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Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Book Award

Annotated List of Nominees for 2004 - 2005

Grades 4-6

The Good Dog by Avi
Atheneum, 2001
Set in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on the edge of the wilderness, this is the story of the conflict between a dog's longing to rejoin the wolf pack and his desire to stay with the family that loves him. McKinley enjoys being the head dog in the Steamboat Springs canine community and he also enjoys family life and keeping "his human pup", Jack, in line. When McKinley meets Lupin, a wolf who is actually seeking dogs to enlarge the wolf pack, he is torn between the two worlds. This fast-paced story and its satisfying ending should be a favorite.

Runt by Marion Dane Bauer
Clarion Books, 2002
Runt, the fifth and last of a litter of wolf pups makes up for his small size with his determination to prove himself worthy, especially to his father. Readers will empathize with Runt as he struggles to earn a name for himself; laugh at his encounter with a porcupine, and gain a new understanding of wolf behavior.

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Giff
Random House Children's Books, 2002
Hollis Woods, an orphan and "always-in-trouble" foster child, tells two stories in this fast-paced book ? the first story is that of a past summer in the mountains of upstate New York when she comes close to becoming part of a family that really loves her and she is almost adopted. Her second story is in the present, when she is taken in by Josie, a retired art teacher who praises Hollis� artistic talent and encourages her. Realizing that Josie may be taken from her because she is growing senile, Hollis decides they need to runaway to the mountain cabin of the past summer. Although it is the middle of winter and they live through a terrible blizzard, Hollis and Josie receive help from the most unexpected source and Hollis learns the real meaning of family.

Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Murpurgo
Scholastic Press, 2003
When Michael, age 12, and his dog Stella fall off his family's boat and wash up on an island in the Pacific, he struggles to survive. During his search for food and water, Michael discovers that he is not alone.  He becomes friends with Kensuke, an old Japanese man who has lived alone on the island for over 50 years.  The two teach and learn from each other as Michael thinks of ways to return to his mother and father.

Lewis and Clark and Me: a Dog's Tale byLaurie Myers
Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2002
As told from the point of view of Seaman, Capt. Meriwether Lewis' dog, this narrative is the Newfoundland's tale of his journey with Capt. Lewis and the Corp of Discovery. Each chapter is based on an account from Lewis' journal and an actual quote (that retains the original spelling) ends each fictional description.

Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O'Connor
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
Not the most popular kid in sixth grade, Bird feels a kinship with Harlem, a new boy in her class who is shunned because he "looks mean and acts dumb." With the help of her kindly neighbor, Miss Delphine, Bird starts a campaign to befriend Harlem. The process begins haltingly, but Bird is triumphant when he agrees to be her partner in the school spelling bee. Bird soon learns that becoming Harlem's friend requires work and courage, but it also brings surprising revelations and unexpected payoffs.

Grover G. Graham & Me by Mary Quattlebaum
Delacorte, 2001
Twelve-year-old Ben moves from foster home to foster home. When he is placed with an elderly couple he resolves to "make due" and remain emotionally detached. Despite his intentions, he forms a strong bond with the family, especially a young toddler, Grover G. Graham, another foster care child. When Grover is returned to his mother, Ben makes a very poor decision to "kidnap" Grover so he can give him better care.

Mysterious Matter of I.M. Fine by Diane Stanley
HarperCollins Children�s Books, 2001
Strange things have been happening to the students at Franny�s new school when they read the Chiller series of books by I. M. Fine.  The books have the students eating Jelly Worms, getting blinding headaches and slithering like snakes.  Franny and her friend, Beamer, decide to get to the bottom of this by tracking down the reclusive author.  This mystery leads them to Pennsylvania where they discover the author has a connection to someone they know. They must stop this crazy writer because her final book in the series is truly dastardly.

Niagara Falls or Does It?  Hank Zipzer: The Mostly True Confessions of the World�s Best Underachiever by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Grosset & Dunlap, 2003
Hank Zipzer's teacher assigns him a five paragraph essay on "How I Spent My Summer Vacation". Because reading, writing and spelling have always been difficult for him, but not creativity, he decides to make a working model of Niagara Falls, instead. The model leaks, creates chaos and thoroughly soaks the entire classroom, resulting in detention for Hank. Children with, and without, learning differences will be able to identify with the hero and how his good intentions often backfire.

Piece of Heaven, A by Sharon Denis Wyeth
Alfred A. Knopf, 2001
Thirteen-year-old Haley lives with her mother and older brother, Otis, in a poor area of New York City. When her mother has a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized, Haley and Otis try to stay together with the help of a kindly neighbor. However, when Otis is arrested, Haley must face the necessity of being placed in a group boarding home run by the Department of Social Services. She learns that old and new friends do care for her and she can depend on others for support.

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