The Great Stone Face Book Award is given annually to an author whose book receives the most votes from 4th through 6th graders throughout the state. The children vote for their favorite book from a list of 25 recently-published titles that are chosen by the Great Stone Face (GSF) Committee. The voting takes place every April during National Library Week, and the winner is announced in May. The purpose of the award is to promote reading enjoyment, to increase awareness of contemporary writing, and to allow children to honor their favorite authors.
See the 2012-2013 nominees below. The library has almost all in our collection–check one out today and see how many of these great books you can read by April, 2013! (The rest are on order so stay tuned!)
In 1790 Benjamin Franklin died. Or did he? Working with a secret team of scientists, Franklin found a way to cheat death…sort of. Franklin has spent the last 200 years in suspended animation in a sub basement in Philadelphia. A chance lightning strike (of course) reanimates Ben, and he finds himself in the apartment building of science nerd Victor Godwin. Victor must not only help him adjust to the modern world but also help him overcome a slight flaw: the reawakened Ben Franklin needs a particular amount of energy to keep going – too little and he’s a zombie looking for electricity instead of brains. Too much and he becomes a rampaging monster. Just the right amount, fun with Ben Franklin in the 21st Century! All this while trying to take first place in the school science fair. With one of history’s preeminent scientists helping out, what possibly could go wrong? —Sara Zoe Patterson, New Franklin School
Rebecca’s father has been out of work for a while and her mother has run out of patience trying to keep the family financially afloat, so one day she packs up and drives off with 12 year old Rebecca and two year old Lew in the car. They leave Baltimore and head for their grandmother’s house in Atlanta where Rebecca’s mother has already found a job and chosen a school for Rebecca. Soon after their arrival Rebecca discovers an old red bread box in the attic and quickly finds out that when she wishes for something that fits inside the bread box, it appears. When she needs a birthday present for her mom, she wishes for a spoon. Over time she wishes for new clothes for herself and money, and things like pens, candy and lip gloss to give away to her new friends at school. Rebecca’s repeated wish to return to her real home in Baltimore and to her father eludes her. She never stops to think about where all the things come from until her life gets so complicated that she has to decide what she really wants and how the magic of the bread box can help her achieve it. —Suzanne Wall, Merrimack Public Library
It is end of the school year for fifth graders Ronald “Cheesie” Mack and his friend Georgie. They learn they can’t afford to go to summer camp they have both gone to for several years. While in the basement, looking for spiders to scare his older sister, Georgie and Cheesie discover a yellowed envelope with one corner torn off. Inside the envelope is a folded up piece of paper containing a silvery metal heart on a chain and one penny. Throughout this story, Cheesie and Georgie provide lots of useful information like: How to say Gloucester, MA properly, Why you should not bring a bag of mice to school, and how to do the right thing when you find something that isn’t yours. You can also visit Cheesie at his very own website, CheesieMack.com. —Lorreen Keating, North Hampton Public Library
Imagine being a prince, smarter than your parents and your older brother. That is the fate of young Prince Rashko. When the King and Queen suddenly disappear, the young princes are left to handle the castle affairs. Soon after, the uninvited Baron Temny drops in with his entourage. Prince Rashko is taken aback when his simpleminded brother welcomes the group. Is Rasko the only one that can sense danger? What were his parents thinking when they left the castle? Will the Baron succeed with his obvious plot? Find out what happens as Prince Rasko discovers things are not always they seem. —Catherine Ryan, New England College
13-year-old Isla and her father have a special bond with the Whooper Swans that migrate to their area each winter. When her father collapses during a swan watching outing, Isla and her family’s focus is on her Father’s recovery. While at the hospital, Isla meets a young cancer patient named Henry. Henry and Isla watch a lone Whooper Swan from Henry’s hospital window and the two become friends. Her Father’s illness brings the family closer to their Grandfather who is a retired vet. Flyaway is a story with characters you will really care about and you will find yourself searching the internet for photos and videos of these amazing birds. —Lorreen Keating, North Hampton Public Library
Connor Sullivan plays baseball for his Babe Ruth league team, the Orioles. He’s an All-Star shortstop and a cleanup hitter. The team is glad they have him. He has skill, dedication and he’s funny. But, lately, Connor just isn’t the same. Maybe he’s worried about something at home or working too hard. Whatever the reason, his temper is out of control. When Connor makes a mistake at the games, he erupts with a temper outburst. He slams his batting helmet down and throws his glove. His opponents are calling him “Psycho Sully.” Jordy, Connor’s best friend, is starting to avoid him. Coach Hammond is thinking about benching him. Now, the school newspaper is doing an article about Connor’s temper tantrums including some embarrassing photos! The championship game is coming up, so Connor has to get his act together. Will he help the team win or will his temper get the best of him? —Susan MacDonald, Weeks Public Library
Liesl lives in an attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Liesl’s only companions are mice until one night a ghost appears. It is Po, a lonely ghost looking for someone to be with. Then, there’s Will, the alchemist’s apprentice. He delivers potions and magic to customers. One night, he bungles a delivery, switching powerful magic with something that is not magical at all. Liesl is able to escape her prison with Po’s help. Will is running for his life after his mistake is discovered. These three are drawn together on an adventure like no other. —Susan MacDonald, Weeks Public Library
12-year-old Joshua Reed was used to being the new kid in town, and he knew he needed to keep under the radar until kids got to know him. His dad was a US Air Force recruiter, and they moved around a lot. His widowed father didn’t have it easy, especially since the Viet Nam War broke out; not only was the war unpopular, but he also worried constantly about Joshua’s safety and wellbeing while he was at work. Much to Joshua’s delight, his dad let him pick out a guard dog to protect him and keep him company. The big dog, which he promptly named Jack, looked a little strange; especially his ears, which glowed red when he got excited. People seemed to be spooked, even a little afraid of him. Joshua soon learned that Jack was a Pharaoh hound, a very rare breed of hunting dog.
Just as Joshua was beginning to make friends with a guy down the street named Ray, Ray’s rich, spoiled cousin Prater began bullying tactics to prevent the new kid from breaking into their closed society. So when neighbors reported overturned trash cans, a ransacked chicken coop and other complaints, Prater was all too ready to point the finger at Joshua’s dog, Jack. When a cat was killed and Prater’s beloved horse was attacked, it became an all-out witch hunt. Joshua’s dad didn’t seem to know what to believe, so it was up to Joshua to clear Jack’s name. —Luci Albertson, Bedford Public Library
Attention animal fans! Meet Ivan! Ivan is a silverback gorilla who lives in a glass and metal enclosure at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade which is “conveniently located off I-95.” Ivan lives there with an old elephant named Stella and Bob, a stray dog. Ivan watches TV, draws pictures and sometimes he throws me-balls (dried balls of gorilla dung) at the humans coming to see him. This story is told by Ivan and his story changes when Ivan promises his friend Stella to take care of Ruby, a newly arrived baby elephant. Ivan’s story is based on a true story of a Gorilla now living at Zoo Atlanta. The real life Ivan is also a painter of pictures. Read about Ivan and his animal and human friends in the One and Only Ivan. —Lorreen Keating, North Hampton Public Library
Peter is a 10-year-old blind orphan who has been forced into a life of crime. Blind children make the best thieves, you know. One day, Peter steals a strange box. Three pairs of magical eyes rest within that box. What are these eyes for? Should Peter try to use them? Maybe he should ask “where will those eyes take him”? The mystery begins to unfold—who is Peter Nimble? —Susan MacDonald, Weeks Public Library
Aunt Polly is the Pie Queen of Ipswitch. No one can make a better pie; that’s what Alice thinks of her Aunt Polly’s delicious pies. When Aunt Polly dies, she takes her secret pie crust recipe with her. Well, not quite. Polly’s will states that the recipe belongs to her cat Lardo. The will also says that Lardo now belongs to Alice. How can you leave a recipe to a cat? Many people in town want to be the next big pie contest winner. Everyone is going pie-crazy. Someone is trying to steal the secret pie crust recipe. Lardo’s in danger! Can Alice and her friend Charlie put all the pieces together before it’s too late? —Susan MacDonald, Weeks Public Library
Arm Pit isn’t a body part…it’s the name of a town. On April Fool’s Day, some jokers had painted out a few letters on Harmony Point’s town sign. And they seem to be living up to the name…their hapless baseball team, the Terriers, have never won a game! Just once, they’d like to show up those Barton Bulldogs! Things begin to look up when the new postmaster, Mr. Blackmore, becomes their new coach…finally, someone who knows something about baseball!
Just when the team begins to learn better skills and gain some confidence, a new crisis looms: they overhear a town official saying that their sleepy little town post office may be closed, “unless the numbers work out.” The Terriers spring into action to save their coach’s job, and their team’s chances of winning a game. They begin flooding the mail with inquiries and requests for all sorts of goods and services…free trials, magazines, camp brochures, fudge recipes, and even improved road conditions for Highway 51! Their letter campaign turns out to be a smashing success…but yields some entirely unexpected results! A delightful, warm-hearted sports story filled with lots of kid power! —Luci Albertson, Bedford Public Library
Molly is sent away at age seven to be a scullery maid for the King of Westria. When she is sent away, her mother gives her dearest possession, a necklace that Molly wears secretly under her dress. Molly has another secret, she sees visions and, what’s more, her visions come true. Early on in her days at the Castle, Molly makes friends with a stable boy named Tobias. One day Tobias takes Molly into the royal family’s living area as he is setting the fires. Molly stares at the young Prince Alaric who tells the young scullery maid to mind her place. After a time, Molly is taught to polish the royal silver. A large, beautifully crafted silver bowl makes Molly very uneasy. When she polishes the silver bowl, Molly is transfixed by terrible visions! What does the future hold for Molly, Tobias and the Royal Family of Westria? The Silver Bowl is a tale of mystery and adventure set in the middle ages that will keep you turning the pages. —Lorreen Keating, North Hampton Public Library
Imagine you’re 11 years old. You’ve had a long car ride with your mother to a Maine camp ground and during the trip the two of you argue over a stop at a wild animal park to see an elephant. Now imagine you wake up the next day at the campground to find your mother, her car, and all the camping gear gone. This is the situation Jack Martel finds himself in. He figures she’s probably just moved all their stuff to another campsite, so he sets out to enjoy himself…alone. But as time goes by, and despite his efforts to contact his mom, there’s still no sign of her, and Jack grows increasingly afraid other campers will discover he’s been abandoned. He finds some comfort in a small, plastic elephant he has in his possession; it’s a reminder of a trip with his mother to the circus when he was four. Jack’s mother has a history of mental illness while Jack has an obsession with elephants. He loves his mother, in spite of her erratic behavior. When Jack realizes he won’t be able to find his mother, he decides to return to his home in Boston, and in need of food and shelter starts to make his way south. —Suzanne Wall, Merrimack Public Library
14-year-old Dylan can’t wait for his adventure down the Rio Grande with his uncle and his cousin Rio. Arriving at the bus stop in Alpine, Texas is just the beginning of a harrowing adventure for Dylan. Expecting his uncle to meet him, Dylan instead receives a text from his cousin to “hitch” a ride to their place. Puzzled, and not certain if he should, Dylan decides to go ahead and sets out. He’ll just wait to check in with his mother. Once Dylan arrives, he discovers the trip was to have been cancelled since his Uncle had an unexpected business trip to Alaska. Cousin Rio convinces him to stay and go on the adventure as planned. What could possibly go wrong? Travel down the Rio Grande with these teens as a hurricane brews, Blackhawk choppers circle above, and a dangerous man crosses their path. Will they survive a triple threat? —Catherine Ryan, New England College
“Whenever Castle Glower became bored, it would grow a new room or two. This usually happened on Tuesdays…” Princess Celie loved it when the castle sprouted a turret, a passageway, or even an entire wing, although it was sure to confuse visitors seeking an audience with the king. The castle always chose its own king, in this case benevolent King Glower the 79th and his beloved queen, and it set an affectionate watch over the royal family.
When Celie’s parents and eldest brother Bran were ambushed while traveling and reported killed, the castle was flooded with dignitaries from abroad, ostensibly there to offer their condolences and proffer assistance to Celie and her brother Rolf. The Royal Council was behaving very suspiciously however, and with the castle’s help, the children learned that there was a plot afoot to overthrow Rolf, the king’s next eldest son and heir apparent. But were the king and queen really dead? The castle suspected otherwise… A delightful romp! —Luci Albertson, Bedford Public Library
Wanted…Necessary…Unwanted… The annual Day of the Purge has arrived, the day when all the 13-year-olds of Quill will learn their ultimate fate. Identical twins Alex and Aaron have grown up together in this harsh, colorless, totalitarian society where creativity and emotion are forbidden, and strength and conformity are given highest honor. Motto: “Quill Prevails When the Strong Survive!” Aaron is labeled a Wanted, and sets out to begin his career in the military. Artistic Alex, however, is deemed Unwanted, and is put on the bus to the Death Farm, to be burned in the Lake of Boiling Oil. But a stunning and magical surprise awaits him when he enters the gates… Along with newfound joy and peace come many dangers, however. A gripping journey into dystopia! —Luci Albertson, Bedford Public Library
Drew is a shepherd’s son living on the Cold Coast of Lyssia. Drew isn’t anything like his twin brother Trent, they are so different. Trent wants to join the Lionguard and see new places. Drew wants to stay and work the farm. Drew’s always had a way with animals and an uncanny ability to avoid danger. The feeling of danger that he has right now. Something’s out there watching, waiting. When Drew’s father and brother leave to go to market to sell their grain, Drew and his mother are attacked in their home. A hideous creature with a foul stench threathens the two. Drew tries to protect his mother but he is injured and thrown down. He feels very strange and ill. He cannot get up to help his mother. What is happening to him? His body is transforming, the pain is unbearable. Drew has become a beast, but how? Why? Drew doesn’t know that he is the last of the werewolves. It may be the only thing that keeps him alive. —Susan MacDonald, Weeks Public Library
12-year-old Erik has just passed his hunter safety course! He is finally old enough to get his New York State hunting license. Erik is going hunting with his best friend Patrick, Patrick’s dad, and their hunting dog. That is until his parents get word of their six month deployment to Iraq. His parents announce he will be sent to live with the grandparents he doesn’t even know. Worse still, they live in North Dakota. Unable to convince his parents to let him stay with his best friend, Erik reluctantly packs his bags.
Upon his arrival, mystery engulfs him. Why is his grandfather so mean? His grandmother so meek? What’s with the locked room at the top of the stairs? Why does his grandfather react so adamantly when Erik rescues a wounded hunting dog? It’s all too much for Patrick. Discover what happens when Patrick heads out into the wilderness with his rescued dog. Can he survive in the wilderness? Will the secrets of the locked room be revealed? —Catherine Ryan, New England College
When Callum spots crazy Iona McNair on his family’s sprawling property in Scotland, she’s catching a fish with her bare hands. She won’t share the fish, but does share something else: a secret. She’s discovered a bird that we know well in New Hampshire but is endangered in Scotland, an Osprey. Both Iona and Callum agree to protect the bird by keeping it a secret, because poachers and egg thieves would try to interfere and harm the bird. Iona and Callum do enlist the help of a preservationist when Isis, as they’ve named her, is injured. The preservationist tags Isis and Iona and Callum vow to keep track of the bird and check her migratory progress to Africa for the winter using the electronic signal from the tag on her ankle, no matter what. Tragedy strikes and storms rage, and the signal fades, then becomes lost. Driven by a promise to Iona, who has fallen ill, Callum is determined to find a way to save Isis, and a leap of faith and the magic of email brings possibilities for the dangerous return journey north. —Sara Zoe Patterson, New Franklin School
It’s 1957. When 13-year-old Olivene (Ollie) Love’s family arrives in Binder, Arkansas it feels like every other town they’ve stopped in before. Ollie’s father is an itinerant preacher, and with no permanent home the entire family is involved in spreading his message of redemption and love. When Ollie encounters Jimmy Koppel while passing out flyers for the evening revival she learns of his father’s murder and of his mother Virginia being jailed for that murder. Ollie meets several of the town’s people, some who sympathize with Jimmy and others who are filled with hatred towards his family. After spending time with Jimmy and talking to some of the townspeople Ollie’s sure Virginia is innocent. But can she prove it? Ollie has to convince her father to stay in Binder longer than their customary three days so she can uncover the truth. The book is full of well-drawn characters. You’ll feel the sticky Southern heat and the intense emotions, and you, just like Ollie, will want to know the answer to the mystery. —Suzanne Wall, Merrimack Public Library
The dream of a lifetime…14-year-old Stefan is selected for a sci-fi movie role at a ski resort in Slovakia… Actually it was his friends’ dream, yet Stefan was chosen. Lucky…right? Maybe…maybe not…
Thrown together with Raine, a spoiled 13-year-old star, 9-year-old Jeremy, and trained wolves, Stefan tries his best to succeed. Yet, Raine has other ideas, demanding, threatening… could she really have Stefan thrown off the movie set? After a long day of filming and numerous mistakes, Stefan’s confidence is shaken. Leaving the young stars on their own, the frustrated film crew head into town for dinner. Planning only to be gone a short while, all should be well. However, a chain of events, starting with an avalanche throws the group together in a battle of survival. As the young stars battle being cut off, they realize the trained wolves are not the only ones nearby. —Catherine Ryan, New England College
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman was born with such severe facial deformities that, even after 27 surgeries, children still run away from him screaming. But he’s just a regular kid, surrounded by a very loving and supportive family. He even has a best friend. Homeschooled and soon to be a fifth grader, Auggie’s mother has decided it’s now time for him to attend a private school. But the transition isn’t easy when most people don’t get beyond judging him by his looks. In spite of the death of his dog, bullies, and friendships that are tested, Auggie proves to his new classmates and the school administration that he’s smart, funny and brave. The story, which spans a school year, is told from the points of view of a variety of characters, including Auggie’s, his sister’s, and a few friends’, allowing the reader glimpses into his childhood. Auggie is faced with challenges that he meets head-on, and the reader will cheer for him and savor his victory in the end. —Suzanne Wall, Merrimack Public Library
This is a book with two stories. One story is told entirely in illustrations, the other story is told through the text. One is the story of Rose and the other of Ben. They are hundreds of miles away from each other, but they have something in common: They are both deaf. The are also both secretly wish their lives were different. Ben hopes to find the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, they both set out alone to find what they are missing.
Running away as a kid is hard for anyone, but for kids who are deaf, there are extra problems. But they are both drawn to New York City, and the American Museum of Natural History, where the answers connect in unpredictable ways. —Sara Zoe Patterson, New Franklin School
Zita wasn’t always a spacegirl, but she has always been bold, brash, and brave, and fortunately for us, has the smarts to back up her not-too-well-thought-through actions. So when she finds a red button in the woods when out with her friend Joseph, she pushes it. And then, Joseph is sucked through a portal and disappears, and Zita has to figure out how to get him back. Zita finds herself on a very strange planet, where every creature from humanoid chickens to neurotic robots are either trying to escape or prepare for the destruction of the planet within three days. Zita finds herself accepting help from a strange gang of allies, including a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest in Zita’s quest, a giant rat and some monstery looking aliens. But Zita’s leap-before-you-look attitude means the impossibility of facing ancient prophecies, doomed planets, finding Joseph, and getting home in one piece are all part of the adventure for this up and coming intergalactic hero. —Sara Zoe Patterson, New Franklin School