WOOP! WOOP! WOOP!
(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’sA 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.
I 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 only 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 seriously 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 airplane 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!