The National Book Foundation announced Monday its long-list finalists for this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. They include stories of a soccer-obsessed boy, three girls who meet at baton-twirling lessons and a boy separated from his pet fox.
Kwame Alexander was selected for “Booked,” the tale in verse of a 12-year-old who loves soccer but whose family also pushed him to read. Alexander won a Newbery Medal in 2015 for his basketball story, “The Crossover.”
Kate DiCamillo’s “Raymie Nightingale” also was chosen for the long list. In that story, three girls enroll in baton-twirling lessons in the hopes of winning the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition. But the growing bond among the three puts the contest into perspective. DiCamillo is the author of Newbery-winning books “Flora & Ulysses” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”
A boy and his fox take turns telling the story in Sara Pennypacker’s “Pax” (with illustrations by Jon Klassen). Peter rescued Pax as a kit, but when war comes close to home, Peter’s dad sends the boy away and returns the fox to the wild. Pennypacker is also the author of the “Clementine” early chapter books.
The other seven books to make the long list were:
● “Burn Baby Burn” by Meg Medina
● “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds
● “March: Book Three” by ●John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with illustrations by Nate Powell
● “Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story” by Caren Stelson
● “The Sun Is Also a Star” by Nicola Yoon
● “When the Moon Was Ours” by Anna-Marie McLemore
● “When the Sea Turned to Silver” by Grace Lin
The National Book Foundation will narrow the long list to five finalists October 13 and will present the Young People’s Literature award, along with several other book awards, November 16 in New York.