Welcome to day 4 of the Cardinal Mooney Book Awards. We’ve looked at what each of my classes has awarded by themselves. Now, we start to look at what all my students have decided to award and honor as a collective student body. Tonight, we look at and honor the wonderful realistic fiction books that were published in 2014.
This is the wheelhouse for many of my students, as this is, for many of them, the genre that has helped them fall in love with reading all over again. So when we talk about the best of 2014, there’s no doubt that they know what they’re talking about.
2014 saw a lot of great realistic fiction books published, as the young adult publishers begin to swing away from dystopian and towards a more realistic feel. One thing that has made a considerable upswing in this resurgence of realistic fiction is a little thing called magical realism. I explain this to my students as “realistic fiction with just a touch of magic.” A completely normal town that is exactly as it would be in the real world. . .except our narrator’s fish is actually the reincarnation of her grandmother. A society framed almost entirely on the current United States. . .except when people sneeze, their souls actually do escape. Some of these are a little more realistic fiction, and some are a little more fantasy.
Many of my students have gravitated towards magical realism, as it gives them just the right amount of escapism. As we look at realistic fiction tonight, you’ll notice a little bit of magical realism among the titles. They have just that right level of head in the clouds, feet on the ground philosophy that my students love.
So let’s begin, shall we?
We have three books that are marked as Realistic Fiction Honor books. These have received quite the buzz in my classroom, and have been known to re-awaken some of my dormant readers. Great titles, all of them.
The first honor book:
Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King!
It’s just hard to resist a good story about a girl who drinks the mummified remains of a bat and starts to see visions of the future.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson!
There’s a good reason that everyone is talking about this book in late January.
Our third and final Honor Book:
The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner!
We are reading The Pull of Gravity, also by Gae Polisner, as a class read-aloud. Many of my students love it. Even so, they agree that The Summer of Letting Go is 20 times better. It’s just. That. Good.
With those as our honor books, what could we possibly be saving as our award winner? It’d be tough to find a book better than those three. Yet there is a book that my students believe stands out even among this talented crowd.
The winner of the 2015 Cardinal Mooney Book Award for Realistic Fiction:
We Were Liars by e. lockhart!
I like to put student quotes in these posts if I can. Let me give a quote from nearly all of my students, immediately after I tell them what this book is about:
“Whoa. CAN WE READ THAT?!?”
And it lives up to that response.
Congratulations to all of the authors and their books! Thank you all for writing such amazing books! We are eternally grateful. Your awards will be kept for safe keeping in our classroom, and you are welcome to pick them up at any time.