Mark Twain Award Nominees 2022-2023
A Wish in the Dark
A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice. All light in Chattana is created by one man -- the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars. The wealthy dine and dance under bright orb light, while the poor toil away in darkness. Worst of all, Pong's prison tattoo marks him as a fugitive who can never be truly free. Nok, the prison warden's perfect daughter, is bent on tracking Pong down and restoring her family's good name. But as Nok hunts Pong through the alleys and canals of Chattana, she uncovers secrets that make her question the truths she has always held dear. Set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world, Christina Soontornvat's twist on Victor Hugo's Les Misérables is a dazzling, fast-paced adventure that explores the difference between law and justice -- and asks whether one child can shine a light in the dark.
Sara Martinez is facing years in the juvenile detention system for hacking into the foster care computer system to prove that her foster parents are crooks. But then she gets a second chance when a mysterious man offers her a chance to join a group of MI6 affiliated spies--|cProvided by publisher.
Coop Knows the Scoop
Thirteen-year-olds Cooper Goodman and Justice and Liberty Gordon investigate the eccentric residents of Windy Bottom, Georgia, after the remains of Coop's long-missing grandmother are uncovered and his Gramps is the prime suspect.
Millionaires for the Month
After seventh graders Benji and Felix borrow $20 from a lost wallet, the billionaire owner challenges them to spend over $5 million dollars in thirty days in order to learn life lessons about money--|cProvided by publisher.
Newly orphaned and living with the half sister she hardly knows, twelve-year-old Olive rediscovers her hope when she starts training a guide dog puppy.
The Blackbird Girls
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother, Rita Grigorievna. In their new lives in Leningrad, they begin to learn what it means to trust another person. Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life. Valentina must keep her grandmother's secret, one that could put all their lives in danger. And both of them discover something they've wished for: a best friend. But how far would you go to save your best friend's life? Would you risk your own?
The Elephant's Girl
Twelve-year-old Lexington, a foundling raised in a zoo, spends a summer cementing friendships, growing closer to the elephant that saved her life, and learning about her family and herself.
The Incredibly Dead Pets of Rex Dexter
Cursed by an old carnival game, sixth-grader Rex Dexter uses his new ability to communicate with dead animals to investigate the mysterious deaths of endangered zoo animals.
Twelve-year-old Trevor Firestone loves playing war-based video games and he idolizes his great-grandfather Jacob who came home from World War II a celebrated hero; now ninety-three Jacob wants to retrace his journey in memory and reality and return to the small French village that his unit liberated, and Trevor is going with him--but not everyone in the town want Jacob to come, and Trevor is going to learn an important lesson: real war is not a video game, and valor and heroism can be very murky concepts.
When Stars Are Scattered
Omar and his younger brother Hassan live in a refugee camp, and when an opportunity for Omar to get an education comes along, he must decide between going to school every day or caring for his nonverbal brother in this intimate and touching portrayal of family and daily life in a refugee camp.
After being diagnosed with a rare eye cancer, twelve-year-old Ross discovers how music, art, and true friends can push him through treatment and survive middle school.
Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor
After years in foster care, April gets to live in a mansion where she and four other children are caught up in a mystery related to a missing heir, a lost legacy, and the Phantom.