Nominees for 2012-2013
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Nominees are introduced through excerpts from the 2013-2014 Golden Sower Award Manual

Intermediate Nominee List || Young Adult Nominee List


Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle
Arbor Day Square by Kathryn O. Galbraith; illustrated by Cyd Moore

In the nineteenth century as prairie towns start to spring up, the people who live there know something missing. That something is trees, for climbing, shade, fruit, winter fires, birds, or beauty.
The people take up a collection from all the people living in the town, and when they have enough they order fifteen trees.

When the trees arrive, Katie thinks they are too small but her Papa tells her they will grow. Papa and Katie plant a special tree to remember Mama.

The town has so much fun planting those trees that they promise to do it again next year. They do this year after year on Arbor Day and it continues through generations.

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle
Blackout written and illustrated by John Rocco

A city family finds new opportunities to bond when the lights go out on a summer’s night during a power outage gazing at stars together on the rooftop or celebrating at a neighborhood block party, enjoying music and ice cream from street vendors.

But when the power is turned back on, will everyone return to their “normal” activities?

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle

Even Monsters Need Haircuts
written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott

The full moon means an early bedtime for the barber’s son. By midnight he’ll be unlocking the door of the barbershop with his skeleton key and unpacking his supplies: rotting tonic, shamp-eew, sink wax and tangling brushes.

All night long his “regulars” amble in from the alley to enjoy their monthly haircuts. Suddenly, a human customer knocks at the front door, sending the monsters into hiding. What will they do?

Try creating a printable monster with Matthew McElligott's Monster Machine!

Have Your Seen Mary? Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Michael Forsberg Photography, ©2012

Have You Seen Mary? by Jeff Kurrus; illustrated (photographs) by Michael Forsberg

A pair of sandhill cranes are separated on the Platte River during their annual spring migration to their nesting home in Alaska.

The beautiful photographs and information will educate readers about sandhill cranes.

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle

Interrupting Chicken
written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

It’s time for bed and Little Red Chicken wants Papa to read her a story. Papa warns her not to interrupt him, but Little Red Chicken interrupts every story.

What will happen when Little Red Chicken reads a story to Papa?

Lost and Found Pony Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Feiwel and Friends, ©2011
The Lost and Found Pony written and illustrated by Tracy Dockray

A girl receives a pony as a gift and trains it for competitions. During one competition, she is hurt when the small horse cannot jump over a high bar. Her parents decide to sell the horse to the circus.

The horse watches the crowds at the circus for the girl he misses. Eventually, the circus crowds dwindle and the circus closes up.

The horse is sold at an auction and is happy to discover that his new owner is the girl who once owned him although she is all grown up now!

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle

Mitchell's License
by Hallie Durand; illustrated by Tony Fucile

At the age of three years, nine months, and five days, Mitchell is given his first driver’s license. His vehicle? Why not a playful Dad willing to become a remote control car that his young son can drive to bed every evening?

It takes lots of imagination, a little practice, and even a few bumps, but Mitchell enjoys his bedtime routine and even dreams about driving across the countryside and stopping at gas stations filled with cookies.

Have fun building your own car with Create A C

Prudence Wants a Pet Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher
Roaring Brook Press, © 2011

Prudence Wants a Pet
by Cathleen Daly; illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Prudence is trying to convince her parents to let her have a pet. Her parents think pets are too noisy and too messy. She adopts a few everyday items and her little brother to be her pets but none of them act like a real pet. 

How can she convince her parents that she can care for a pet?

When a Dragon Moves In Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Flashlight Press, ©2011

When a Dragon Moves In
by Jodi Moore; illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Did you know if you build a sandcastle on the beach a dragon will move into it? When a young boy goes to the beach with his family and builds a sand castle, that is exactly what happens.

The boy and the dragon spend the day at the beach flying a kite, roasting marshmallows, floating in the water, and scaring away bullies. When the boy tries to tell everyone about his dragon, nobody believes him.

That’s when the mischief begins! The creature eats all of the sandwiches, puts claw-marks on all of the brownies, blows bubbles in the lemonade, and throws sand at the young boy’s sister.

But here’s the question — is there really a dragon or is it all in the young boy's imagination?

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle

When I Grow Up
by Al Yankovic; illustrated by Wes Hargis

When Mrs. Krupp asked eight-year-old Billy what he was going to be when he grew up, she had no idea the answer would include jobs like snail trainer, giraffe milker, and dinosaur-dusting museum curator — and you won't believe what other jobs are on the list.

Billy's excitement makes readers of all ages stop and say, "When I grow up, I will…".

Primary Nominee List || Young Adult Nominee List


Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

When four twelve-year-olds are invited to enter a candy-making contest at the Life is Sweet Candy Factory, none of them expects the adventure they will encounter.

The contestants include the Candymaker’s son, Logan, who can identify every ingredient in a piece of candy simply by tasting it; Daisy, a mysterious girl who is extremely strong but spends a lot of time reading her book; Miles, a quiet boy who needs to overcome the memory of a tragedy he witnessed; and Philip, who always wears a suit and carries a briefcase.

Each contestant tells the same story from his or her own perspective and explains how and why he or she came to enter the contest. As the Candymaker’s son, Logan begins and ends the stories, and provides a solid and satisfying conclusion to their candy-making adventure.

Clockwork Three Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Scholastic Press, ©2010
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Mysterious circumstances bring together three unlikely children in a city with many similarities to New York City and Boston in the mid to late 1800s.

Giuseppe is an orphaned street musician from Italy, sold by his uncle to an evil padrone (master) to work as a busker (street musician). When he finds a mysterious green violin, he begins to dream of his freedom.

Hannah has supported her family as a hotel maid since her father was struck down with a disease and can no longer work. She learns about a hidden treasure and knows that it would save her family – if she can find it.

Frederick is a talented and intense clockmaker's apprentice who seeks to learn the truth about why he was left in a horrible orphanage, while he works to build an automaton that would earn him journeyman status in the clockmakers guild.

The three children realize that when they team up and trust each other as friends, they have power that can overcome even the darkest of fears.

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Holiday House, ©2012

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe
by Lutricia Clifton

Frankie Joe's mother, Marti, is always looking for the next big moneymaking scheme. When one of her get rich plans lands her in prison, Frankie Joe's life turns upside down.

Suddenly he has to move to Illinois and live with his father and his four younger brothers. Teased by family and classmates for being freaky slow academically, Frankie Joe eventually decides he has had enough and begins to plan his escape home.

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe is the heartwarming story of a twelve-year-old boy forced to deal with the consequences of his mother's life choices. With the help of new friends, Frankie Joe discovers he isn't quite the oddball he thought he was and that you can find a home when you least expect it.

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle

May B.
by Caroline Starr Rose

May B. is a twelve-year-old pioneer girl. In this novel written in verse, May B. is helping a neighbor new to the Kansas prairie until Christmas.

When a terrible turn of events leaves her all alone, she must survive for 5 months until her father returns. May B. struggles with reading, but during her time alone she discovers her own voice.

Pie Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Scholastic, ©2011
Pie by Sarah Weeks

Aunt Polly is a 13-year winner of the Blueberry Award and a natural-born pie maker who has brought fame and tourists to town in search of a taste of one of her amazing pies and the flakiest pie crust. What really makes Aunt Polly’s pies even more special is that you can’t buy them. She only gives them away.

Alice loves her Aunt Polly, so whenever Alice has time, she visits Aunt Polly at the PIE shop to help with the pie making, to talk, to enjoy cream cheese and olive sandwiches, and to make up songs. Baking pies makes Aunt Polly happy and being with Aunt Polly makes Alice happy.

When Aunt Polly dies unexpectedly, Aunt Polly’s cantankerous cat Lardo, inherits the piecrust recipe, Alice inherits Lardo, and Reverend Flowers inherits the PIE shop and its contents to raise funds for the church. But how can a cat inherit a recipe?

With the apparent catnapping of Lardo, a break-in at the PIE shop, and other mysterious happenings, Alice is convinced that someone is behind these unexplained events in order to gain possession of Aunt Polly’s recipes. What is going on? Who is Miss Quizenberry? Who is the Blueberry Bridesmaid? And where is the famous flakey pie crust recipe? Will Alice, with the help of her new friend Charlie, solve the mystery?

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle
Smells Like Dog by Suzanne Selfors

Homer Pudding lives on a goat farm and dreams of becoming a treasure hunter like his Uncle Drake. When his uncle dies mysteriously, Homer inherits a basset hound dog wearing a strange coin on his collar.

Homer sets out on an adventure to solve the meaning of the coin, the truth of his uncle’s death, and maybe uncover the treasure map his uncle had hidden.

On his journey, Homer goes to the big city and meets up with some interesting people, some of who prove to be quite dangerous.

The Unwanteds Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Aladdin, ©2011
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Each year in Quill brings the Purge, the day when 13-year-olds are sorted into the Wanteds and the Unwanteds.

The Wanteds are those who show no emotion and no creativity as they exist in the society led by High Priest Justine. They remain in Quill. The Unwanteds are those who exhibit any independent thinking or creativity. They are sent to the Death Farm to be eliminated.

Alex and Aaron are identical twins. While Aaron is a Wanted with the additional honor of being accepted into the Quillitary, Alex is an Unwanted.

When this year’s Unwanteds arrive at the Death Farm, they meet Mr. Today, a magician who has created a secret world called Artime where art and creativity are valued and magical creatures flourish. Unknown to Quillians, the Unwanteds live in this world and develop their special creative talents.

Will the special bond that connects twins survive their separation? If so, will it endanger Artime?

Wild Life Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ©2011

Wild Life
by Cynthia DeFelice

Erik is preparing for his first ever hunting trip when he learns that his parents are being deployed to Iraq. A few days later, Erik is shipped off to North Dakota to live with Big Darrell and Oma, grandparents he barely knows.

When Erik rescues a dog that’s been stuck by a porcupine, Big Darrell says Erik can’t keep the dog. But Erik has already named her Quill and can’t bear to give her up.

He decides to run away, taking the dog and a shotgun that belonged to his uncle who died in the war. He is certain that they can survive out on the prairie.

Golden Sower Award Nominee Circle
Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ten-year-old August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a severe facial abnormality. It’s a miracle that he survived because nobody expected Auggie to live past his first night. Even after 27 surgeries, people still stare at him in shock and disbelief.

Auggie lives in a loving home with Mom, Dad, and sister, Via. To his family, he’s a fun loving, curious, and kind young man who has a passion for Star Wars. Auggie’s been homeschooled most of his life, but then he discovers that his parents have secretly submitted an application to a private middle school. Auggie’s world will now be changing.

Have you ever been the new kid in a an activity, club or school? If so, then you know how hard that can be. How will the fifth grade students and teachers at Beecher Prep treat him? Will classmates accept him for who he is and look past his facial features? What challenges will he be faced with during the school year?

Auggie is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face who is about to discover what middle school is really like. This book covers the school year and is told from the point of view of a variety of characters, his family, his teachers, and his classmates.

Consider joining the movement to Choose Kind, inspired by Palacio's novel, Wonder.

Wonderstruck Jacket Art
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Scholastic © 2011

by Brian Selznick

Ben is a young boy who was born deaf in one ear. Two weeks after Ben’s mother is killed in a car accident, his house is struck by lightning which travels through the telephone line, causing Ben to become deaf in his other ear.

Running away from home in an attempt to find his father, he finds himself in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City where he meets several people who will change his life forever.

Visit Sleznick's Wonderstruck website for more information and links

Primary Nominee List || Intermediate Nominee List || Intermediate Nominee List


After Ever After
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Scholastic, ©2010

After Ever After
by Jordan Sonnenblick

As if dealing with a life of cancer wasn’t bad enough, now Jeffrey has grown up and is in his last year of middle school and has to learn how to deal with…can you believe it…GIRLS!!

And that’s not all! School is tough for Jeffrey and walking around with a limp isn’t helping much either.

If only his brother was here to help him through it all. Maybe then he wouldn’t be so angry with his best friend, who has a secret.
Between Shades of Gary
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Philomel Books, ©2011

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

In 1941, fifteen year old Lina Vilkas, her mother Elena, and younger brother Jonas, were forced to leave their nice home in Lithuania by the Soviet secret police and were deported to Siberia to try to survive in the harsh climate under very dangerous circumstances. Her father, who was provost of the university, had been imprisoned and separated from them.

As she fights for her life and those of her family and companions, she uses her artistic abilities to draw pictures documenting their experiences and to try to send messages to her father.

She vows that, if she survives, she will honor her family and others like her through her drawings and writing.

Dark Life
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Scholstic, ©2010

Dark Life
by Kat Falls

New words, new environment, and new skills. Can you even imagine living under the water?

Dark Life
shares the adventure of one boy who does live under the water and a topsider girl who is searching for her brother. Together they find adventure, fear, fun and surprises that light up the ocean floor.
Epitaph Road
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher EgmontUSA, ©2010

Epitaph Road
by David Patneaude

Intrigued by the world of The Hunger Games? In this dystopian novel by David Patneaude, we see a future that doesn’t have a District 13, but does have Elisha’s Bear, a plague that has wiped out 97% of the male population. It doesn’t have a Hunger Games each year, but it does have a world that is run by women.

What does this mean for Kellen, a fourteen-year-old-boy who is trying to adapt to being a minority? What does it mean when his mom behaves suspiciously, and when he wants more than anything to spend more time with his father?

Find out by reading Epitaph Road in which Kellen and his friends try desperately to save Kellen’s father. As the book progresses, it also forces the readers to examine the authority and the philosophies of those in power.

Jefferson's Sons
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Dial, ©2011

Jefferson's Sons
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The secrets of Master Jefferson come to the surface through the eyes of his children born to Sally Hemings, a slave. Ms. Hemings (her skin was nearly as white as any white person) was born into a slave family because her mother was a slave, but her father was also the father of Martha Wayles Jefferson, the wife of Thomas Jefferson.

Sounds quite complicated to the outsider, but to those who lived at Monticello it was pretty much common knowledge.

The story of Jefferson’s Sons relates how the “household” functioned and how the slaves were treated by Master Jefferson. His Mulberry Row children express what it was like to live during slave times and how hard it was to understand that they would never have the rights his children born of Martha Jefferson.
Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Putnam Juvenile, ©2011

by Marie Lu

It is the future and the United States is no longer in existence. There have been devastating floods and earthquakes that have changed the land that used to be America. Instead the Republic, made up of western states, and the Colonies, made up of eastern states, are in a civil war with each other. No one really knows why the two countries are fighting.

Day and June are two young people who are exceptional at what they do. June was raised to support the Republic, the Elector Primo, and all that they stand for; and Day is also from the Republic but is out to destroy it. They are sworn enemies and yet they fall in love. It isn’t until one is near death that the truth starts to become clear and the future is revealed.

Visit the the official Legend website.

Jacket art used with permission from the publisher Dutton, ©2011

by Ally Condie

What would you do if someone else decided where you would work, what you would eat, who you would love, and when you would die?

For Cassia, this is how it is. She lives by the rules set by the “Society” and has never questioned them. Not until they send her friend away to fight in a battle that means certain death.

Questioning everything she has ever known, seventeen-year-old Cassia must plot a course that will not endanger her family, but will reveal the difference between truth and deception – reality and illusion.
Michael Vey
Jacket art used with premission of the publisher Simon Pulse, ©2011

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
by Richard Paul Evans

We all know what it feels like to be different, but we aren’t all different in the same way. Michael Vey is very different. He’s a ninth grader with Tourette’s syndrome – a condition causing a person to make repetitive movements and sounds without realizing it.

When he and his mother settle down in Idaho, Michael just wants to disappear into the crowd, but the bullies won’t let him. They shove him into lockers and his principal gives Michael detention instead of them since Michael won’t tell him who the bullies are.

One day the bullies push Vey too far and find out just what he is capable of, getting literally the shock of their lives. Unfortunately, Taylor, the most popular girl in school and Michael’s secret crush, sees Michael use his powers and she’s not letting it go. When Michael finally reveals his secret to Taylor, she reveals a secret of her own.

Shortly after, Michael’s mother is kidnapped and held by a secret corporation that wants to use his powers for their own dark purposes. What do you do when your mom’s life hangs in the balance, but saving her means sacrificing all you have and hundreds of innocent lives?

Golden Sower Award Nominee
Payback Time by Carl Deuker

Mitch True, an overweight and generally quiet high school senior, wants to be an ace investigative journalist. Even though he is stuck as the new sports reporter, Mitch is determined to find a good story for the school paper.

His first assignment—a simple article on the upcoming football season. It seems like a boring, fluff piece until Mitch discovers senior transfer student and new cornerback Angel Marichal. He throws as if he is in the NFL, keeps changing his jersey number, and won't talk about his past.

Mitch and sports photographer Kimi Yong follow the mystery of Angel Marichal all the way to the state championship game. Along the way, Mitch finds his own journalistic ethics challenged, as he has to determine exactly how much of a story you should or should not tell.

Red Cell
Jacket art used with premission of the publisher iUniverse, ©2011
Red Cell by John Kalkowski

Will Conlan is an ordinary 8th grader until he wins a baseball game with a creative toss of a rosin bag. This innovative action catches the interest of the CIA and the action gets started!

Will uncovers a creative method that terrorists are using to communicate with each other. Instead of turning the information over to the police, Will tries to stop the terrorist attack at Wrigley Field. This only puts Will in more danger.

He then unscrambles another message, gives it to the authorities, and realizes he made a mistake. Will then tries to stop the terrorist ring again.

Mix in teen relationships with his best friend Ryan and interest in Stacy, and the story is full of action and ready to explode off the pages!

Read about Homeland Security's real Analytic Red Cell which inspired author's story line.

Primary Nominee List || Intermediate Nominee List || Intermediate Nominee List

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