I normally don’t pay a lot of attention to book awards, but I saw that this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature was given to a fantasy novel. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if any of the other award contenders piqued my interest. Like most book awards, the finalists focused on pretty serious topics, but I found several I had never heard of that are worth recommending. Here they are.
The Winner: “Goblin Secrets” by William Alexander
Set in the fantastic city of Zombay, “Goblin Secrets” is about a boy named Rownie who falls in with a Goblin acting troupe. There is a lot going on with the plot as Rownie and the Goblins search for his missing brother, deal with the machinations of the devious Mayor and Graba the witch and try to prevent the flooding of the city. The story is comparable to the work of Diana Wynne Jones and I have to give Alexander credit for wrapping it up in one book. Recommended for younger teens.
“Bomb” by Steve Sheinkin
The story of the atomic bomb is filled with tons of intrigue as the major world powers raced to develop the most powerful weapon ever created. This is a nonfiction book, but the author does a great job of telling it like an exciting novel. I highly recommend this for fans of historical fiction or history in general.
“Endangered” by Eliot Schrefer
Sophie didn’t want to travel to the Congo to visit her mom’s animal sanctuary. But when she gets there, she rescues a baby bonobo and becomes more involved in their care. Unfortunately, a revolution breaks out and the sanctuary is attacked, forcing Sophie and several of the animals to escape into the jungle. Recommended for fans of survival stories and animal lovers.
Enjoy the holiday season and have a happy new year everyone.