2015 Nominees: young readers

LENNY & LUCY by Philip C. Stead
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Hypnotic artwork and storytelling invite children to linger in the wild woods of worry and emerge intact, enriched, and utterly invigorated by this complex, contemporary fairy tale. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Peter, his dad, and his dog, Harold, move to a narrow house just on the other side of "dark unfriendly woods," across a rickety bridge. Read full book review >
WRITTEN AND DRAWN BY HENRIETTA by Liniers
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"This effervescent package opens to reveal plenty of wisdom. (Graphic early reader. 7-9)"
Argentine cartoonist Liniers presents a graphic ode to the pleasures and challenges of composition, starring his recurring character Henrietta, a young bibliophile. Read full book review >
THE DOLDRUMS by Nicholas Gannon
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Readers will eventually sigh in relief with Archer and friends. (Adventure. 7-11)"
Eleven-year-old Archer B. Helmsley enlists his best friend, Oliver Glub, and Adélaïde, the new student from France, to help him track down his explorer grandparents in Antarctica—despite the fact that Archer's mother confines him to two places: his museumlike home and his school. Read full book review >
HEY, SEYMOUR! by Walter Wick
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"Another mesmerizing outing from the sultan of seek-and-find. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Gatefolds expose sudden calamities, eye-widening surprises, and—of course—fresh cascades of small toys, charms, beads, and found bric-a-brac in 10 teeming scenes. Read full book review >
WHAT WE SAW by Aaron Hartzler
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A powerful tale of betrayal and a vital primer on rape culture. (Fiction. 14-18)"
In a fictional analog of the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio, rape case, allegations of gang-rape at a high school party expose a small town's ugly truths. Read full book review >
THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH by Ali Benjamin
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A painful story smartly told, Benjamin's first solo novel has appeal well beyond a middle school audience. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
In middle school, where "Worst Thing" can mean anything from a pimple to public humiliation, Suzy "Zu" Swanson really has a reason to be in crisis: her former best friend has died unexpectedly, and the seventh-grader is literally silenced by grief and confusion. Read full book review >
BEASTLY BONES by William Ritter
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A witty and weird adventure equal parts Sherlock and Three Stooges. (Fantasy. 12-18)"
Normal teen and abnormal detective unearth more paranormal mysteries in this fast-paced sequel to Jackaby (2014).Read full book review >
CLICK, CLACK, HO! HO! HO! by Doreen Cronin
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"An endearing story that will appeal to a wide age range, including preschoolers, new readers, and older kids who love the Click Clack crowd. (Picture book. 3-8)"
Cronin and Lewin are back with a Christmas story to add to their popular series starring the barnyard buddies from Click, Clack, Moo (2000) and its many successors. Read full book review >
VINCENT PAINTS HIS HOUSE by Tedd Arnold
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"So very Van Gogh and so very satisfying! (Picture book. 3-8)"
The conceit at the center of this celebration of art and color? Tell a pleasingly repetitive tale featuring the Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh without ever mentioning his full name. Read full book review >
THE BAMBOO SWORD by Margi Preus
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Preus spins another suspenseful swashbuckler starring a Japanese boy who finds himself caught between cultures. (author's note, glossary, selected bibliography) (Historical fiction. 9-13)"
Thirteen-year-old Yoshi is a natural with the sword and relishes the thought of slicing up the hairy, bulbous-nosed barbarian invaders to protect the Sacred Land of the Rising Sun. Read full book review >
ALPHABET SCHOOL by Stephen Johnson
CHILDREN'S AND TEEN
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Not only does Johnson once again take something simple and make it extraordinary, but he will inspire readers to do the same. (Alphabet book. 4-8)"
The multiple-award-winning illustrator takes a page from his own book—Alphabet City (1995), that is—and creates a graphic-alphabet book that will have students searching their own schools for letters. Read full book review >
LIZARD RADIO by Pat Schmatz
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Sophisticated, character-driven science fiction, as notable for its genderqueer protagonist as for its intricate, suspenseful plot. (Science fiction. 14-18)"
In a dystopian future, Kivali Kerwin, nicknamed Lizard, is sent to prepare for adulthood at a government-run CropCamp. Read full book review >

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ABOUT THE KIRKUS PRIZE

The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earned the Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on October 15, 2015, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.