The 1999 Newbery Medal winner is Holes by Louis Sachar (Farrar Straus Giroux).
Sachar's "Holes" tells the story of Stanley Yelnats. The heir to his family's curse of bad luck, Stanley is convicted of a crime he didn't commit. He serves his sentence at Camp Green Lake, a dry, flat wasteland where the warden assigns each inmate the task of digging one deep hole every day. Hole by hole, Stanley and his friend Zero dig their destiny.
Committee Chair Virginia McKee said "Holes" is "masterfully unified in character, setting and theme. As timeless as folklore and as outrageously funny as a tall tale, "Holes" ultimately charts the heroic journey of two very real boys."
Listen to Louis Sachar’s Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech [Link downloads MP3 audio file/28MB]
A Long Way from Chicago
by Richard Peck (Dial Books for Young Readers)
A boy, Joey, recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister Mary Alice during the Great Depression to visit their extraordinary grandmother. Richard Peck has created a memorable world filled with characters who are larger than life and twice as entertaining.