Award Books

2018-2019 Gateway Nominees

The librarians of Missouri believe that exposing students to quality literature impacts their future reading habits.  These awards encourage students in grades one through twelve to explore new literary genres, to recognize excellence in writing and illustrating, and to experience the joy of literature.

MASL’s four Readers Awards represent the best current youth literature available to students of different grade levels.

All the Gallant Men : An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor
Book Author: 
Stratton, Daonald

THE FIRST MEMOIR BY A USS ARIZONA SURVIVOR: Donald Stratton, one of the battleship's five living heroes, delivers an "epic,"* "powerful,"** and "intimate"** eyewitness account of Pearl Harbor and his unforgettable return to the fight.


Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee
Book Author: 
Thompson, Mary G. (Mary Gloria)

When sixteen-year-old Amy returns home, she can't tell her family what’s happened to her. She can’t tell them where she’s been since she and her best friend, her cousin Dee, were kidnapped six years ago—who stole them from their families or what’s become of Dee. She has to stay silent because she's afraid of what might happen next, and she’s desperate to protect her secrets at any cost.
Amy tries to readjust to life at “home,” but nothing she does feels right. She’s a stranger in her own family, and the guilt that she’s the one who returned is insurmountable. Amy soon realizes that keeping secrets won’t change what's happened, and they may end up hurting those she loves the most. She has to go back in order to move forward, risking everything along the way. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is a riveting, affecting story of loss and hope.


Book Author: 
Meyer, Marissa

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Holding Up the Universe
Book Author: 
Niven, Jennifer

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone. 

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.


My Lady Jane
Book Author: 
Hand, Cynthia

In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind YA fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong.


Book Author: 
Banks, Anna

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?


Salt to the Sea : A Novel
Book Author: 
Sepetys, Ruta

Winter 1945. WWII. Four refugees. Four stories.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies, war. As thousands desperately flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom. But not all promises can be kept . .


Book Author: 
Shusterman, Neal

Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.


Symptoms of Being Human
Book Author: 
Garvin, Jeff

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley's life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be human.


Tell Me Three Things
Book Author: 
Buxbaum, Julie

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son, and to start at a new school where she knows no one.

Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?


The Memory Book
Book Author: 
Avery, Lara

Sammie McCoy is a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as possible. Nothing will stand in her way-not even the rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly steal her memories and then her health.

So the memory book is born: a journal written to Sammie's future self. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime-crush Stuart, and where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood friend Cooper. The memory book will ensure Sammie never forgets the most important parts of her life-the people who have broken her heart, and those who have mended it. If Sammie's going to die, she's going to die living.


The Serpent King : A Novel
Book Author: 
Zentner, Jeff

Dillard Early, Jr., Travis Bohannon and Lydia Blankenship are three friends from different walks of life who have one thing in common: none of them seem to fit the mold in rural Tennessee's Forrestville High. Dill has always been branded as an outsider due to his family heritage as snake handlers and poison drinkers, an essential part of their Pentecostal faith. But after his father is sent to prison for sexual abuse of a young parishioner, Dill and his mother become real pariahs. His only two friends are Travis, a gentle giant who works at his family's lumberyard and is obsessed with a Game of Thrones-like fantasy series (much to his alcoholic father's chagrin); and Lydia, who runs a popular fashion blog that's part Tavi Gevinson and part Angela Chase, and is actively plotting her escape from Redneckville, Tennessee.
As the three friends begin their senior year, it becomes clear that they won't all be getting to start a promising new life after graduation. How they deal with their diverging paths could cause the end of their friendship. Until a shattering act of random violence forces Dill to wrestle with his dark legacy and find a way into the light of a future worth living.


The Sun is Also a Star
Book Author: 
Yoon, Nicola

oon to be a major motion picture starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton! The #1 New York Times bestseller and National Book Award Finalist from the bestselling author of Everything, Everything will have you falling in love with Natasha and Daniel as they fall in love with each other.

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


Three Dark Crowns
Book Author: 
Blake, Kendare

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don't miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

Be sure to catch the stunning sequel to this New York Times bestseller, One Dark Throne.


When We Collided
Book Author: 
Lord, Emery

Seventeen year-old Jonah Daniels has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he is not. With a mother lost in a deep bout of depression, Jonah and his five siblings struggle to keep up their home and the restaurant their dad left behind. But at the start of summer, a second change rolls in: Vivi Alexander, the new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. Charming and unfiltered, she refuses to be held down by the medicine she's told should make her feel better. After meeting Jonah, she slides into the Daniels' household seamlessly, winning over each sibling with her imagination and gameness. But it's not long before Vivi's zest for life begins to falter. Soon her adventurousness becomes all-out danger-seeking.

Through each high and low, Vivi and Jonah's love is put to the test . . . but what happens when love simply isn't enough?



2018-2019 Truman Nominees

Book Author: 
Tintera, Amy
The Girl I Used to Be
Book Author: 
Henry, April
Zero Day
Book Author: 
Gangsei, Jan
Book Author: 
Harrington, Karen
Lily & Dunkin
Book Author: 
Gephart, Donna
Hour of the Bees
Book Author: 
Edgar, Lindsay
Wolf Hollow
Book Author: 
Wolk, Lauren
Falling Over Sdeways
Book Author: 
Sonnenblick, Jordan
Projekt 1065
Book Author: 
Gratz, Alan
The Forgetting
Book Author: 
Cameron, Sharon
The Imposter Queen
Book Author: 
Fine, Sarah
Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry
Book Author: 
Vaught, Susan

2018-2019 Show-Me Award Nominiees

Good Night, Bat! Good Morning Squirrel
Book Author: 
Meisel, Paul
A Bike Like Sergio's
Book Author: 
Boelts, Maribeth
Qickest Kid in Clarksville
Book Author: 
Miller, Pat Zielow
The Water Princess
Book Author: 
Verde, Susan & Badiel, Georgie
The Magic Word
Book Author: 
Barnett. Mac
Who Wants a Tortoise
Book Author: 
Keane, Dave
Madeline Finn and the Library Dog
Book Author: 
Papp, Lisa
Seven and a Half Tons of Steel
Book Author: 
Nolan, Janet
Dear Dragon
Book Author: 
Funk, Josh
Diana's White House Garden
Book Author: 
Carbone, Elisa

2018-2019 Building Block Nominees

The Giant Jumparee
Book Author: 
Donaldson, Julia
I Got a New Friend
Book Author: 
Edwards, Karl Newsom
Barnacle is Bored
Book Author: 
Fenske, Jonathan
Plankton is Pushy
Book Author: 
Fenske, Jonathan
Go Sleep in Your Own Bed
Book Author: 
Fleming, Candace
A Good Day for a Hat
Book Author: 
Fuller, T. Nat
Pug Meets Pig
Book Author: 
Gallion, Sue L.
Carrot & Pea: an Unlikely Friendship
Book Author: 
Hood, Morga
Spunky Little Monkey
Book Author: 
Martin Jr., Bill & Sampson, Michael
Everybunny Dance!
Book Author: 
Sandall, Ellie

2018-2019 Mark Twain Nominees

Each year the winner of the Mark Twain Award is chosen by students in the fourth through the sixth grade. Providing a list of recommended literature reading for children that will enrich their lives, is the purpose of the Mark Twain Award. The criteria for the Mark Twain Award is as follows: it has to appeal to children in the fourth through the sixth grades, the book has to be written by an author living in the United States, it has to enrich the lives of children with literary value and it should be published at least two years before nomination on the Master List of 12 Nominees.

Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery
Book Author: 
Ponti, James

You're halfway through your homework and the director of the FBI keeps texting you for help....What do you do, save your grade or save the country? If your're Florian Bates, you figure our a way to do both. Florian has just moved to Washington, DC. He's learning his way around using TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. It's a technique he invented to solve life's little mysteries, such as where to sit on the first day of school, or which Chinese restaurant has the best egg rolls. But when he teaches it to his new friend Margaret, they uncover a mystery that isn't little. In fact, it's huge, and it involves the National Gallery, the FBI, and a notorious Mafia syndicate known as EEL. Can Florian decipher the clues and finish his homework in timne to help the FBI solve the case? And before the Mafia gets ahold of him?

(From the Framed! book jacket)

The Seventh Wish
Book Author: 
Messner, Kate

Be careful what you wish for... When Charlie Brennan goes ice fishing on her town's frozen lake, she's hoping the fish she reels in will help pay for her dream: a fancy Irish dancing dress for her upcoming competition. But when Charlie's first catch of the day happens to be a talking fish offering her a wish in exchange for its freedom, her world turns upside down, as her wishes go terribly - and hilariously - wrong. Just as Charlie is finally getting the hang of communicating with a magical wishing fish, a family crisis with her older sister brings reality into sharp focus. Charlie quickly learns that the real world doesn't always keep fairy-tale promises and life's toughest challenges can't be fixed by a simple wish.... Acclaimed author Kate Messner expertly weaves fantasy into the ordinary, in an important story of self-reliance and hope that will open readers' eyes to the wonders and challenges of their world.

(From the book jacket of 'The Seventh Wish')

Book Author: 
Creech, Sharon

Zora was chasing us. Mooooooooooo. Mooooooooo. When we reached the gate Luke scrambled up and over it instead of through it and I was trying to follow when Zora's ENORMOUS HEAD loomed up below me and bumped me into the air. 

Counting Thyme
Book Author: 
Conklin, Melanie

When eleven-year-old Thyme Owen's little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer trail, Thyme and her family are overjoyed. It's just the change they 've been hoping for, even though it means moving to New York, thousands of miles away from their home in San Diago. The change is tough on Thyme; she misses her family's house, her best friend, Shani, her grandmother, and their secret garden. To make matters worse, the bustling streets of New York aren't exactly welcoming, but Thyme trusts the move is only temporary.

When Val's treatment starts to show promise and her dad takes a full-time job in the city, Thyme is forced to accept that New York might be more permanent than she thought. Her feelings become even more mixed-up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a grumpy neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, hours, and days, and hope they can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

Melanie Conkin's sparkling debut is equal parts heart and humor, a charming story of love and family-and what it means fo be counted.

(From the book jacket of 'Counting Thyme'.)

Maxi's Secrets
Book Author: 
Plourde, Lynn

Everything changes when a huge, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy....

Timminy know that starting middle school in a new town is less than ideal when his small size makes him perfect bully bait. But he gets a huge consolation prize in his big, bouncy new dog, Maxi. When Timminy discovers that Maxi is deaf, he is determined to help her-after all, his parents didn't return him because he was a runt. However, when the going gets rough, Maxi turns out to be the one to help Timminy. So does their neighbor, Abby, who doesn't let her blindness define her and who bristles at Timminy's "poor me" attitude.

The friendships that Maxi helps Timminy forge become all the more vital when Maxi gets sick-that, and all the other things Maxi has shown him about life, love and hanging on, even when the ride gets extremely bumpy.

(From the book jacket of 'Maxi's Secret'.)

When Friendship Followed Me Home
Book Author: 
Griffin, Paul

A boy’s chance encounter with a scruffy dog leads to an unforgettable friendship in this deeply moving story about life, loss, and the meaning of family

Ben Coffin has never felt like he fits in. A former foster kid, he keeps his head down at school to avoid bullies and spends his afternoons reading sci-fi books at the library. But that all changes when he finds a scruffy abandoned dog named Flip and befriends the librarian’s daughter, Halley. For the first time, Ben starts to feel like he belongs in his own life. Then, everything changes, and suddenly, Ben is more alone than ever. But with a little help from Halley’s magician father, Ben discovers his place in the world and learns to see his own magic through others’ eyes.

Equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming, this book is a must-read for dog lovers and fans of emotionally resonant middle grade novels like One for the Murphys and Okay for Now.


Book Author: 
Bauer, Joan

  Jeremiah is not one to let anything keep him down. Starting with his adoption by computer genius Walt, Jeremiah has looked on his life as a series of lucky breaks. When a weak heart keeps him from playing his beloved baseball, Jeremiah appoints himself the team coach. When Walt has to move for another new assignment, Jeremiah sees it as a great chance to explore a new town. But no sooner do they arrive than a doping scandel is revealed and the town feels betrayed and disgraced. Jeremiah takes it as his personal mission to restore the town's morale and help the teams bounce back and remember how to soar. Full of humor, heart, and baseball lore, Soar is Joan Bauer at her best.


Book Author: 
Telgemeier, Raina

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.


Save Me A Seat
Book Author: 
Weeks, Sarah & Varadarajan, Gita

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.

Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own.

Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.

Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.


Book Author: 
Burg, Ann E.

THE DAY GRACE is called from the slave cabins to work in the Big House, Mama makes her promise to keep her eyes down. Uncle Jim cautions her to keep her thoughts tucked private in her mind or they could bring a whole lot of trouble and pain.

But the more Grace sees of the heartless Master and hateful Missus, the more a rightiness voice clamors in her head- asking how come white folks can own other peopel, sell them on the auction block, and sparate families forever. When that voice escapes without warning, it sets off a terrible chain of events that prove Uncle Jim's words true. Suddenly, Grace and her family must run. Deep in a forbidding wilderness, they face deadly animals, paddyrollers, and the uncertaninty of ever finding freedom.

With candor and compassion, Ann E. Burg illuminates a little-know chapter of American history-- about a hidden community in the Great Dismal Swamp, a real place that sheltered people fleeing bondage--and creates a powerful testament to the right of every human to be free.

(From the book jacket of 'Unbound'.)

Book Author: 
Reynolds, Jason

RUNNING. That's all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race--and wins--the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he tries to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

GHOST is the first book in Jason Reynold's explosive Track series about a fast but fiery group of kids who have a shot at the junior Olympics, but have a lot to prove first--to each other, and to themselves.

(From the book jacket of 'Ghost'.)

Nine, Ten: A September 11th Story
Book Author: 
Baskin, Nora Raleigh

Ask anyone:

September 11, 2001, was a serene and lovely, a perfect day- until 8:46 a.m. when a plane struck the World Trade Center. But, that hasn't happened yet. Right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will's father is gone too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school, she's getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. There four dont know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day-the day our world changed forever.

(From the book jacket of Nine, Tem: A September 11 Story)