2005 Medal Winner
The 2005 Newbery Medal winner is Kira-Kira written by Cynthia Kadohata, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster.
Two sisters lie on their backs, watching the stars and repeating the Japanese word for "glittering" - "kira-kira." Like this quiet opening scene, Kadohata's tenderly nuanced novel glitters with plain and poignant words that describe the strong love within a Japanese American family from the point of view of younger sister Katie. Personal challenges and family tragedy are set against the oppressive social climate of the South during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Graceful prose illuminates complex relationships, most notably between the two sisters. Katie's remarkably authentic voice changes to reflect both her deeper understandings and her growing sense of self over a span of almost 10 years.
"With compelling quietude that makes room for both pathos and humor, this luminous novel takes us on Katie Takeshima's journey through a childhood punctuated by prejudice, poverty and family tragedy," said Award Committee Chair Susan Faust. "Young readers will be drawn into a narrative that radiates hope from the inside out."
2005 Honor Books
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (G.P. Putnam's Sons/a division of Penguin Young Readers Group)
Alcatraz is the evocative backdrop for Al Capone Does My Shirts -- a highly original novel set in 1935. Twelve-year-old Moose Flanagan tells about his travails on "the Rock," where his father has taken a job. Hilarious antics are deftly interwoven with themes of isolation and imprisonment, compassion and connection.
The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights" by Russell Freedman (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
The Voice that Challenged a Nation meticulously explores resonant themes with the masterful structure of a musical composition. Eloquent, economic prose sheds a personal light on one woman's sometimes reluctant role as a symbol in the struggle against racism and her calling to share an illustrious gift.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin)
Set in Maine in 1912 and propelled by a tragic historical event, Schmidt's powerfully haunting novel probes a forbidden friendship between a preacher's son and a dark-skinned girl from a nearby island. Steeped in imagery and laced with surprising humor, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy explores powerlessness, possibility and the profound impact individuals can make.
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