Module 5 – Going Bovine & The Land

This module covered the Printz, Belpre, and Correct Scott King awards.

Going Bovine


Cameron is a misfit with brilliant parents and a perfect sister. He takes to smoking weed in the bathroom and perfecting his C+ average in school. His life takes another bad turn when he gets diagnosed with mad cow disease. In the hospital an angel tells him he needs to find Dr. X, a time traveler who will cure him. Cameron thinks this is stupid, until a Wizard attacks him with fire giants. So naturally, he leaves the hospital to find that video game nerd he met in the weed bathroom to help him get to Florida to meet Dr. X.


This book is very bizarre. I can see why it won the Printz award, however. The main character seems very honest, which makes him a good and accurate character. The voice, style, and setting all make the story powerful and unique. Since it certainly leaves an impression, I think this does fit the award criteria.

Professional Review:

 I could not find a bad review of this book. This is what Booklist had to say:

“But Bray’s wildly imagined novel, narrated in Cameron’s sardonic, believable voice, is wholly unique, ambitious, tender, thought-provoking, and often fall-off-the-chair funny, even as she writes with powerful lyricism about the nature of existence, love, and death” (Engberg, 2009).

I think this sums up why the book won the Printz and why it has been a favorite of many since.


This might be a good book to encourage teen writers to read. It is the perfect example of the genre Magical Realism and I think would be very influential for young writers.

The Land


Paul’s father is white and his mother African and Native American. While his father loves him and treats him well, a black boy named Mitchel who lives on their land likes to beat Paul up. Paul convinces Mitchel to be friends and they grow close. As time passes and they enter into adulthood and work together on getting land of their own. The men are so close that when Mitchel is dying, he asks Paul to marry his wife and raise his unborn child.


It is a very uplifting story that show two people of different ethnic groups working together. This fits in with the vision of Martin Luther King Jr., another quality the Coretta Scott King award looks for.

Professional Review:

“[Author Cynthia Kadohata] read it both as a page-turner and as a lesson in how to write historical novels… The Land is composed in a tidy fashion—a classic novel really—with the story always progressing from scenes to sequences to acts to the whole” (Margolis, 2011).

I agree with this review. This book felt a lot like Tom Sawyer or other classics.


This might be a good book a Martin Luther King Day display or program. In a community where racial intolerance is a big issue, this would be a good book to use in a “tolerance workshop” for kids.


Bray, L. (2009). Going Bovine. New York: Delacorte Press.

Engberg, G. (August 2009). Goning Bovine. The Booklist Online. Retrieved online at

Margolis, R. (February 1, 2011). Places in the Heart: Celebrating Black History Month. School Library Journal Online. Retrieved from

Taylor, M. (2001). The Land. New York: Phyllis Fogelman.


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