Another one that is nominated for the Sunshine State Young Readers is Blast Off by Nate Ball. It's part of a series of books called "An Alien in my Pocket". It's an easy chapter book about a boy named Zack who wakes up and finds that a space ship has crashed in his room. The alien being that gets out is blue and is 4 inches tall. The alien is surprised that things are so big (they've miscalculated the proportions of things on earth) and although his plan is to take the Zack back with him, the alien ends up going with him to school. I think the kids will like this one because it's funny, but I didn't think it was particularly well written. It was pretty predictable and I guess that ok. One thing that WAS really good about it was that it has science connections. In this book, there were connections to rocket propulsion and for a math connection, you could also talk about ratios.
I was thrilled to see that "Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage was nominated for the Sunshine State Young Reader award this year. I just love her writing style! "Three Times Lucky" is about a girl named Mo (short for Moses because she was found floating in a river after a hurricane). She lives with two people, the Colonel and Miss Lana who run a cafe in town. Her best friend is Dale (named after the famous NASCAR racer) and together they decide to solve a murder. What's really great about this book is the language. Sheila Turnage writes GREAT similes and metaphors. The story is exciting and mysterious. I LOVED this one.