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Newbery or Not: One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

Book Blurb: “In the town of Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871, Georgie Burkhardt is known for two things: her uncanny aim with a rifle and her habit of speaking her mind plainly. But when Georgie blurts out something she shouldn’t, her older sister Agatha flees, running off with a pack of “pigeoners” trailing the passenger pigeon migration. And when the sheriff returns to town with an unidentifiable body—wearing Agatha’s blue-green ball gown—everyone assumes the worst. Except Georgie. Refusing to believe the facts that are laid down (and coffined) before her, Georgie sets out on a journey to find her sister. She will track every last clue and shred of evidence to bring Agatha home. Yet even with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot, Georgie is not prepared for what she faces on the western frontier.”

Pub Stub: Knopf Book for Young Readers, ISBN-10 0375869255, January 2013

Author Tidbits: Timberlake, Amy. Golden Kite Award recipient for The Dirty Cowboy (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Newbery or Not: I’m having a difficult time analyzing this one simply because I just read Navigating Early, which features a similar storyline: younger sibling in historic setting goes on ill-advised journey to find dead sibling because he/she is convinced he/she is still alive, is aided by doubting Thomas sidekick, has dangerous adventures, and ultimately finds some sort of vindication. For my money, Navigating Early is better written, more detailed, and more accomplished overall, although I know One Came Home has figured prominently in many mock Newberys this year.

Weigh In Conclusion: The big announcement is tomorrow! I should say announcements, as many other important awards including the Caldecott, the Pura Belpre, the Coretta Scott King, and the Printz will have their big reveals as well. Despite all my talk about what can and what won’t win, I honestly have no idea what will happen. I only read a few of the frontrunners, didn’t make it to any of the favored nonfiction titles, and these awards often go to dark horses at any rate. No matter what happens, I’m sure the committee faced tough decisions and will put up some great titles. Personally, I hope to see PS Be Eleven, Counting by 7s, and Navigating Early in the final roundup. Any favorites in the crowd?

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