Book Awards Archives

AWS Children’s Choice Awards                                                                                                           

2014 Winners--***


READ ALOUD ---***Tal: His Marvelous Adventures with Noom Zor Noom;  Paul Fenimore Cooper                                                                                                                                      

THIRD GRADE ---***The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail; Richard Peck
                       The Year of Billy Miller; Kevin Henkes

FOURTH GRADE --- Bo at Ballard Creek; Kirkpatrick Hill
                      ***The Worm Whisperer; Betty Hicks

FIFTH GRADE --- The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp; Kathi Appelt
                      ***What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World; Henry Clark

SIXTH GRADE --- Mister Orange;  Truus Matti
                    ***The Ugly One;  Leanne S. Ellis

SEVENTH GRADE --- ***Counting by 7s; Holly Goldberg Sloan
                    Falcon in the Glass; Susan Fletcher

EIGHTH GRADE --- Ghost Hawk; Susan Cooper
                    ***Navigating Early;Clare Vanderpool                                                                 


The second year of the Austin Waldorf School Children’s Choice Awards has been very satisfying. Participation and enthusiasm was markedly greater than last year. So thanks for your participation. As always, your observations are welcome.

The finalists for the 2012 awards will be announced in early May—in the classrooms, at the Parent Society meeting, in the Messenger, and on this website.

So, to the winners: there were three ties and we did an instant run-off (that’s why we ask you for your second and third choices).  The results were:

Read Aloud:  Wind Boy by Ethel Cook Eliot

Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson was a close second and The Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard was third.

3rd-4th Grades: White Crane by Sandy Fussell  

No run-off here. Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace had its staunch supporters, just not enough to win!

5th-6th Grades: The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins

This one was incredibly close for all three. The instant run-off decided it. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool was an extremely close second with Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord right behind!

7th-8th Grades: Scrawl by Mark Shulman

Another close one between the two top choices. After an instant run-off, Scumble by Ingrid Law came in second with The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh in third.


Reading Lists

Dear Parents,

The following lists are intended as a guide, to some of the best children’s books available. I consulted many sources, although the final decision for inclusion was mine. I try to choose books that children have consistently enjoyed, that are age and curriculum appropriate, and well written.

You may notice that the lists are shorter than they have been. The books taken off the list are still in the library and available to your child. I’ve left the very best and am reassessing others. If your child wants to read a book I think may be too mature in content for them, I will ask them to have you call me. We can talk; the decision is then yours.

I’m working on a longer list for when you can’t get to the library. Call me if you have comments or questions; they are always welcome.

Linda Burke, Librarian

Austin Waldorf School



Dear Parents,

In the fall, the Austin Waldorf School grades library will begin giving awards for the favorite books of the previous year as determined by our community. We want to highlight the best of the books that are published each year. We begin with books from 2009.

There will be awards in Fiction in the following categories: 3rd and 4th Grades, 5th and 6th Grades, and 7th and 8th Grades. The 3rd through the 7th grades have been given a list of the finalists for their class. We have asked the children to read the books over the summer and be prepared to vote on their favorite in August.  A separate letter has been sent to the parents of the 2nd Grade who, as the rising 3rd Grade, will be included.

We are also awarding a favorite Read Aloud book. There are 2 new books and one dearly loved by many in our community.  We hope that your family will read them aloud this summer and select a member of your family to cast your vote in August.

There are short plot summaries and a few comments on the attached word document.

For your information, the finalists are:

Grades 3 and 4

Fortune’s Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff

Grades 5 and 6

The Dragon of Two Hearts by Donald Samson

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma  by Trenton Lee Stewart 

Grades 7 and 8

The Death-Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbric

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Read Aloud

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge

Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

All the winners will be announced in late September.

These books are available from the library all summer except when Linda is on vacation from June 26 –July 11.  Call her any time to make arrangements, as the Library is not open for general use over the summer. You can also find all but Linnets and Valerians in the Austin Public Library.

The Juniper Tree House will have them available by mid-June and will be selling them at a discounted price through August.

Thank you for your participation in this and have fun.

With excitement,

The Library Awards Committee

(Linda Burke, Ann Bennett, Nancy Campos, Susan Das, Kelly Horton, Yoshiko Inoue, Mira Madhav, and Dawn McLachlan)


AUSTIN WALDORF SCHOOL                                                                      


APL--Austin Public Library

DSCL--Dripping Springs Community Library 

Grades 3 and 4 

Fortune's Magic Farm  by Suzanne Selfors                 

Little, Brown Books for Children, c. 2009

2 copies--AWS   6 copies--APL   0 copies--DSCL                                    

Recommended by a student.

"In the dank village of Runny Cove, orphaned Isabelle works at the umbrella factory, struggling to support herself and her grandma. That is, until Isabelle discovers that she has inherited Fortune's Farm, the last place on Earth where magic grows. Now Isabelle must use the magic to save the people of runny Cove."   

"The premise of the book is great; it's a plot I'm fond of and one I think that lots of children can relate to: feeling special and like you have something to offer. It plays really well with the two contrasting worlds of the dark, dismal Runny Cove and the vibrant and flourishing Fortune’s Farm, as well as playing with the contrast of good and evil."  Makayla McDonald--AWS Class of 2010

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo              

Candlewick Press, c. 2009

2 c.--AWS     32 c.--APL     2 c.--DSCL

"In her newest novel, Newbery Medalist DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux) conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected and making the impossible come true. When orphan Peter Augustus Duchene asks a fortuneteller about his sister, the fortuneteller's mysterious answer sets off a chain of remarkable events."  

"...the mystery quality very strong... I enjoyed the many different characters in the book and how their stories weave together...each character emerges as a being of importance... foggy and cloudy mood...the ending, on the whole, very satisfying."

Parents, this is an unusual book and we debated its inclusion a long time. We finally decided it is worth including and we would let the children decide. 

comments from the Library Committee

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen                               

Wendy Lamb Books, c. 2009

2 c.--AWS     24 c.--APL     0 c..--DSCL

"Mudshark is the go-to guy for any mystery that needs solving. That is, until the Psychic Parrot takes up residence in the school library. With an escaped gerbil and an eraser thief on the loose (not to mention the accelerating problem with the faculty bathroom) the school needs someone who's good at solving problems."

We don't need to say much. This is a good, sometimes funny, read.  

Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff    

Wendy Lamb Books, c. 2009

2 c.--AWS     18 c.--APL    1 sound recording--DSCL

"From two-time Newbery Honor author comes a contemporary and irresistible novel about a young girl from Brazil who travels to New York to live with her father and older brother, and a parallel story about a young filly whose destiny lies with the girl.       

Grades 5 and 6

The Dragon of Two Hearts by Donald Samson          

AWSNA, c. 2009

4 c.—AWS    available at a discount from The Juniper Tree House

“The Dragon of Two Hearts is an adventure of courage and perseverance. It is the second book in The Star Trilogy, and picks up the thread of The Dragon Boy. The knight Michael goes to the aid of a kingdom plagued by a wild dragon. However, the king is oddly not in any hurry to be rid of the fearsome beast. Equally confusing is the princess, a warrior maiden who is fascinated by the dragon's prowess. For fourth grade and up, it is a compelling read for any age. Its classic theme of the battle with the dragon is interwoven with unforeseen turns and revelations.”                   

AWSNA  website

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly            

Henry Holt & Co., c. 2009

3c.--AWS    33 c.--APL    0 c.--DSCL

It is 1899 in a small Texas town south of Austin and eleven, almost twelve-year-old Calpurnia is dealing with change in her life. She is trying to cope with society's and her family's expectations for her future as well as the natural changes in her family's life. Then she discovers an interest in science and has dreams of university, which sparks a relationship with her intimidating grandfather.

 "... a lively book…all the characters are likeable and real...refreshing..." 

"The subject matter is weighty and interesting, and the language is beautiful."

-comments from the Library Committee

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor                              

Delacorte Press for Young Readers, c. 2009

 2c.--AWS        4 c.--APL       0 c.--DSCL

 "It's the summer of 1939. Two Jewish sisters from Vienna are sent to Sweden to escape the Nazis. They expect to stay there six months, until their parents can flee to Amsterdam; then all four will go to America. But as the war intensifies, the girls remain on the rugged island off the western coast of Sweden."     

Ingram Books' iPage

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

by Trenton Lee Stewart    

Little, Brown Young Readers, c. 2009

2c.--AWS     25 c.--APL    1 sound rec.--DSCL

Recommended by a student.

"When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance must unravel clues to a nefarious plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before. filled with page-turning action and mind-bending brain teasers, this wildly inventive journey is sure to delight."        

Ingram Books' iPage

This book has been enjoyed by almost all who read it. Many of the students have already done so--please encourage them to give these other books a chance.



Grades 7 and 8



The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean               

Harper, c. 2009

2 c.--AWS        5 c.--APL     0 c.—DSCL

“McCaughrean has proven to be a remarkably versatile writer, from her Printz Award–winning White Darkness (2008) to Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006). Her latest imagines a young boy who, in unspecified mid-twentieth century France, is told by his spiteful aunt that he’ll be dead by 14. So, hoping to outrun fate, Pepper Roux flees his unhappy home and embarks on a series of plucky misadventures in which he becomes, among other things, the captain of a ship, a deli-meat slicing would-be Cupid, a fact-shrugging journalist, and a reluctant legionnaire. Nearly every episode ends with Pepper scampering away not only from the death he thinks is nipping at his heels, but also all manner of incensed people, culminating in a hectic free-for-all that ties everything together in one charming, messy bow. McCaughrean’s exuberant prose and whirling humor animate an unforgettable cast of characters, from the good-hearted Pepper, who lies and impersonates without the barest inkling of consequence, to the cross-dressing steward who trails along in Pepper’s chaotic wake like a clumsy guardian angel. The whole is a more whimsical, French cousin to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), with a similar sort of timelessly classic feel that emphasizes the value of finding family, but never at the expense of storytelling that delights in its own joyful sense of improbability.”                                                     


The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbric             

Blue Sky Press, c. 2009

2 c.--AWS      7c.--APL     0c.--DSCL

Set during the Civil War, this book touches on such historical events and details as the Underground Railroad and the ruthless slave catchers who tried to hunt down escaped slaves, Quaker abolitionists, train travel, hot-air balloons, con-men, and freak shows/circuses...I loved the use of dialect in the book. Homer uses double negatives and other speech markers that make clear he is an unschooled narrator. The Quaker he meets speaks with "thee" and "thou."

...Overall, a very good book. a simple, interesting, and enjoyable work of historical fiction.

comments from the Library Committee

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson                                    

Putnam Publishing, c. 2009

2c.--AWS       23 c.--APL          0c.--DSCL

"Told through letters from a 12-year-old Lonnie to his younger sister, this thought-provoking companion to 'Locomotion' tackles important issues in captivating, lyrical language, as Lonnie's reflection on family, loss, love, and peace are sure to strike a chord with readers." 

Ingram Books’ iPage "..authentic...moving...eloquent" 

Library Committee

Read Aloud

Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge                                  

Penguin, c. 1964;  Published as The Runaways c. 1996 

8 c. so far--AWS     0 anywhere else

"What do the four Linnet children do when they are sent to live with their Granmama, a woman who hates dogs and thinks that children should be seen and not heard? They run away, of course! Then their adventures begin. The Linnets meet a bevy of peculiar characters as they journey through the English countryside, charming the gruff but lovable Uncle Ambrose and his jovial gardener, Ezra. When they stumble upon the eccentric Lady Alicia, who seems to have lost her family, the real fun begins, and the Linnets start their search for the missing Valerians. But will the search be thwarted by the witch Emma Cobley and her magic cat?"   


This is an especially great read aloud for families. It was one of the few that our family read aloud more than once. Nancy Campos has read it each of her third grade classes.

Library committee

Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn                                     

Little, Brown Young Readers, c. 2009

2c.--AWS      7c.--APL       0c.--DSCL

"Offering a delightful peek into the humorous lives of a pair of mice living quietly in the broom cupboard of Rose Cottage, this deluxe edition introduces readers to these lovable mice in three captivating stories in which they become heroes."      

Ingram Books' iPage

Great for kindergarten through 3rd. grade.

Where the mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin                

Little, Brown Young Readers, c. 2009

2c.--AWS         15c.--APL         0c.--DSCL

Minli and her parents live a difficult life in the Valley of the Fruitless Mountain. Her father feeds her on folktales and one day Minli decides to go see the Old Man of the Moon to ask him how to change her family's fortunes. In the process she encounters all the character sin her father's stories, has adventures and succeeds in a way she would never have guessed.

Delightfully told--there are a few proofing oversights towards the end, but that won't spoil a read aloud

Library committee

The Austin Waldorf School is a non-profit educational institution, 501(c)3, that welcomes students and families of any religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin.
The Austin Waldorf School is a full member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA)
Celebrating Educational Excellence Since 1980 - Acknowledgements