Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015
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The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan, III

The Young Healer by Frank N. McMillan, III | Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015 | Scoop.it

In THE YOUNG HEALER tradition meets contemporary when what starts out as just another day becomes anything but that for young Feather Anderson. Her beloved grandfather, a traditional Lakota healer, pulls her out of class one snowy morning and takes her on an old-fashioned vision quest in the heart of New York City in hopes of finding the perfect Lakota medicine. It becomes the most magical day ever for eleven-year-old Feather Anderson, the day she saves her little brother’s life. Feather follows in her grandfather’s footsteps of healing as a medicine man and she then earns her newly-given secret Lakota name.

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The Shadow Collector's Apprentice by Amy Gordon

The Shadow Collector's Apprentice by Amy Gordon | Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015 | Scoop.it

Fans of Holly Horvath and Kate DiCamillo will love this warm, eccentric, and enchanting middle-grade novel.
Peculiar things are going on in the town of Medley over the summer of 1963, but it's hard for twelve-year-old Cully Pennyacre to figure out what it all means. His father has disappeared mysteriously, people don't seem like themselves, and his apprenticeship at Betty's Attic antique store gets stranger each day. The owner has a disturbing hobby of collecting people's shadows with a weird projectorlike machine and foul-smelling chemicals. He claims the process is harmless, but it leaves his victims listless and passive. Odd happenings become the norm as Cully, Batty's granddaughter Isabel, and Cully's best friend band together to get to the bottom of a secret black market in human shadows.

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PINCH HIT by Tim Green

PINCH HIT by Tim Green | Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015 | Scoop.it

Two boys decide to trade places prince-and-pauper style.

Trevor’s a Hollywood star wishing he could play baseball like a real kid, and Sam’s that real kid, whose father is unsuccessfully peddling his script. The credulity-straining plot is not new, but Green attempts to make this fantasy seem plausible by having the boys discover quickly that they may be identical twins separated at birth. Female teen heartthrob McKenna acts as Sam's advisor in Hollywood, leaving Trevor to negotiate Sam’s trailer-park life on his own. Sam is a great baseball player, of course, and Trevor’s main challenge is fulfilling Sam's coach and teammates' reasonable expectations. Trevor's distracted and distant parents make Sam's success at his half of the fraud a little more believable, but that he would wow the director on his first take in the blockbuster Trevor has been filming is hard to take. As is Trevor’s birthday present of playing baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fake birthmark that distinguishes the two supposedly fooling a makeup artist on the set on a daily basis. There’s plenty of baseball action to distract from the flimsiness of the plot, which ends on such an unlikely note that there must be a sequel planned. Sports fiction seldom branches out into the movies, which may broaden the audience a little.  

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Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway | Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015 | Scoop.it

In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”—ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society.

 

The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary—it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

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The Privateer's Apprentice by Susan Verrico

The Privateer's Apprentice by Susan Verrico | Mark Twain Nominees 2014-1015 | Scoop.it

After the death of his parents, Jameson Cooper assumes he will take over his father's printing shop. Instead, he is thrown out on the streets of Charles Towne (Carolina Territory) and sentenced to life as an indentured servant to the baker for a false charge of stealing bread. His first day on the job he ends up as a victim of a kidnapping in which he is knocked out. When he regains consciousness, he finds himself aboard the Destiny under the direction of Captain "Attack Jack" Edwards. Somehow, Jameson manages to get on the captain's good side which seems surprising considering a series of missteps by him. The captain even gives him a special assignment based upon his  map making skills. Though the plot veers off course at times, the descriptions of life at sea will both captivate and gross out the young historical fiction buff. Jameson must use his knowledge to rescue the captain which provides a nerve-racking resolution that appeal the the adventurer at heart.

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