On Wednesday morning, the National Book Foundation whittled its longlist down to five finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature: Elizabeth Acevedo for The Poet X; M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin for The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge; Leslie Connor for The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle; Christopher Paul Curtis for The Journey of Little Charlie; and Jarrett J. Krosoczka for Hey, Kiddo. The announcement was made live on BuzzFeed News’s AM to DM.
Local middle and high school students will have the opportunity to hear the finalists read from their works, and to take part in a live QA at the Teen Press Conference, held on November 13 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, as part of National Book Awards week. The winners will be announced during the NBA’s 69th annual awards dinner on November 14. Read on for PW’s reviews of the books by all five finalists.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen).
“Debut novelist Acevedo’s free verse gives Xiomara’s coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength.”
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, illus. by Eugene Yelchin (Candlewick).
“Told in narrative and illustrated pages… the story by Anderson and Yelchin blends the absurd and the timely to explore commonality, long-standing conflict, and who gets to write a world’s history.”
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (HarperCollins/Tegen).
“In this sensitively written novel, Connor introduces a learning-disabled 12-year-old who will warm readers’ hearts and earn their respect with his honesty and compassion.”
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)
“Piloted by a hero who finds the courage to do what he knows is right, Curtis’s unsparing novel pulls no punches as it illuminates an ugly chapter of American history.”
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic/Graphix).
“This nuanced graphic memoir portrays a whole family and tells a story of finding identity among a life’s complications.”