1. We’ve got some strong historical fiction this year, namely ONE CRAZY SUMMER, COUNTDOWN, TURTLE IN PARADISE, ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN, and THE WATER SEEKER. How do you think these compare with each other? Does one rise to the top? Any Scott O’Dell Award predictions? Anderson won for CHAINS can she repeat with the same series?
2. There are quite a few Revolutionary-themed books this year. LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Russell Freedman, THE NOTORIOUS BENEDICT ARNOLD by Steve Sheinkin, THE WOODS RUNNER by Gary Paulsen, THE CROSSING by Jim Murphy, and HENRY KNOX by Anita Silvey. How do these books measure up against each other? Which one piques your interest the most?
3. Like A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, MOCKINGJAY, and CLEMENTINE, FRIEND OF THE WEEK, this book is part of a series. Does that present challenges to evaluating the literary elements of the book? How does it compare to those other books in this respect.
I don’t think this one cracks my top three or my top seven (i.e. my Newbery nominations), but I find many strong distinguished qualities here and I think you can make a very compelling case for it. Convince me.