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YMA Reactions


What are your reactions to the announcements of the ALA Youth Media Awards?

My primary reaction was happy surprise at the Newbery Award going to Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. To be honest, I have not been a huge fan of Kate DiCamillo – I think The Tale of Despereaux is a fine book, but not necessarily a Newbery-level one. And Because of Winn Dixie I can take or leave, although it too is a perfectly good book. But I was really enthusiastic about Flora & Ulysses (as I was about most of the ampersand titles of the year). And I’m always happy to have a comedy win.

You know my thoughts on the Printz Winner, Midwinterblood. On the one hand, I think it is great that the committee honored such a daring and inventive book–it certainly is more interesting than 95% of the YA literature out there. On the other hand, as you know I think Sedgwick was less than successful in his daring. So there’s that. Also, I stand by my (and your) position on Printz Honor Maggot Moon – it’s just really not very good.

But what I’d really like to talk about (or rather have you talk about) is the Edwards Award.  You have been very vocal (at least to me) about your love of Markus Zusak’s earlier work – I think you’ve called it his Aussie-slacker novels. Which appears to be what the committee awarded. I’ve read I Am the Messenger, and of course The Book Thief, but not the other two named titles: Fighting Ruben Wolfe and Getting the Girl. So what do you think?

– Mark


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Filed under Awards, Books, Children, Teens


Hi Mom,

I don’t have much to say this morning, so I thought I’d send you and our readers to some stuff I’ve written elsewhere:

1) An interview with Kevin Powers: http://www.slj.com/2012/10/books-media/author-interview/the-debut-the-yellow-birds-kevin-powers/

Powers wrote The Yellow Birds, one of my favorite adult books of the year and a National Book Award finalist.  I gave it a starred review for SLJ, and then got the chance to talk to Powers via email about the book.  The Yellow Birds is in some ways a pretty standard “coming home from war” novel, in structure.  But what sets it apart is Powers’s terrific command of language.  I strongly recommend it – and check out the interview, because Powers is a really articulate guy.

2) The Edwards Award in numbers: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2012/10/21/the-edwards-award-the-once-and-future-thing/

Over at The Hub we’ve been doing a series of posts on “The Next Big Thing”, a concept which I find kind of suspect.  In any case, I took the opportunity to look at winners of the Edwards Award and see how often they have continued to be “The Next Big Thing” and not just “The Last Big Thing.”  I found out a lot of interesting things, most obviously: Laurie Halse Anderson is amazing.

3) Medusa’s Gaze: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/adult4teen/2012/10/22/medusas-gaze-and-vampires-bite/

Here’s my SLJ review of Matt Kaplan’s Medusa’s Gaze and Vampire’s Bite: The Science of Monsters. I already mentioned this book last week when I talked about mythic monsters and new ways of approaching them.  I also strongly recommend this one to anyone interested in monsters.

– Mark

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