The 2008 winners of the Sakura Medal Book Award

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Sakura Medal Nominees

The Sakura Medal Winning Books

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Picture Book

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen & Kevin Hawkes
Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren't any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how. Michelle Knudsen's disarming story, illustrated by the matchless Kevin Hawkes in an expressive timeless style, will win over even the most ardent of rule keepers.

Chapter Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Middle School

Girl Missing by Sophie McKenzie
What if everything you thought you knew about your life was a lie? Lauren is adopted and eager to know more about her mysterious past. But when she discovers shy may have been snatched from her family as a baby, her whole life suddenly feels like a sham. Why will no one answer her questions? How can she find her biological parents? And could her adoptive parents really have been responsible for kidnapping her? Running away from her family to seek out the truth, Lauren's journey takes her deeper and deeper into danger as she realises that someone wants to stop her uncovering what really happened when she was a baby

High School

Fire Storm by David Klass
His mother is not his mother. His father is not his father. But if Jack hadn't broken the high school rushing record that night, he never would have known and nothing would have changed. He'd just be going out for pizza, playing football, trying yet again to score with his girlfriend, P.J. But he did break the record. He appeared on the news. And now they've found him.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Japanese Middle / High School

獣の奏者 by 上橋 菜穂子
王国の矛盾を背負い、兵器として育成される凶暴な蛇――闘蛇。
各界で話題騒然!傑作ファンタジー巨編、ついに文庫化。

リョザ神王国。闘蛇村に暮らす少女エリンの幸せな日々は、闘蛇を死なせた罪に問われた母との別れを境に一転する。母の不思議な指笛によって死地を逃れ、蜂飼いのジョウンに救われて九死に一生を得たエリンは、母と同じ獣ノ医術師を目指すが――。苦難に立ち向かう少女の物語が、いまここに幕を開ける!