves as a character in their own stories." -Deborah Wiles

Travis Jonker and I named Countdown a best book of 2010.

A playbook in creating and sustaining a mood, Countdown feels like an event as soon as you crack the cover. Actually, it feels like a very specific event. Following 12-year-old Franny and her military family over the 13 day Cuban Missile Crisis, Wiles steadily ratchets up the tension with the help of iconic photos, evocative quotes, and bios of key figures. The first of a planned 60's trilogy, Countdown is a documentary novel that captures a time and place. Put the needle in the groove and enjoy. –Travis Jonker

Deborah signs a copy of Countdown.

Vicky Smith interviews Deborah Wiles about Countdown.

Scholastic created a fantastic discussion guide for Countdown. I used it with my book club.


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia [Amistad | 2010]

Travis Jonker and I named One Crazy Summer a best children's book of 2010.

No singular element of writing can connect reader to story as much as voice, and Once Crazy Summer’s protagonist, 11-year-old Delphine, is the voice of the year. This is a testament to the skill of author Rita Willliams-Garcia, who endows Delphine with humor, honest emotion, and authentic perspective. Readers will never question her credibility as a kid. The story ain’t too shabby either. It’s 1968 and Delphine and her two sisters have been sent to Oakland, California to spend the summer with their estranged mother, Cecile, who may have ties to the Black Panther party. Upon arrival it is apparent that Cecile is not happy to see her children. Delphine and her sisters struggle to find their way (and their mother’s acceptance) during this volatile time in American history. With a crystal-clear voice, One Crazy Summer announces itself as one of the year’s best. –Travis Jonker

Rita Williams Garcia discusses One Crazy Summer at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Download the One Crazy Summer discussion guide.


  1. these sound real good...cant wait to read them all

  2. I really enjoy reading, so these book almost make me jump for joy since they all sound so marvolous

  3. i really want to read inside out and back again!!

  4. I really want to read One Crazy Summer!!!

  5. I read all of the caudill books... so good! :)
    Those are good previews!


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