Archive for the ‘book awards’ Category

I promised you the books I wish had gotten some attention from the ALA Youth Media Awards, didn’t I? Bob’s yer uncle, I did! Here they are, in no particular order, other than the order in which they occured to me:

thearrival.jpgThe Arrival by Shaun Tan

It ain’t American, so therefore disqualified from the Caldecott runnings, but what a pity the Printz committee didn’t pay more attention to what is obviously the best book for young readers of 2007. You may say the intended audience is too young, but then remember — the scene with the village destroyed by war. The girl trapped in the incinerator mines! The DRAGONS! The FREAKING DRAGONS! Yeah, that could make it YA.

missspitfire.jpgMiss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller

Huh. I’d have thought this was a shoo-in, given how the Newbery committees of yore tend to love their girly historical fiction. And this lil’ beaut has a strong girly protagonist, gorgeous writing comin’ out the yin-yang, and a Doll that is used as a Symbol. But the committee was apparently goin’ against the grain this year.


At Night by Jonathan Bean, or possibly The Apple Pie That Papa Baked, by Laruen Thompson and illustrated by Jonathan Bean. Bean Something.

I’ve noticed that the Caldecott committee frequently likes to give an honor to quiet little books (Barbara Lehman, anyone?), so I thought that At Night certainly had a chance. The committee also likes gorgeousapplepiethatpapabaked.jpg retellings of traditional-style rhymes and folklore (too many to mention), so I thought The Apple Pie That Papa Baked might stand a chance, as well. Alas, both of these gorgeous numbers were outshone by . . . Knuffle Bunny Too. Which is a fine book in many ways, but . . . alas.

red-shoe.jpgThe Red Shoe by Ursula Dubosarsky

Somehow, the Printz committee chose to honor Australian YA fiction with One Whole and Perfect Day, and not this book OR The Arrival. Not that I have anything against One Whole and Perfect Day, but it just seems to pale in comparison to Dubosarsky’s little gem. It haunts you. The kids are so real! The setting is so well realized! The plot starts slow, but tightens up quickly. When I started reading it, I didn’t think it would be something I’d enjoy, but that was six months ago, and I still can’t get it out of my mind.

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington, illustrated by Shelley Jackson

What?!? It wasn’t even recognized by the Coretta Scott King Award! WHAT the HECK happened?!? This was one of the best-written picture books of 2007. How good is it? Rarely a morning routine goes by without the phrase “I brushed my teeth white as a biscuit” floating through my head. Really. And the illustrations — oh, they are gorgeous, well-designed, memorable. Oooh, it hurts that this one got looked over. But perhaps the Charlotte Zolotow Award can make amends. One can only hope.

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Oyez, oyez, oyez!  Congrats again to the ALA Youth Media Award Winners!  (Ugh, there’s got to be a better way to refer to these awards . . . )  Here are a collection of videos to salute you!

First off, I found fabulous montage based on Peter Sis’s The Wall.  It intersperses images from the book with Polish newsreel footage from the ’50s and ’60s.  Plus, it has a nice beat.  Very helpful if you’re thinking about teaching a unit based on the book:

Next up: Expanded Books’ lovely piece on The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  This is what the “Today Show” SHOULD have done.

One of the most puzzling books of 2007, in my opinion, was Jacqueline Woodson’s Feathers.  Yeah, I liked it, and I’m happy it got a Newbery Honor, but you gotta admit: the book is darn hard to describe, and I’ll have a difficult time booktalking it.  Or, I could simply let everyone watch this video (posted online by Woodson herself) and let technology do the work for me.  It’s pretty:

Lastly, I was able to fish up this brief lil’ clip from a stage production of Bud Not Buddy.  Put together by the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, it looks pretty stylish and fun.  Best of all, it’s currently on stage, so all of y’all in the Midwest better get hoppin’: 

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(I churn my fist in the air, Arsenio Hall-style)



. . . Yes, that would have been the general scene here at my house on Monday. Can I tell you — I just loved it when I found out that the Newbery and Caldecott committees had actually been receiving my ESP messages to them all year. So satisfyin’.

So, yes — I was thrilled to hear that Laura Amy Schlitz Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! brought home the Big One: La Newbery. I was on the judging panel that gave Schlitz’sdrownedmaiden.jpgA Drowned Maiden’s Hair the Cybil last year, and we were all a bit disappointed when that novel didn’t get more recognition outside of the kidlitosphere. There’s nothin’ like the sweet, sweet, sound of vindication. Ahhh, how nicely it flows.

But truly, it wasn’t that much of a surprise, considering how much Newbery committees of yore have lauded historical fiction set in the Middle Ages. You got your Adam of the Road. You got your Midwife’s Apprentice, and your Catherine, Called Birdy. You got The Apple and the Arrow and The Trumpeter of Krakow. Sheesh, the very first year of the award featured Cedric the Forester. The Newbery: Oh, how it likes them swords and serfs.

inventionofhugo.jpgI emitted quite a few screams regarding The Invention of Hugo Cabret winning the Caldecott, as well. Longtime readers of this blog (all three of you) might remember that the longest post I’ve ever ever done was all about Cabret. The book even got a flippin’ cameo in my Christmas card this year — that’s how much I love the illustrations.

Okay, okay, that level of admiration is now coming off as creepy, I realize. Let me just say that, in regards to the writing — eh. People keep talking about how so-so it is. I admit that it didn’t blow me out of the water (although I love the storyline) but there’s many a Caldecott winner with meh text. (I’ll choose one at random for you: White Snow, Bright Snow. Can you think of any memorable lines from it? There you go.)

As for the Printz Award — I’m very happy with Geraldine McCaughrean’s win. My onlywhite-darkness.jpg regret is that I didn’t read The White Darkness when I had the chance. See, I checked out that book from the library when it first came out, but that was back in February yes. Wintertime in Pennsylvania is best memorialized via Bill Murray’s line from Groundhog Day: “It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be dark, and it’s going to last the rest of your life.” It just was not the time when you want to read a book about the Antarctic. Even an Antarctic with a sexy imaginary explorer.

And may I also mention the backflips I did when Ashley Bryan’s Let it Shine grabbed the Coretta Scott King Award? I’ve been talking up that book all year. (I letitshine.jpgseriously want a print of the mother-and-child spread from that book. It can be proudly displayed either in my living room or the inner chambers of my heart.) Back when I was in library school, Bryan stopped by my children’s resources class to do a workshop/astound everyone. I’ve been a worshipful follower ever since. The man doth rock.

As for the rest of the awards — ah, there were pretty much no surprises, as far as I’m concerned. Peter Sis’s The Wall may have been a bit of a surprise to some, but biographies aren’t that uncommon in the land of ALA book awards. I was pretty happy to see Nic Bishop Spiders get some attention (go-orgeous photography) as well as Brian Floca’s Lightship — if anything, because I feel like the world owes Floca something for writing Five Trucks. If you’ve ever been stuck on an airplanenic-bishop-spiders.jpg with tired toddlers, you’ll understand why Five Trucks is darn amazing. Also — it was good to see Nicholas and the Gang get some attention from the Batchelder committee. Hopefully, this will encourage Phaidon to keep bringing us more Euro-kidlit from the ’50s and ’60s. One can only hope, eh?

Up Next: Books that I wish could have gotten some award-lovin’ attention — stay tuned!

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