Mark Twain Award Books

Mark twain award nominees 2020-2021

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24 Hours in Nowhere

24 Hours in Nowhere By Dusti Bowling

Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere’s biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott, one of the best racers in Nowhere, comes to his rescue—but in return she has to give Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus agrees to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine, joined by an old friend, one of Bo’s cronies, and Rossi herself. As they race to find the treasure before the most important biking competition Nowhere has ever had, they bond over shared stories of how hard life in Nowhere is—and they realize this adventure just may be their way out.

24 Hours in Nowhere Quiz

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Amal Unbound Book Cover

Amal Unbound, A Novel By Aisha Saeed

As Amal Unbound begins, life for 12-year-old Amal is a happy one. She lives with her parents and three younger sisters on a farm in rural Pakistan, is a star student, and has plans to become a teacher. But when her mother gives birth to a fifth daughter, her life changes forever. Even though Amal’s father loves his daughters, in their world it’s boys who are of real value to a family. Her mother becomes so depressed after failing to provide a son, that her father decides Amal must stay home from school to care for the family until her mother is well. It’s only for a little while, she hopes, and then she’ll be able to return to school. That hope seems gone forever when she talks back to Jawad Khan, the son of a powerful local landlord. He’s so angry he demands that Amal’s father repay the money he owes the Khan family. When her father can’t raise the money, Jawad tells him that Amal must work as an indentured servant in his home until the debt can be repaid. Amal is soon sent to live at the Khan’s luxurious estate and begins a new life as his mother’s personal maid. It’s not long before she realizes that indentured servants can rarely work off their debts and she may never be able to return to her family. But Amal is smart, resourceful, and courageous, and when she discovers what’s really going on in the Khan family, she finds a way to expose the truth.

 Amal Unbound Quiz

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Blended Book Cover

Blended By Sharon Draper

Isabella's mom is white and her dad is black, and when they divorce she feels like there will always be two sides of her pulled in different directions. Two houses, two families, two backpacks, two different sets of rules, two different kids: Izzy and Isabella. Just when it looks like things couldn't get any crazier, Isabella's friend is targeted at school, and a routine trip ends in horror.


Blended Quiz

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Captain Superlative Book Cover

Captain Superlative By J.S. Puller

"Have no fear, citizens! Captain Superlative is here to make all troubles disappear!"

Red mask, blue wig, silver swimsuit, rubber gloves, torn tights, high top sneakers and . . . a cape? Who would run through the halls of Deerwood Park Middle School dressed like this? And why?

Janey-quick to stay in the shadows-can't resist the urge to uncover the truth behind the mask. The answer pulls invisible Janey into the spotlight and leads her to an unexpected friendship with a superhero like no other. Fearless even in the face of school bully extraordinaire, Dagmar Hagen, no good deed is too small for the incomparable Captain Superlative and her new sidekick, Janey.

But superheroes hold secrets and Captain Superlative is no exception. When Janey unearths what's truly at stake, she's forced to face her own dark secrets and discover what it truly means to be a hero . . . and a friend.

Captain Superlative Quiz

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Front Desk Book Cover

Front Desk By Kelly Yang

Mia Tang and her parents live and work at the Calivista Motel in Anaheim, California. While her parents spend all of their time cleaning the rooms, Mia has taken it upon herself to manage the FRONT DESK and ensure that their guests -- including the Chinese immigrants that her parents hide in the empty rooms -- enjoy their stay. As she adjusts to life at the motel and her new school, Mia starts to realize that life isn't easy for outsiders in America. Can she use her love of writing, even though English isn't her first language, to help her family, friends, and the immigrants pursue their dreams?

Front Desk Quiz

Squint Book Cover

Squint By Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

My name is Flint, but everyone in middle school calls me Squint because I'm losing my vision. I used to play football, but not anymore. I haven’t had a friend in a long time. Thankfully, real friends can see the real you, even when you can't clearly see.

Flint loves to draw. In fact, he's furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the Find a Comic Star contest. He’s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell's not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy named Squint. He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?

McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn't share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint's comic book named Squint.

Squint Quiz

The Ambrose Deception Book Cover

The Ambrose Deception By Emily Ecton

Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that's what their middle school teachers think. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn't take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It's only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception -- a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.

With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.

The Ambrose Deception Quiz

The Doughnut Fix Book Cover

The Doughnut Fix By Jessie Janowitz

Tristan isn't Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he's always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It's like suddenly they're supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters.

His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he's tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn't made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and It's possible he's bitten off more than he can chew...

The Doughnut Fix Quiz

The Science of Breakable Things Book Cover

The Science of Breakable Things By Tae Keller

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not.

When Natalie's science teacher suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie thinks that this might be the perfect solution to all of her problems. There's prize money, and if she and her friends wins, then she can fly her botanist mother to see the miraculous Cobalt Blue Orchids--flowers that survive against impossible odds. Natalie's mother has been suffering from depression, and Natalie is sure that the flowers' magic will inspire her mom to love life again. Which means it's time for Natalie's friends to step up and show her that talking about a problem is like taking a plant out of a dark cupboard and giving it light. With their help, Natalie begins an uplifting journey to discover the science of hope, love, and miracles.

The Science of Breakable Things Quiz

The Night Diary Book Cover

The Night Diary By Veera Hiranandani

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn't know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it's too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can't imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

The Night Diary Quiz

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle By Leslie Connor

Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason’s best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family’s orchard.

An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can’t understand why Lieutenant Baird won’t believe the story Mason has told about that day.

Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground haven for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He’s desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin and, eventually, Benny.

But will anyone believe him?

The Truth As Told By Mason Buttle Quiz

The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair Book Cover

The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair By Amy Mckechnie

Guinevere St. Clair is going to be a lawyer. She was the fastest girl in New York City. She knows everything there is to know about the brain. And now that she’s living in Crow, Iowa, she wants to ride into her first day of school on a cow named Willowdale Princess Deon Dawn.

But Gwyn isn’t in Crow, Iowa, just for royal cows. Her family has moved there, where her parents grew up, in the hopes of jogging her mother Vienna’s memory. Vienna can no longer remember anything past the age of thirteen, not even that she has two young daughters. Gwyn’s father is obsessed with finding out everything he can to help his wife, but Gwyn’s focused on problems that seem a little more within her reach. Like proving that the very strange Gaysie Cutter who lives next door is behind the disappearance of her only friend, Wilbur Truesdale.

Gwyn is sure she can crack the case, but when she does she finds that not all of her investigations lead her to the places she would have expected. In fact they might just lead her to learn about the mother she’s been doing her best to forget…

The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair