Monday, May 25, 2015

First Lines from the 2015 Crystal Kite Awards Part One

By Susan J Berger

I love first lines and first paragraphs. I learn so much from them. The annual Crystal Kite Award is a peer-given award to recognize great books from 15 SCBWI regional divisions around the world.  The Crystal Kite is a rather odd award in that there are no Categories. Therefore a picture book may be competing against a young adult novel. This year I am posting the winners.

 Part one: First eight regions. (If you can't stand the suspense, all the winners are posted on the SCBWI website.)

Atlantic (Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey/Wash DC/Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland)

 Pandemic  by Yvonne Ventresca

Chapter 1
As with many serious contagious illnesses, it wasn't immediately apparent what we were dealing with.
 -Blue Flu interview, anonymous US government official
I stood on the smoking corner behind the school reveling in my aloneness.


Australia /New Zealand

Karen Blair and Raewyn Caisley - Hello From Nowhere
First line not available.

Eve thought that living in the middle of nowhere was better than living anywhere else in the world . . . Only one thing made Eve sad. She hadn't seen Nan since they left the city long ago. Eve lives in a roadhouse in the middle of the Nullarbor and when her Nan visits one day, Eve shows her all the things that are special about where she lives. A moving celebration of the Australian outback and the special connection between grandparent and grandchild.


Connie Goldsmith - Bombs Over Bikini: The World’s First Nuclear Disaster

Toxic Snowfall As soon as the war ended, we located the one spot on Earth that hadn't been touched by war and blew it to hell. BOB HOPE, US COMEDIAN, ACTOR AN AUTHOR -1947

March 1, 1954 was not a normal day on Rongelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the Pacific Ocean. That morning the US Military exploded the world's first hydrogen bomb -Bravo -on Nam, part of the Bikini Atoll about 75 miles (120 kilometers) away from Rongelap. I want to read this!

Bog by Karen Krossing –
Bog smelled the humans from across the lake. The stench floated high on the breeze, infecting the stars themselves, and then settled among the branches of the birch trees. What were humans doing on their hunting grounds?

International Other

  A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina’s Dream

 by  Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Stars hardly shine in the New York City sky, with the factories spilling out pillars of smoke and streetlights spreading bright halos round their pin-top faces,
It makes it hard to find a star.
This one is on my MUST READ list. The illustrations are amazing.

Mid-South (Kansas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Tennessee/Kentucky/Missouri/Mississippi)

 Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens

Black funeral dress. Black heels. Black headband in my hair. Death has a style all its own. I'm glad I don't have to wear it very often.
I think I want to read this.

Mid-South (Kansas/Louisiana/Arkansas/Tennessee/Kentucky/Missouri/Mississippi)

     Hurricane Boy by  Laura Roach Dragon

Hollis Williams scowled as he stumbled on the same hump of buckled sidewalk he's climbed over almost all eleven years of his life. This time one of the broken sections tilted under his feet. His angry looked snapped into one of wide-eyed surprise, and his arms pinwheeled as he lurched of the chunk into the grass. He kicked the loose slab.

Middle East/India/Asia

Petu Pumpkin: Tooth Troubles by  Arundhati Venkatesh 

The Gap Club
Pushkin looked up from his snack box. He saw his friends huddled together in the corner of the art room. Kiran, Jatin, Sachin and Nitin were all there. Every thirty seconds, Jatin peeped into Kiran's book and copied something down. Pushkin moved closer and peered over Jatin's shoulder to see what he was writing,

I'll post the last seven in three weeks. I hope you found a book really want to read. I found more than one. Write on.


  1. It's always great to study first lines. The first book's lines really grabbed my attention.

  2. Pandemic and Bombs Over Bikini got my attention. I wonder if Mrs. Goldsmith got push back from old time Cold Warriors still insisting we did it 'cause the Commies were doing it.
    Uranium 238

  3. All beginnings are enticing. A Dance Like Starlight is the one I would read first! It's amazing what a huge lesson one learns about language and all it's variations and trimmings from reading 'first lines'!


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