2020 Horace Mann Upstanders Book Awards

Lynne Kelly Wins Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award for Song for a Whale

Song for a Whale began with a Twitter search that serendipitously led Lynne Kelly to “The Loneliest Whale in the World.” This real whale sings at 52hz; “a frequency much too high for other whales to understand.” The lonely whale sings but never gets a response. As a sign-language interpreter and educator, Kelly resonated with the plight of the whale. After diving into the quiet world of this unique whale, Kelly rose to the surface with middle-school suspense novel about a twelve-year-old deaf girl named Iris and a whale with a song no whale can hear, Blue 55, In a sea of hearing classmates, Iris feels isolated and voiceless among them but she thrives in the “world of wires” and electronic devices. When she learns of Blue 55, her purpose becomes clear and she embarks on a perilous journey from junkyards of Texas to the cold shores of Alaska in an attempt to write and communicate one of the most profound songs ever written to a whale.

This is Lynne Kelly’s second novel. Her first, Chained, also explores the bond between child and animal. Currently available in three different languages, Chained tells “The story of a boy and an elephant who have a friendship stronger than any lock, shackle, or chain.”

Ten-year-old Hastin’s sister has fallen ill, and his family must borrow money to pay for her care in the hospital. To work off the debt, Hastin leaves his village in northern India to work in a faraway jungle as an elephant keeper. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and punished until she learns her tricks perfectly. With the help of Ne Min, a wise old man who seems to know all about elephants, Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can. Still he wonders–will they both survive long enough to escape?”

When not writing, although she is currently excited about having more time to write, Lynne Kelly continues to educate and empower students about language through writing and sign. Kelly discovered her passion for ASL and writing novels for children after she took a few sign language courses at an East Texas college while completing her BA in Psychology. For a few years, she worked as a special education teacher. “I’ve always loved reading, but it was during those teaching years I fell in love with children’s literature all over again and became interested in writing, so there’s nothing about that I’d change.”

To that end, Kelly regularly visits schools, reader groups, and workshops to provide encouragement and education about the writing/publishing process.

Gordon Korman Wins Horace Mann Upstanders Lifetime Achievement Award with recognition of The Unteachables

The Unteachables is a redemption story of a burnt-out middle school teacher and a class of castaways. Once a praised and influential teacher Mr. Zachary Kermit has fallen from grace after a cheating scandal shattered his career over twenty years ago. After spending years carelessly teaching under the shadow of the scandal, he’s finally within a year of retirement when the school assigns him the task of teaching the unteachables. Conversely, the Greenwich Middle School students in room 117 have been shoved into the fringes of Greenwich’s social and academic ecosystem.

However, “the Unteachables never thought they’d find a teacher who had a worse attitude than they did. And Mr. Kermit never thought he would actually care about teaching again. Over the course of a school year, though, room 117 will experience mayhem, destruction—and maybe even a shot at redemption.”

It was chosen as Barnes and Noble’s Book of the Month for January 2020 and made the New York Times Bestsellers Monthly list for February 2020.

Korman has written over ninety books for kids and teens which have been sold over 30 million copies and translated into 32 languages. But his writing career all began in the 7th grade with a track field coach who had to teach English at Korman’s school. “For creative writing, he gave us total freedom to work on whatever we wanted for the rest of the year.” Four months later that year, This Can’t Be Happening At MacDonald Hall was completed.

As the class monitor for Scholastic Book Orders at his school, Korman took a chance on sending his manuscript to Scholastic. “Full disclosure: my mom had to type my book for me,” Korman admits. But it worked! Scholastic published This Can’t Be Happening At MacDonald Hall, his first novel, while he was a freshman in high school.

Korman makes regular appearances at schools, libraries, and bookstores. Fans and curious readers can engage with him in the Reader’s Forum on his website where he happily answers questions about books and writing.

Staff Pick Badge
Song for a Whale Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781524770266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling - December 31st, 2019

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl's connection to a whale whose song can't be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.


Staff Pick Badge
Song for a Whale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524770235
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days - Not in stock but can be ordered.
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - February 5th, 2019

In the spirit of modern-day classics like Fish in a Tree and Counting by 7s comes the Schneider Family Book Award-winning story of a deaf girl's connection to a whale whose song can't be heard by his species, and the journey she takes to help him.


The Unteachables Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062563903
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - December 30th, 2019

A hilarious new middle grade novel from beloved and bestselling author Gordon Korman about what happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher—perfect for fans of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. A good choice for summer reading or anytime!


The Unteachables Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062563880
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days - Not in stock but can be ordered.
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 8th, 2019

A hilarious new middle grade novel from beloved and bestselling author Gordon Korman about what happens when the worst class of kids in school is paired with the worst teacher—perfect for fans of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. A good choice for summer reading or anytime!


Restart Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781338053807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - March 27th, 2018

The amazing New York Times bestseller about what you can do when life gives you a second chance.

Chase's memory just went out the window.


Notorious Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062798862
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 7th, 2020

A funny, suspenseful mystery and unlikely friendship story from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman—perfect for fans of Swindle and Ungifted.


Schooled Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9781423105169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 26th, 2008

A quirky homeschooled kid must learn how to fit in (or stand out) at public school in this heartwarming fish-out-of-water novel for kids.

Capricorn Anderson had never watched a television show before. He'd never tasted a pizza. He had never even heard of a wedgie.


Ungifted Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780061742675
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Published: Balzer + Bray - February 18th, 2014

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the gifted and talented program—and changes everything. 


Masterminds Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062299994
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Published: Balzer + Bray - February 2nd, 2016

The first book in the action-packed trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman is perfect for fans of Stranger Things and James Patterson. 


Slacker Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780545823166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - April 25th, 2017

From the bestselling author of Swindle and Ungifted comes the funny, fantastic story of an underachiever who ends up achieving much more than any overachiever could ever imagine.


Level 13 (A Slacker Novel) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338286205
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days - Not in stock but can be ordered.
Published: Scholastic Press - June 25th, 2019

From the bestselling author of Swindle, Restart, and Slacker is another hilarious story about an underachiever who learns to go above and beyond.


Masterminds: Criminal Destiny Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062300034
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 31st, 2017

"A terrific page-turner, full of unexpected twists and revelations. Buckle up!"—James Patterson

The second book in the acclaimed, action-packed series from New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman. Stranger Things fans, don't miss this trilogy!


Masterminds: Payback Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062300065
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Published: Balzer + Bray - May 1st, 2018

The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Masterminds trilogy from middle grade star author Gordon Korman. Perfect for fans of Stranger Things and James Patterson!


Whatshisface Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781338200188
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Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 30th, 2019

A fun, funny ghost story about a nobody kid who becomes a somebody while helping a ghost right a wrong from the past.

Cooper Vega's family moves so often that he's practically invisible at any school he attends. Now they've relocated to the town of Stratford -- where nobody even makes an effort to learn Cooper's name. To them, he's just . . . whatshisface.


Supergifted Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062563866
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Published: Balzer + Bray - May 7th, 2019

This funny and heartwarming sequel to Ungifted, which has become a word-of-mouth hit, cleverly sends up our ideas about intelligence, heroism, and popularity. This middle grade novel is an excellent choice for tween readers in grades 5 to 6, especially during homeschooling.


Hideout (Swindle #5) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780545448673
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Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - November 26th, 2013

The Man With The Plan and his friends return in this fifth romp in the Swindle series -- now in paperback!

HIDEOUT: a place to escape detection, especially when being chased by someone determined to have revenge . . .


Unleashed (Swindle #7) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780545709378
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - January 5th, 2016

UNLEASHED: freed from restraint, running wild, not being held back by anyone or anything . . . Don't miss the latest Swindle mystery from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman.


Framed (Swindle #3) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780545197632
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - December 1st, 2011

The hilarious third SWINDLE book - now in paperback!


The Hypnotists (The Hypnotists #1) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780545503259
Availability: Usually Ships in 3-7 Days - Not in stock but can be ordered.
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - June 24th, 2014

Is it a gift . . . or is it a curse? Jax Opus can use his color-changing eyes to make people do things they don't want to do. (Only his color-blind best friend, Tommy, seems immune.) At first, Jax doesn't know what he's doing -- temporarily hypnotizing friends, foes, and strangers. But then his power pushes things way too far, and his secret isn't a secret any longer.


Zoobreak (Swindle #2) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780545125000
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Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - August 1st, 2010

The sequel to Gordon Korman's SWINDLE---the Man With A Plan is back!


Swindle (Swindle #1) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780439903455
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Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - April 15th, 2009

Ocean's 11 . . . with 11-year-olds, in a super stand-alone heist caper from Gordon Korman!


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