This year our son has chosen to read several of the 2010 Nutmeg Award contenders. His teacher gives enthusiastic book talks for these Connecticut-based-prize nominees. At some point, children vote on the best book of the year. Every state has something similar. The goal is to encourage the reading of high-quality literature.
The Nutmegs are for fiction. I'd like to see some nonfiction in there eventually since many kids prefer it. But that's not part of the picture right now.
Archer's Quest, by Linda Sue Park
Attack of the Turtle, by Drew Carlson
A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray, by Ann M. Martin. "Mom, you'll like this book, but it has a sad part," says Junior. (A follow-up was just released: Everything for a Dog.)
Double Identity, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Drita, My Homegirl, by Jenny Lombard
The Ghost's Grave, by Peg Kehret
Paint the Wind, by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Rules, by Cynthia Lord
The Stumptown Kid, by Carol Gorman and Ron Findley
The Year of the Dog, by Grace Lin (The sequel to this novel is The Year of the Rat.)