Meet Neal Shusterman tomorrow

Challenger DeepChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman is Loudoun County Public Library's 2016 title for the 1book 1community event. There are  unlimited copies to download on OverDrive.

Shusterman will visit Tuscarora High School in Leesburg on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. to discuss his work and sign books. Don't miss this event! And please join us for one of the many Challenger Deep book clubs leading up to Shusterman's visit.

1book 1community is a countywide reading program that promotes community dialogue and understanding through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book. The program is made possible by the Irwin Uran Gift Fund, which provides thousands of copies of the chosen title every year.

About the book 

Challenger Deep is the story of Caden Bosch, a teenaged boy who questions reality when he intermittently finds himself on a galleon headed for the deepest part of the world’s oceans; the point known as Challenger Deep. His friends and family notice his odd behavior, but no one, not even Caden, can differentiate between reality and fiction. His diagnosis of Schizophrenia leads his parents to make a difficult decision, and forces Caden to confront the villains in his head. Challenger Deep enlightens readers by diving into the uncharted territory of mental illness.

About the author

Neal ShustermanShusterman won the 2015 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for Challenger Deep. He is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Bruiser, The Schwa Was Here; and the UnWind series, among many more. His books have won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, a California Young Reader Medal, and have been listed on the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) choice list, the YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, and twelve state lists.

Illustrations for Challenger Deep were created by Brendan Shusterman, son of the author, drawn during the earliest days of his own mental illness. His career as an artist and author includes participation in the 2015 collaborative novel Violent Ends, and forthcoming novels and books of poetry. 

A note from the author

"Challenger Deep is by no means a work of fiction. The places that Caden goes are all too real. One in three U.S. families is affected by the specter of mental illness. I know, because our family is one of them. We faced many of the same things Caden and his family did. I watched as someone I loved journeyed  to the deep, and I felt powerless to stop the descent.  With the help of my son, I’ve tried to capture what  that descent was like."

-- Neal Shusterman

Challenger Deep honors

2015 National Book Award Winner, Young People’s Literature 

2016 Golden Kite Winner, Fiction

2015 Boston Globe Horn Book Award, Fiction Honor Winner

Previous 1book 1community titles and authors:

2015: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

2014: Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

2013: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

2012: When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka

2011: Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick

2010: Bicycles: Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni

2009: The Wall: Growing Up Behing the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis

2008:  Nothing But the Truth by Avi

2007:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

2006:  The Giver by Lois Lowry

2005:  Witness by Karen Hesse

2004: The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal

A countywide reading program that promotes community dialogue and understanding through the shared experience of reading and discussing the same book.

Sponsored by the Irwin Uran Gift Fund

What would you do if you could not make yourself known, if you had thoughts you could not speak? That is narrator Melody Brooks’ plight: “By the time I was two, all my memories had words, and all my words had meanings. But only in my head,” she writes. “I have never spoken one single word.” Melody’s world is enhanced by insight and intellect, but hindered by physical limitations and misunderstandings. She will never sing or dance, talk on the phone or whisper secrets to her friends. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind, that is until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice... but not everyone around her is ready to hear it. This is a book that defies age categorization, a story that will enlighten and resonate with all readers.

Out of My Mind
is the story of a ten-year-old-girl who has spirit and determination, intelligence and wit, and no one knows it. How frustrating! Imagine yourself in the same situation. Melody, whose very name sounds like a song, loves words, however. She says, “Words have always swirled around me like snowflakes— each one delicate and different, each one melting untouched in my hands... Words were like sweet, liquid gifts, and I drank them like lemonade. I could almost taste them.” Melody uses words like weapons to fight her daily battles. She has a brilliant mind, a photographic memory and dreams and desires of any child her age. Throughout the novel, I tried to show the power of language, and the deep, rhythmic heartbeat of words in our lives. “Everybody uses words to express themselves. Except me. And I bet most people don’t realize the real power of words. But I do. Thoughts need words. Words need a voice.” Melody’s voice will soon be heard all over Loudoun County, and I really look forward to sharing her words with all of you, and listening to your words as well.

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper is the selected title this year. This book tells a story that is sure to provoke discussion among readers of all ages. Out of My Mind speaks for those who cannot speak. It reveals the quiet strength and fortitude it takes to overcome disabilities and the misconceptions that go with them. It reminds us of the humanity in us all. It is impossible to close this book without thinking about the world differently. We are grateful to the Irwin Uran Gift Fund which is providing copies of the book to our community.

Copies of Out of My Mind are available at library branches, the County Government Building and through Outreach Services. Whether you share your ideas with your neighbors, or attend one of the many book discussion groups or programs at the library, we are sure you will find the experience to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

We wish to thank the 2014 1book 1community Selection Committee for the time and effort
they dedicated to the project.