Um, wow. So Dead End in Norvelt got the Newbery! It was, as Jen predicted, a dark horse triumph. And while I’m still sad at the lack of recognition for Sir Gawain, Okay for Now and Amelia Lost, Gantos’ win makes me positively gleeful. We don’t often get laugh-out-loud funny Newbery winners: The Higher Power of Lucky often made me smile, as did The Tale of Despereaux. But I have to go back to Holes (1999) to find one that made me laugh. Norvelt packs enough humor to transform the most reluctant readers into bookworms (the title of this post references one of the more memorable scenes), and that may be the greatest prize of all.
As for the other award winners (full results from today’s ALA Youth Media Awards here), here are some scattered thoughts:
- This seems to be the year where books won in unexpected categories. After all the Newbery/Caldecott agonizing over Wonderstruck, it was great (and so fitting!) to see it win a Schneider Family Book Award. Same with Drawing from Memory‘s Sibert Honor and I Want My Hat Back! in the Geisel category. It all seems so obvious in retrospect.
- Breaking Stalin’s Nose (Newbery Honor book) reminds me of Moon Over Manifest from last year–something totally unexpected, which I’m now quite looking forward to.
- I’m ecstatic to see the Printz Committee honor The Returning. This is one of those books that reels you in slowly and doesn’t let go, but the slow pacing means it could use an awards-push to generate publicity.
- Okay for Now got recognition for the audio book. I’ve always wondered about Doug’s voice–I imagine it’s either quite deadpan or darkly sarcastic. Now’s a good time to find out.
- Kadir Nelson’s Heart and Soul won a well-deserved Coretta Scott King Award, though I’d hoped for Bird in a Box to get an award as well.
- I haven’t read A Ball for Daisy or Blackout, but Me…Jane and Grandpa Green both deserve as much recognition as they can get.
- Susan Cooper’s Margaret A. Edwards Award! I feel so lucky to have discovered her books this year (or rather re-discovered after a failed attempt to start the series years ago), and even had the chance to meet her during The Exquisite Conversation.