The Nutmeg Book Award encourages children in grades 4-12 to read quality literature and to choose their favorite from a list of ten nominated titles. Jointly sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association (CLA) and the Connecticut Assoiation of School Librarians (CASL), the Nutmeg Committee is comprised of children’s librarians and school library media specialists who are members of our sponsoring organizations.
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2019 Teen Nutmeg Nominees (grades 7 & 8)
All We Have Left by Wendy Mills
Muslim teen Alia is trapped in the World Trade Center as chaos descends on September 11, 2001. Fifteen years later, Jesse is doing community service as punishment for hateful graffiti. Her brother died in the Twin Towers, and her family was shattered. Alternating chapters tell the girls’ stories, eventually connecting them across time.
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Peppi, a young teenager who only fits in with her art club, embarrasses herself and ends up hurting the feelings of the nerdiest kid in school. This boy, Jamie, joins the art club’s rival: the science club. as the clubs battle it out at school, Peppi and Jamie fight on an emotional level, both learning important lessons in the process.
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan
This book takes a hard look at how cacao harvesting is modern day slave trade. Amadou and his brother, Seydou, need to harvest more cacao pods in order to survive the plantation bosses. Hope arrives with Khadija, the first girl to ever appear on the plantation. She has been forced into labor just like the boys, but as a girl she has even more reason to escape the bosses than they do. The Bitter Side of Sweet is a great way to introduce the difficult topic of cacao production and what it actually means for the kids who are forced to work backbreaking work day after day. Difficult situations and topics of abuse are appropriately skirted with implications rather than actual graphic content.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Castle Crenshaw, a.k.a. Ghost, has been running ever since he and his mom ran for their lives to escape his father’s anger. After Ghost inadvertently earns a spot on an elite track team, his mother agrees to let him join, but only if he can stay out of trouble. However, Ghost can’t stay on the straight and narrow. Will Coach help him out, or turn him in and cost Ghost his dream?
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordoba
In her attempt to rid herself of her bruja powers, Alexandra accidentally banishes her family to the underworld, known as Los Lagos. In order to make things right, Alex joins up with Nova, a powerful brujo boy, and her non-magical best friend Rishi, to make the dangerous journey to Los Lagos to find them. Can the three work together to bring Alex’s family safely back to this world?
Need by Joelle Charbonneau
Everyone is joining the hottest new social media site, and why not? Answer one simple question (What do you need? new phone? Concert tickets?), perform a seemingly minor task, and get what you asked for. Kaylee’s brother needs a new kidney. It’s a real long shot, but she figures she’ll try NEED- and quickly realizes the high price she’ll have to pay.
OCDaniel by Wesley King
Daniel has some strange habits, like flipping light switches, avoiding certain numbers, etc. He doesn’t know exactly what’s going on, but he tries very hard to make sure no one notices- until someone does. Soon Daniel is caught up in a friendship and then a mystery that will change his life.
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
In the early 1900’s, 15 year old Mercy Wong is determined to escape the poverty of Chinatown by getting an education. Mercy convinces admissions officers to allow her to join St. Clare’s School for Girls and she stands strong until a historic earthquake hits San Francisco. Charged with a mission to help others, Mercy searches for a way to make an impact during a tragedy.
The Six by Mark Alpert
Virtual reality games are Adam’s only escape. Muscular dystrophy has stolen his mobility and will soon take his life. When an Artificial Intelligence threatens the world, Adam and five other terminally ill teens are asked to abandon their bodies and have their minds uploaded into robots. Will the team be able to master their new forms and take down Sigma before he destroys humanity?
Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
Lily and Dunkin tell the story of their on-again, off-again friendship in alternating chapters. Middle school is a difficult time for most kids, but Lily and Dunkin face extra challenges with friends and family. Lily, who was born Timothy, is transgender and negotiating a new relationship with her father while dreading puberty and the unwanted changes it will bring. Dunkin is bipolar and trying to control his manic episodes while making friends in a new school. Their own issues will help them to accept each other for who they really are.
2019 High School Nutmeg Nominees (grades 9-12)
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
Rashad was just buying a bag of chips at the local convenience store, but instead he wakes up in the hospital after and encounter with a violent cop. Quin witnesses the violent act committed by a man he loves and respects. Two teenage boys – one black, one white – deal with the consequences of a single violent act that tears their community apart.
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Three years ago Alex’s sister was murdered and her killer walked free. Alex took matters into her own hands and she knows she can’t be trusted around other people; not Peekay, the Preacher’s kid, or Jack, the star athlete. Yet the three teens grow closer and as their senior year unfolds, Alex’s violent nature begins to show setting them on a path that will change their lives forever.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Kady can’t believe it when her planet gets invaded right after she breaks up with Ezra. She, Ezra, and other refugees flee the planet on a squadron of spaceships (with an enemy ship following closely behind) and soon thereafter, a deadly disease breaks out onto the fleet. The artificial intelligence system AIDAN is supposed to protect the ships from any harm, including the virus- but it has other plans. She’s not trying to be a hero, but Kady just might end up being the entire fleets savior.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Why be normal when you can be a dragon?! (Always choose dragon). Join shapeshifter Nimona on her quest to be the best henchwoman to supervillian scientist Ballister Blackheart. Help them expose the lies of the kingdom and its goody goody hero Sir Ambrosius Goldenlion. As the battles escalates it becomes obvious Nimona is more dangerous than she appears. Is she really just a sidekick, is she really human?
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
When you are trying to survive, it doesn’t matter who you are. Near the end of WWII the Willhelm Gustloff, a hospital ship evacuating German citizens, Nazi officials, and military personnel is sunk. As passengers Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred unite to find strength, courage and trust as they struggle toward freedom. The story and its characters bring history to life with gripping danger, mystery, and hope.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
In a world that has found a way to conquer all forms of death, we now depend on scythes to keep the world’s population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe- a role that neither wants. The teens must master the skills of taking a life, knowing that if they fail they could be next.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Dill comes from a family of fanatical Pentecostal preachers, Travis is obsessed with a fantasy author, and Lydia’s blog has an impressive following. These three quirky high school seniors refuse to let their backgrounds of their small Tennessee hometown hold them back from what they know life has in store.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Katterdam is a city known for its international trade and anything can be bought for a price. Kaz is given the opportunity to execute an almost impossible heist that will make him rich beyond his dreams, but he can’t do it alone. Kaz assembles a team of six of the deadliest outcasts and together they will accomplish the impossible or kill each other in the process.
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
No one knows what really happened the morning that five friends went hunting and only four came back alive. They’re sticking to their story, and their parents and lawyers are with them. But Kate, a new intern in the District Attorney’s office who goes to school with them, is assisting the prosecution and is determined to discover the truth- accident, or murder? The evidence is confusing, the case compelling, and no one is talking.
Trashed by Derf Backderf
Take out the trash and get a job! J.B. does both. Join J.B., Mike, and Bone as they clean up the streets and learn the secret life of your garbage. Funny and gross in the best possible way.