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Young Reader Award (Ages 6-8)
Barbed Wire Baseball
Written by Marissa Moss, Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu
Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
As a boy, Kenichi “Zeni” Zenimura dreams of playing professional baseball, but everyone tells him he is too small. Yet he grows up to be a successful player, playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig! When the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1941, Zeni and his family are sent to one of ten internment camps where more than 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry are imprisoned without trials. Zeni brings the game of baseball to the camp, along with a sense of hope. This true story, set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, introduces children to a little-discussed part of American history through Marissa Moss’s rich text and Yuko Shimizu’s beautiful illustrations. The book includes author and illustrator notes, archival photographs, and a bibliography.
Older Reader Award (Ages 9-12)
Hero on a Bicycle
Written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes
Published by Candlewick Press
Florence, Italy, 1944 and the city is under heavy Nazi occupation. For fourteen-year-old Paolo, the war is a long and boring wait. Too young to fight for what he believes in and desperate for adventure, he sets out each night on secret bike rides. But one night Paolo receives a message that propels his family into a terrifying and impossible situation. Finally at the center of the action, Paolo must work out how to be a true hero. In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of doing extraordinary things.