By Clare Vanderpool
Jack Baker, uprooted suddenly after his mother's death, and Early Auden, the strangest of boys, meet at a Maine boarding school. Their friendship culminates in a treacherous quest and unexpected self-discovery. Vanderpool delivers an emotionally powerful novel in an untamed setting as the boys head up river in search of the Great Appalachian Bear. The award, first given in 2000, is named for the late Michael L. Printz, a Topeka, Kan., school librarian known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults.