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)