My goodness, three whole days since the ALA Youth Media Awards were announced and I haven’t opinionated on a blessed thing! What is the world coming to?
I went into work a bit late so I could watch the live webcast – since the announcements were at 7:45 am Pacific time, going to work on time would’ve meant missing a good chunk of the later announcements, with the risk of not getting it work once I showed up! So stay home I did, and I took notes so I could place an order once I got in (I don’t understand why the press release isn’t put online at the close of the announcements, but there’s often a delay and I wanted to get our order in).
Fortunately we owned most of the titles – there were a few Belpré and Batchelder winners we didn’t have, and no copies of Dave the Potter, but otherwise quite respectable. Our copy of Moon Over Manifest had already circulated a few times, so no embarrassment there.
Here’s a quick run-down of things I have opinions about:
I had my money on One Crazy Summer and was pleased to see it take an honor. My initial review of it said: “Just go read it already. If this doesn’t get some kind of shiny sticker come awards season, I’ll be surprised.” (It also won the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction – woot!)
I thought Dark Emperor was absolutely brilliant, but it’s the kind of thing that isn’t “typical Newbery” so I was doubly pleased to see it get an honor – both for being outside the historical middle-grade novel box and for it being all-around awesome. As I said in my review, “each look reveals new, fabulous details,” and I’m glad this is getting the attention it deserves.
I haven’t yet read Moon Over Manifest, Turtle in Paradise, or Heart of a Samurai, although I just started Turtle and I have Samurai waiting on my shelf.
Hurray for the Steads! This one caught my eye when I read about it over at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and I loved it when I got my hands on it. Sometimes Caldecott winners are books where I can admire the artistry of the illustrations, or the marriage of pictures and text, but I don’t necessarily like the book aesthetically. This book does all of it for me (I kind of want to live in Amos’ house).
Honors went to Dave the Potter (which falls into the “admire the artistry but don’t personally respond to it” category) and Interrupting Chicken, which I’ve only looked at briefly (when it came through in a stack of new picture books to process) but I’m happy to see David Ezra Stein get an award, and I’m glad to see something on the sillier side.
The Printz went to Ship Breaker – which was dark and tense and great for fans of dystopias (although not a personal favorite, something I can stand behind).
A whole slew of honors: Stolen, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, Revolver, and Nothing. I read the last two for the Mock Printz this year, and can’t argue that they were both finely written (although Nothing was the kind of book that’s so finely written it’s horrifying). Revolver had fantastic, tense plotting and a great use of setting. The first two I’ve yet to read.
Coretta Scott King
There are several CSK awards – author, illustrator, and new talent for both author and illustrator (the Steptoe). Not too much of a surprise here – One Crazy Summer took the author award (yay!) with Lockdown, Ninth Ward, and Yummy as honors – I haven’t read any of the honors yet.
The illustrator award went to Dave the Potter (see my comments on the Caldecott) with one honor book – Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow. I peeked at Jimi on award morning, since it was on the shelf, and I’ll have to go back to it since at first glance I found the artwork overwhelming – loud and busy, but that probably suits the story.
The Steptoe author went to Zora and Me, which I’ve been meaning to read, and the illustrator went to Seeds of Change, which I haven’t yet seen.
This one’s for books that portray the disability experience, and it’s always interesting to see which topics are covered in a given year’s winners. There are three – one for ages 0-10, one for 11-13, and one for 13-18. I don’t think I’ve seen The Pirate of Kindergarten, which won in the youngest range. After Ever After won for 11-13 (I’ve liked Sonnenblick’s other books and meant to read this one), and Five Flavors of Dumb won the teen award (I’ve got this one waiting in my basket at work).
This award is for a lasting contribution to children’s literature and went to Tomie dePaola. Now I want to reread Strega Nona. This one is interesting because I’m not really aware of who’s won in the past and who hasn’t won yet, so apart from agreeing on whether or not an individual’s work is lasting, it’s hard to form an opinion. With this one I don’t get the sense of “but another person deserved this award!” because a) that person could still win another year and b) I don’t know who’s been left out.
Same idea, but for young adult literature and honoring a specific body of work. Who can argue with Terry Pratchett? Really? Anyone? (The fun part about the live webcast is hearing the cheers and applause in the room – Sir Terry got a lot).
I’ve started paying attention to this award in recent years, both as an audiobook listener and as the person who orders children’s audiobooks. If a year goes by that Katherine Kellgren doesn’t get at least an honor for a book she’s narrated, then I don’t know what the world’s coming to. This year the gold went to The True Meaning of Smekday, which is an awesome book – but can I just tell you how much more I loved it on audio? Sure, you miss the comics – but in exchange you get Bahni Turpin making the sounds of sheep stepping on bubble wrap. So happy about this one!
Kellgren got her honor for Alchemy and Meggy Swann, which I just started listening to (I read the book earlier in the year). Man, can she do voices and ballads! The other honors went to The Knife of Never Letting Go, Revolution, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I’ve read all three already, but now I’m itching to get my hands on the audiobooks. Good year!
Again, we’ve got author and illustrator awards. The author award went to The Dreamer, which I quite liked, with honors for ¡Olé! Flamenco, The Firefly Letters, and 90 Miles to Havana (haven’t read any of these yet).
The illustrator award went to Grandma’s Gift, one of the titles my library doesn’t yet own, with honors for Fiesta Babies, Dear Primo, and Me, Frida.
Okay, I haven’t read the whole thing yet but I was totally hooked by the first few pages of Kakapo Rescue, which won the gold. Two honors for Ballet for Martha (lovely) and Lafayette and the American Revolution (I’m feeling a little tapped out on the American Revolution lately, but I’d like to read it sometime soon).
I do believe this is the first year that this award (for books relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience) has been announced with the other ALA awards. The winner was Almost Perfect, with honors for The Boy in the Dress, Love Drugged, Freaks and Revelations, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (which I loved despite the ending).
If you’d asked me which three books to give shiny Geisel stickers to, there’s a really good chance I would’ve picked these three: Bink and Gollie for the gold (and if you haven’t yet met Bink and Gollie, you’re missing out – sequel, please?) and We Are In a Book! and Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! for honors. A splendid round-up of easy readers.
Now the Morris is nice because they give you a shortlist – very considerate of them. I’ve read two off the shortlist – Guardian of the Dead and Hush, and both were great in completely different ways. The others off the shortlist are Crossing the Tracks and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and I have both waiting for me. The award went to The Freak Observer, which is of course the only one that wasn’t in the library catalog.
Another award with a shortlist, which this year included: They Called Themselves the KKK (excellent), Spies of Mississippi (which I was supposed to read for the Mock Printz but didn’t get to), The Dark Game, and Every Bone Tells a Story, with Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing as the winner (hurray – well done and with plenty of teen appeal, I think).
Whew, my typing fingers are worn out and there’s reading to be done – not to mention all those 2011 books that are starting to pop up!