Recent award-winning books to read

Paul Eisenberg

“The City and the City” by China Mieville

This book straddles the line between police procedural and urban fantasy, but it took home a share of two of science fiction’s most coveted prizes – it was named Best Novel of 2010 in the World Fantasy Awards and tied with another book for best novel at the 2010 Hugo Awards. It tells the tale of a detective working a murder case in a European city where denizens only see what they want to see.

“Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool

Abilene Tucker has already had adventures, having spent a good part of her youth hitching rides on freight trains during the Great Depression with her father. The real adventures, as detailed in this Newberry Medal-winning book, begin after her father leaves her with a friend in his hometown, where mysteries abound and the old ways of doing things are about to change forever. Booklist rated the novel appropriate for readers in grades 5 and up.

“Mockingbird” by Kathryn Erskine

A powerful book for kids that earned the 2010 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, it is narrated by a fifth-grader who has Asperger’s Syndrome, finds it hard to deal with group settings and now must overcome, along with her father, the tragic shooting death of her brother. A counselor, Mrs. Brook, is there to help, but ultimately, narrator Caitlyn must find it in herself to heal in this emotional tale for readers in grades 4 and up.

“A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Phillip C. Stead

Winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal, this heartwarmingly illustrated book for readers in kindergarten and up tells about the title character who is a zookeeper and his five friends: elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros and owl. When Amos doesn’t come in to work one day, his friends visit him at home to find him sick. So they help in ways only they can.

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” by Isabel Wilkerson

Winner of the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, Wilkerson tells the story of one of the greatest geographic movements of people in American history, when in the first half of the 20th century, 6 million African-Americans left the South for the hope and perceived better life in the Northern and Midwestern states. Amid the grand tale, smaller stories of individuals fleeing racism, lynchings and beatings put faces on the phenomenon.