Tag Archives: youth media awards

ALA Awards


Okay, I’m home from Philadelphia, had a good night’s sleep, did my laundry, sorted the mail, and now I’m ready to say a few words about my reactions to the Youth Media Awards.

In order of their announcement:

The Alex Awards: that was me yelping when Lexicon was announced. Actually, it turns out that it was the only one of the ten that I had read, although Brewster and Sea of Tranquility have been on my TBR list since AB4T reviewed them. I was disappointed at the fact that nine were fiction titles, although there are more nonfiction titles on the expanded list, including my personal favorite, Frozen in Time.

Edwards Award: Yes, yes, yes! Some people were saying afterwards that they didn’t think of Markus Zusak as having been around long enough for an Edwards nod, but Fighting Ruben Wolfe came out in the US in 2001, and Getting the Girl  in 2003. Laurie Halse Anderson got the award in 2009, for Speak and Fever 1793, which came out in 1999 and 2000, respectively, so it isn’t unprecedented. As you note, I’m a big fan of Zusak’s “Aussie slacker” books, and I was especially gratified that Getting the Girl was one of the honored books, because it’s a personal favorite of mine, and I think it is one of the great overlooked YA books of the 21st century. It is a stand-alone sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and I am looking forward to re-reading both of them before the Edwards brunch at Annual.

Morris Award: As you know, I’ve been a fan of Charm and Strange since I read it, and I was delighted that it won the Morris. To be fair, I still haven’t read the other finalists, so I can’t offer any salient remarks on them.

Nonfiction Award: I was kind of rooting for GO!, just because it was nice to see a non-history (dare I say, non-World War II?) book on the list. But I managed to snag a copy of Nazi Hunters at the reception, and I’m looking forward to reading it. (You can make me eat my words next January, when my Nonfiction Committee chooses a World War II book!)

Printz: Again, we’ve both talked about Midwinter Blood. I see your issues with it, but it is a book that has really stuck with me. You mentioned its daring and inventiveness, and I sometimes think those kinds of things are like the “degree of difficulty” ratings they give ice skaters and gymnasts–even if the execution isn’t perfect, the attempt is so audacious that it merits extra points.

I was definitely surprised at Navigating Early. I read it back in the beginning of the year, but didn’t even talk about it on the blog, because I didn’t see it as Printz potential, nor was it particularly resonant with me. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, but honestly, it kind of slipped from my radar as soon as I read it.

Also a surprise to me was Maggot Moon. We both had issues with it, and one of mine was that I thought it was too young for the Printz. When I said this on Monday to a member of the Printz committee, that person–who had admittedly read the book more often and more deeply than I–looked startled, and obviously the committee thought it was a young adult book.

Eleanor & Park didn’t excite me, as you know, but I felt it was a solid YA book and I wasn’t surprised to see it on the list.

I had not even heard about Kingdom of Little Wounds until the night before the announcement, when I was having dinner with other librarians and someone brought it up as a book she thought was a strong contender this year. Clearly she was right!

Other awards:

Newbery: I haven’t read Flora and Ulysses, but I have it on hold. I was happy to see some younger books acknowledged, like that one and The Year of Billy Miller.

Caldecott: Not my area of expertise, but I heard Brian Floca speak on Friday afternoon, talking about the creation of Locomotive, and I’ve flipped through the pages, and it seems a worthy choice. I “read” Journey (it’s wordless), and thought it was lovely.

Schneider Family Awards: When Rose Under Fire was announced, I asked the person sitting next to me, “Why that one? What’s the disability?” She couldn’t answer, but fortunately, I ran into a member of the committee later, and she told me that it was Rose’s PTSD that they were mostly thinking of, but also the disabilities of the “rabbits.”

So there are some quick thoughts. Tomorrow I’ll post on some of the galleys I picked up at Midwinter (including a new one by Marcus Sedgwick), and we can start speculating about 2014.

– Mom





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First Thoughts on the YMAs


Since I just told a friend over email a couple days ago that I was refusing to make any public Printz predictions, I promise not to make too much of this, but I did say this a few week ago:

PS – I promise to tell you my thoughts on In Darkness one of these days–maybe after it unexpectedly wins the Printz.

Which I guess means I’m due.  Obviously, from the above comment, I wasn’t surprised to see it take home the gold, and I think it’s a pretty stunning piece of writing.  I also disagree with what Karyn said over on Someday about accuracy issues.  I think Lake’s afterword was more than enough to cover his bases, and after I read up a little on the historical context, I felt that the changes he made were basically just to streamline the story so that it didn’t get bogged down in historical minutiae.  I only had two problems with the book: 1) I wasn’t entirely convinced that Lake pulled off the connection between Shorty and L’Ouverture, and 2) As good as it was, I just didn’t think it stood up to the half-dozen or so best books of the year.

Speaking of those half-dozen or so books, Bomb! Yeah, I guess no one cared about the sourcing issues: YALSA Nonfiction, Sibert, and Newbery Honor.  I, obviously, think it deserved a Printz Honor or Medal too, but I guess we can’t have everything.  Congrats to Steve Sheinkin.  Couldn’t have happened to a better book. 

And also speaking of things I’ve said throughout the year, back on December 4, I said this about the YALSA Nonfiction Finalists:

I haven’t read STEVE JOBS yet (don’t much care for biographies; don’t much care for Steve Jobs), but I’m having a hard time imagining either the Newbery or the Printz committee coming up with a list of five books I’m as excited about as these – unless one or both of them includes a couple of these titles. Great, great, great year for nonfiction.

I pretty much stand by that statement.  Overall, I’m impressed by both the Newbery and Printz lists this year, especially with Bomb on the Newbery list, but I still think the trio of Bomb, Titanic, and We’ve Got a Job, beats out the top three on either of those two lists, and I was quite disappointed to see no nonfiction titles on the Printz list.

You were there–what were your thoughts (or do you have thoughts on any of the many posts I’ve been putting up while you’ve been away?)

– Mark


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