Thursday, August 02, 2007

Young Readers Choice Award Winner

Part two of my library flyer reading challenge: The Pacific Northwest Library Association's Young Reader's Choice Award 2007 nominees in the junior (4th-6th grade) category, listed here. According to the The Young Reader's Choice Award website, book nominations are taken only from children, teachers, parents and librarians in the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Nominated titles are those published 3 years prior to the award year. Books are judged on popularity with readers, and only 4th to 12th graders residing in the Pacific Northwest are eligible to vote.

I appreciate that the books must have been published three years prior to the year of nomination for two reasons: First because it gives many children a chance to read and fall in love with the books; second for the more practical reason that if they're not brand new it's much easier to find the books on the shelf. I've read two titles on the list: Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy(Jenny Nimmo) and Peter and the Starcatchers(Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson), which I read aloud last fall (short review in this post).

Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balliet.
Chasing Vermeer begins in fairly typical children's lit fashion when two kids, Calder and Petra, who don't quite fit in with the crowd, form a friendship. Suddenly they're swept up in a series of coincidences and a mystery that they must solve in order to help their favorite teacher. The story is entertaining and well-written, but what really makes this book is that it's also intelligent and thought-provoking. It encourages the reader to think about such issues as the nature of art, really looking at things versus seeing, fate and coincidence, and different ways of viewing and learning about the world. There's a secret code to decipher, information about the life and paintings of Johannes Vermeer, and a puzzle hidden in the pictures. Chasing Vermeer is a fun and smart adventure of a book.

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