I’ve updated my ALA Youth Media Awards spreadsheet with the results from 2016 (scroll over to column BI). It’s an encouraging trend: 6 of the 11 books that got Newbery, Caldecott or Printz recognition have diverse protagonists (Last Stop on Market Street; The War that Saved My Life; Echo; Out of Darkness; Trombone Shorty; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement).* That’s a better percentage than last year, which had 5 books out of 13. Other noteworthy facts:
- The National Book Awards this year only had one book starring a diverse character (Challenger Deep). In previous years, it wasn’t unusual to see two or three among the five finalists.
- Three books this year got overlapping recognition from what I call category I awards (Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, National Book Awards) and category II awards (Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Stonewall and Schneider). The books were Last Stop on Market Street, The War that Saved My Life and Trombone Shorty. There were four such books last year.
- Since 2005, 12 books with Coretta Scott King award recognition have also earned some kind of category 1 award. But only 3 books have done so with the Pura Belpré. (The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and Viva Frida). I’m not sure what’s responsible for the discrepancy, but it’s significant. Since both the CSK and Belpré give out author and illustrator awards, there should be, theoretically, equal opportunity with both to get overlapping category I awards. Thoughts?
*The word “diverse,” in this case, means a character from an under-represented group, ie non-white, LGBT, disability experience, etc.
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Five Ways to celebrate Kate DiCamillo’s appointment as the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature:
1. Drink soup when she’s inaugurated on Jan 10th.
2. Vacuum up an errant squirrel and enjoy some holy unanticipated occurrences!
3. Throw a party with egg-salad sandwiches, Dump Punch, pickles, dog pictures, Littmus Lozenges, paper bag lanterns, and crepe paper in the trees.
4. Visit a carnival with your best friend, and don’t skip the fortune teller!
5. Go to the toy store and give an old china rabbit a new life.
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One of the big pieces of news in the book world is the upcoming novel by J.K. Rowling. So far, all we know is that it’s written for adults and “very different” from Harry Potter—which means we’re free to speculate. Here’s our take on how this book might play out, multiple-choice style. My (entirely baseless) answers are in the comments. Feel free to join in—the more the merrier.
1. In contrast to Harry Potter, the protagonist will be
a) a girl
b) an octagenarian, or at least middle-aged
c) an extra-terrestrial, talking animal or robot
d) cowardly, sly and a fan of libraries
e) part of a big, loving family
2. Instead of a drafty Scottish castle, the setting of the new book will be
a) a tropical island
b) a treehouse
d) inside someone’s head. The entire novel will be stream-of-consciousness.
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Posted in Audiobooks, Awards, Kids books-general, MG books (ages 8-12), Nonfiction, Picture books, YA books, tagged inklings, lists, news on January 23, 2012|
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The British cover for Dead End in Norvelt (thanks to Fuse #8 for the tip): so much better than ours.
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.
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I kid you not–Dec. 15 is officially Cat Herders Day. So whether you actually herd cats for a living, train them for tournaments or find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable task, today’s a day for celebrating such challenges.
Go ahead. Herd me. See if I care.
Over at The Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac, Anita Silvey has a great post on Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats–a classic statement on the futility of bossing cats around.
Ironically, I’ve just finished a book with the least cat-like cat I’ve ever read: Lula in Waiting for the Magic by Patricia MacLachlan (Oct 2011). This cat is so chill it’s content being dressed in baby clothes and hauled around like a doll. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but Waiting for the Magic thrives on the impossible, and there’s plenty of magic (both fantastical and wordsmith-wise) as Lula, four dogs and two kids conspire to reunite a broken family. By turns poignant and hilarious, it’s a brilliant book to read any day of the year, but especially fitting for today.
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