Lincoln: A Photobiography, by Russell Freedman. Nonfiction. 1988 Newbery Medal winner. Pick any of Freedman’s biographies-amazing examples of compelling nonfiction and absolutely seamless writing. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Graham, Babe Didrickson-I can’t choose a favorite.
Coram Boy, by Jamila Gavin. Upper midgrade/YA historical fiction. A wonderful cast of characters in this tale that illuminates what happened to abandoned children in 18th-century England. Winner of the 2000 Whitbread Prize for best children’s novel in England. (Only complaint: I wish there were an author’s note at the end.)
Loser, by Jerry Spinelli. Midgrade contemporary. Donald Zinkoff—new to the list of my favorite-ever characters—and terrifically effective use of the present tense.