We are excited to again participate in the BES Award program for 2013-2014! The Black-Eyed Susan Book Award program in Maryland is designed to promote literacy and lifelong reading habits by encouraging students to read quality, contemporary literature. It's easy to do: read at least 3 of the 10 nominated books in a category, and in April you can vote for your favorite book. Hoover students primarily read books in the Grades 6-9 category, but are also eligible to vote for the Grade 4-6 and High School categories. Only students vote; teachers and other adults don't. The votes from Hoover and those of students throughout the state are tabulated to determine Maryland students' favorite book.

Over 130 Hoover students voted in April 2013 as part of the over 70,000 student voters from grades K-12 statewide! Hoover students chose A Tale Dark and Grimm (Adam Gidwitz) as their favorite in the Grades 6-9 category, which also won across the state. Winner in the Graders 4-6 category was Wild Wings (G. Lewis), and Divergent (V. Roth) for Grades 9-12. Congratulations to the winners!

Want to join in the fun? Stop by the Media Center to pick up a bookmark or two of this year's nominees and get started reading! Here is the book review form -- three of these must be turned in to be eligible to vote next April.

Visit the MASL site for more information on this terrific program.


2013-2014 Black-Eyed Susan Book Nominees
Grades 6-9


 Almost Home by Joan Bauer
     Realistic fiction 

6th grader Sugar Mae Cole loves writing and her teacher Mr. Bennett encourages her to write to express her feelings. When her grandfather dies and her father takes off gambling, Sugar and her mother lose their house. They move to Chicago, where a promised job falls through, and they become homeless. Sugar's mother is hospitalized for depression, and Sugar goes into foster care. She brings with her the adopted dog Shush, who helps her deal with the difficulties of her life. Sugar is a strong character, and her story includes her poetry, letters, and reflections.


Chomp, by Carl Hiaasen
Animal adventure 

Wahoo and his animal wrangler father Micky are having financial problems. To make money, they accept an invitation to work for the hit reality TV show Expedition Survival! during the filming of an Everglades episode. But on the first day of filming, Derek Badger, star of the show, ignores Mickey's animal-handling advice, attacking a python and trying to ride a croc. The result is an infuriated handler and some excellent footage. The producers, however, love the realistic feel and decide to head for the wilds for some unscripted shoots. Wahoo runs into Tuna, a physically abused schoolmate, and is inspired to take her with them to save her from her father. Tuna's father pursues her, and suddenly keeping Derek safe isn't Mickey's only potentially deadly task. Hilarious adventure, or adventurous hilarity? You decide.


 Curveball: the Year I Lost My Grip, by Joran Sonnenblick
     Realistic fiction

Star pitcher Pete wrecks his pitching arm with one final fastball to close out the league championship in the summer before freshman year. He doesn’t get the out, and worse, his plan to play with his best friend AJ in high school is ruined. He can't seem to tell AJ that he can't play anymore, and that secret comes between them. However, Pete’s camera skills (inherited from his grandpa) offer the chance to stay close to sports as a photographer and to get close to the cute girl in his photography class. He is really worried about his increasingly forgetful grandfather, and tries to figure out what to do because his parents don't seem to want to see the changes in his grandfather.  


See You at Harry's, by Jo Knowles
    Realistic fiction 

7th grader Fern is having a tough time in her family. With her father constantly at the family restaurant, and her mother always meditating, no one is paying attention to her. Her 14 year old brother Holden is getting bullied at school and is struggling to come out, her sister Sara is critical of everyone, and her 3 year old brother Charlie is into everything. When a tragic accident happens while Fern is watching Charlie, the family almost falls apart. Will they be able to pull the family together to get through their grief? 


The False Princess, by Eilis O'Neal

One day after her 16th birthday, Princess Nalia learns she is not a princess at all. She is a decoy, put in place by the king and queen of Thorvaldor to avoid a deadly curse. Her real name is Sinda, and she is shocked to be kicked out of the castle and sent to live with her unpleasant aunt. Sinda soon discovers she has hidden magical abilities, so she returns to the city and signs on as a scribe to eccentric wizard Philantha, in hopes that she will learn to control her magic. Along the way, Sinda uncovers a good deal of palace intrigue, and even a second birth switch that has another decoy in the palace in place of the true princess. Who will believe Sinda? Brave and clever Kiernan, a good friend from her palace days, helps her plot and triumph.


The Grimm Legacy, by Polly Shulman

Feeling left out from her stepfamily at home and from her classmates at her new school, Elizabeth is delighted when she gets a job at the New York Circulating Material Repository, a library that loans objects of historical value. She's particularly intrigued when she's given access to the Grimm Collection, a secret room that holds magical objects from the Brothers' tales, e.g., seven-league boots, a mermaid's comb, and the sinister mirror from "Snow White." However, when Grimm Collection items start to disappear, she and her fellow pages embark on a dangerous quest to catch the thief, only to find themselves among the suspects.


The Limit, by Kristen Landon
   Science Fiction

What would you do if your family suddenly went over their spending limit and you were taken away to a workhouse to help pay down their debt? 13 year old Matt Dunston finds himself in just such a situation. The Federal Debt Rehabilitation Agency gives his family no choice; thankfully, Matt scores high enough on all the tests to be assigned to the Top Floor. He likes his living arrangements, but he knows something is wrong. When Matt learns his sister, Lauren, is also in the workhouse and is suffering from seizures, he knows it’s time to let the outside world know what is happening. With the help of his Top Floor friends, Matt uses his hacking skills to crack the secrets of the workhouse and reveal them to the world.


The Lions of Little Rock, by Kristin Levine
Historical fiction (1950s) 

It’s 1958, and the struggle to integrate Little Rock’s schools is ongoing. 13 year old Marlee is very shy, and refuses to speak at school. She meets Lizzie, a new girl in her middle school, who helps Marlee learn to speak up for herself. When Lizzie suddenly disappears, Marlee is upset and confused when she hears rumors that Lizzie is African-American passing for white. The girls meet in secret, despite great danger to both of them. When Marlee's school teacher father is fired for of his pro-integration stance, the whole family becomes involved in the campaign to reopen the schools.


The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is a silver-backed gorilla who has lived at the Big Top Mall for 27 years. He draws pictures, watches TV and is friends with Stella (an elephant), a dog named Bob and a girl named Julia. He is used to humans watching him and is bored but content. One day Ruby, a baby elephant, arrives at the Big Top Mall and, before she dies, a very ill Stella makes Ivan promise to take care of Ruby. Ivan's eyes are opened to the cruelty of living in the cage, and he begins a daring plan to get Ruby out of the Big Top Mall. Narrated by Ivan, this is a beautifully written book inspired by a real gorilla.


Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
   Realistic fiction

10 year old Auggie has been homeschooled all his life but decides he is ready to go to public school. Auggie’s face is still deformed despite 27 surgeries -- he calls it "his tiny, mushed-up face," but he knows he is normal inside. Not surprisingly, Auggie has to deal with teasing and bullying as he enters middle school. Auggie’s struggles to be seen as just another student affects everyone around him, including his sister, old and new friends, teachers and administrators. Auggie tells his own story, and other people in his life also tell their stories. Touching!


2013-2014 Black-Eyed Susan Book Nominees
Grades 4-6



 Glory Be 

Augusta Scattergood 

Looking for Me

Betsy R. Rosenthal 


May B. 

Caroline Starr Rose 


Saint Louis
Armstrong Beach

Brenda Woods 


 Summer at
Forsaken Lake

Michael D. Beil 


The Grave
Robber's Apprentice

Allan Stratton 


The Great Wall
of Lucy Wu

Wendy Wan-Long 



 The Mighty
Miss Malone

Christopher Paul Curtis 



The PS Brothers 

Maribeth Boelts 



Gordon Korman 



2013-2014 Black-Eyed Susan Book Nominees
Grades 9-12 


A Girl Named Digit 

Annabel Monaghan 


Anna Dressed
in Blood

Kendare Blake 


Aristotle & Dante
Discover the Secrets
of the Universe

Benjamin Alire Saenz 


Don't Turn Around 

Michelle Gagnon 


Every Day 

David Levithan 


How to Save
a Life

Sara Zarr 



Never Fall Down 

Patricia McCormick 



Lauren Myracle 



The Fault in
Our Stars

John Green 


The Running Dream 

Wendelin Van Draanen 



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