Thursday, January 13, 2011

Awards Post Mortem

Here is a rundown on what I know and think about the books honored at the Youth Media Awards this past Monday. Oh what a day of surprises it was.  We were able to watch it live in the library.  I had gotten permission to call the 5th and 6th graders who participated in the Newbery Club out of class.  There were also juice and muffins. 

(Naturally I will only be mentioning books that pertain to an elementary library experience.)

Schneider Family Book Award: given for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

If asked to speculate on the Middle-grade award beforehand I’m sure I would have leaned toward the obvious picks: Out of My Mind or Mockingbird. I was thrilled as a bucket of kittens swimming in cream when Jordan Sonnenblick’s After Ever After took the award. I adored that book, and it led me to go back and read Sonnenblick’s prior book about Jeffrey’s brother, Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie. Such great titles for my shelves and my students.

I should begin giving more prior thought to this award. Looking back on previous winners I find many a cherished title in the list: Becoming Naomi Leon, Waiting for Normal, Anything but Typical, and Marcelo in the Real World. Not only that, I find that many of the books that fill the Schneider awards ranks have a strong appeal to a certain segment of my fifth and sixth grades readers. I really need to check child development charts. I wouldn’t be surprises the find that a heightened sense of empathy develops around the ages of 10-12 based on some of the word-of-mouth runs I have on issues type books.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award:

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia– Did you think it could be anything else?


Lockdown, by Walter Dean – A little on the YA side for this library

Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes – A strong little book, with an enjoyable cast. First Children’s book I can think of that puts the reader in Hurricane Katrina. I had a bit of an abrupt ending for this reader.

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, written by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke. A graphic novel that has been jumping on and off my order list. This clinched it. It is in my next order.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick – I ask you, is this not a better world for having Collier’s Illustrations? More on this guy later.

Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, written by Gary Golio – A bio of Janice Joplin Bio won the YA non-fiction award, the sixties are very well represented in 2010 children’s lit.

Odyssey Award: for best audio book produced for children and/or young adults. (If the collection developer for The Davis County Library systems happens to read this, will you please put the following audio titles in your next order?)

The True Meaning of Smekday, written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin – I am ready to road trip with Gratuity and J. Lo again, oh yes I am.


Alchemy and Meggy Swann, by Karen Cushman and narrated by Katherine Kellgren - This would be the same Katherine Kellgren who reads the Bloody Jack series? Oh my, what a treat!

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness and narrated by Nick Podehl – I have yet to read this YA series but according to my sister, who is wise to all things YA, it is fast-paced rollicking ride of a series.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly and narrated by Emily Janice Card and Emma Bering – More YA that got lots of attention this year.

will grayson, will grayson, - written by John Green and David Levithan, and narrated by MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl – This YA has been on my to-read list, but the same sister as above, assured me I should hold out for the audio. Will do.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award: honors a Latino writer of children’s books

The Dreamer, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan – There was much cheering from my Newbery Club kids when this one. The student who read it felt it was very worthy, proving me wrong on its kid appeal.

Now let us tackle the awards I made wagers on, and by wagers I assure you no money changed hands, my pride was the only thing on the line:

Robert F. Sibert Medal: for most distinguished informational book for children.


Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, written by Sy Montgomery – I purchased this book months ago, and promptly put it on my too read list. It is still too be read. But it will I assure you. I was told by a friend that it is the best non-fiction bird book ever, and also works as a Wolf requirement in the Cub Scout manual.


Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca – We have a dance teacher at our school. I slipped my copy to her when it first arrived. She was delirious. I don’t know what Magic that Brian Floca guy has, but I would swear he paints in 3-D.

Lafayette and the American Revolution, written by Russell Freedman – Drat, I had the other Freeman book that came out this year. I was tempted to buy this after finishing Forge, now I shall.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award: for the most distinguished beginning reader book. (If you are keeping track you will notice that my picks perfectly match the committees, thus proving that this is the committee I should sit on one day.)

Bink and Gollie, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile – I will grant you that this book very kid friendly, but really I’m sure it was written just to bring me joy.

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! written and illustrated by Grace Lin – This book raised the level of writing Easy Readers from this point on.

We Are in a Book! written and illustrated by Mo Willems – I’ve heard it said that this is the best Piggie and Gerald book to date, and I won’t disagree. Meta fiction at it’s very best.

Caldecott Medal: for the most distinguished American picture book for children.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead. Squeals were heard far and wide when my favorite of the year grabbed gold.

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill. Yep, Mr. Collier pulled a twofer. As I was doing my civil rights lessons this week, I pull the Caldecott winners over to the table to catch the kiddos up on the actual winners. Having picked their own winner a few weeks ago I was sure they would be interested. I had Dave nestled among the usual suspect for the week. I wasn’t quick on the draw but a few third graders noticed that other books on the table had medals. They wanted to know what they’d won. I picked up my favorite MKL book, Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by . . . Oh yes, Bryan Collier. Well what do you know? A Caldecott honor and a CSK medal. What’s that glittering on Rosa by Nikki Giovonni? Well looka here, another nice Caldecott honor along with a CSK medal, illustrated by. . . You guessed it, Bryan Collier. Familiar territory for that guy.

Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein. Didn’t have it, my head hangs in shame. Correcting as we speak.

Newbery Medal: for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

Moon over Manifest, written by Clare Vanderpool. Like many I was left scratching my head when this book was announced. If by scratching my head you mean yelping in surprise and crushing disappointment. Not because Moon Over Manifest was going to wear Newbery gold, but because I hadn’t read it, nor did I have it in the library. It was as if I’d failed my purpose in life. I scoured the local bookstores and was able to track down a copy before the day was over. So far, so delightful.

Honors: (My student were quite tickled as each of these titles came up, each book had several readers who could offer a cheer.)

Turtle in Paradise, by Jennifer L. Holm – OH yes, yes, yes, nothing to feel bad about this one and I think it has quite the child friendly cover.

Heart of a Samurai, written by Margi Preus – This has been a big hit with my boy readers, and my girl readers come to think of it.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen – A lovely book of Poetry. Sidman’s books have been collecting quite a bit of bling over the years. I can think of two Caldecott honors, but this may be the first that recognizes her writing. Apparently she is a great big show off because she managed to come out with two stunning books of poetry this year. Be sure to look up Ubiquitous.

One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia. When my sure-thing sprang up on the screen, a little too early, I went into a state of shock. Other people in the room wanted to know what my guesses were as to the medal. I really couldn’t even say. All cognitive ability left the building.

Regardless of whether the medal is gold or silver Delphine and her sisters will shine in children’s literature for the rest of time. Thank you Rita Williams-Garcia for writing such a marvelous book.

Check out the 2011 ALSC notable list for many other delicious titles.


  1. Thanks for the commentary! I'm scrambling to get my hands on Moon Over Manifest, as well.

  2. Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen – A lovely book of Poetry.