Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Thoughts: 2011 Awards

So yesterday was the big day in kidlit land - the announcement of the ALA's Youth Media Awards. It's already been pointed out that I was way off on YALSA's nonfiction award, but how did the other awards shape up?

Now, if I ran through every single award and honor presented yesterday, we'd be here all day. So instead, I'm going to comment on the most notable (to me) awards for the YA contenders, as well as link to my reviews when applicable, but direct you to the list of all the winners.

Big winner: One Crazy Summer. I clearly made a mistake in not writing up a full review for One Crazy Summer because that was the book to beat this year. A National Book Award honoree, Scott O'Dell award for historical fiction winner, Coretta Scott King Author award winner, and Newbery honoree. It's a small book - where on earth are all of those medals going to fit?!

Awards that made me squee at my desk: Five Flavors of Dumb winning the teen Schneider award and Almost Perfect winning the Stonewall award. I totally didn't expect either of these titles to get any awards attention - Five Flavors of Dumb because of its November publishing date and Almost Perfect because it's actually a 2009 book (and was on the 2010 Best Fiction for Young Adults list). So these were both very pleasant surprises because of my absolute love for both of these books.

Award that made me fistpump: Ship Breaker winning the Printz award. In movie-land, science fiction gets the short end of the stick. Thankfully, YA book people know an awesome book when they see one and gave this epic environmental dystopian tale the top award in the field. SO EXCITING. Also awesome? Our collective excitement got both Ship Breaker and Printz to be trending topics on Twitter. The #alayma hashtag also ended up trending for awhile near the end of the ceremony. Book geeks are loud and proud on Twitter.

The only other award I'm on record predicting and getting right: Firefly Letters getting a Pura Belpre honor. Over at Reading in Color I predicted that The Red Umbrella and Efrain's Secret would be recognized and Firefly Letters would get at least an honor, since she won in both 2008 and 2009. The Belpre committees clearly enjoy Engle's work!

Award that seemed to come out of left field: Moon Over Manifest winning the Newbery. I'm far from an expert on MG fiction, but I hadn't even heard of this one (despite its three starred reviews). I don't think I even saw it on any mock-Newbery lists, and no one mentioned it in last week's Twitter kidlitchat!

Was the National Book Award a predictor for ALA awards? Well, half of the NBA honors won big prizes, and a third honor was also honored at ALA (Lockdown by Walter Dean Meyers is a Coretta Scott King award honoree). Dark Water was completely left out, as was the actual NBA winner, Mockingbird. In the kidlitchat, it was mentioned that the NBA winner never wins the Newbery, and that has held true for another year - seems like it's almost preferable to just get the NBA honor!

Book that left Angela alone in the cold: Stolen. Clearly I'm alone in how this title underwhelmed me (and I still haven't found anyone who can adequately explain why Ty is at all desirable for anyone not suffering from Stockholm Syndrome), given that it received two starred reviews before getting a Printz Honor. I don't want to be unnecessarily negative here, but I just had to say something on this one.

Wait, what didn't win an award?! Out of My Mind. Seriously. Nothing. What on Earth happened there? I acknowledged in my favorite books of 2010 post that some MG experts had problems with the title...but were so many opposed that it didn't get any love? Hopefully it's a book that will get enough word-of-mouth attention to keep it finding new readers for a long time.

This week we should also be seeing what the longer book lists selected as the top books of the year. I can't wait to see what the Best Fiction for Young Adults and Amelia Bloomer lists come out with!


Anonymous said...

Never say never! Holes won both the NBA and took home Newbery gold. House of the Scorpion sports three shiny stickers. It took home the NBA award, a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor.

I am a huge fan of Out of My Mind and have been recommending it all over the place, but it never jumped out at me as award worthy.

I was half-listening to the webcast b/c I had kids coming into my room just as the Printz was being announced. I shouted, "Yes!" The room got dead quiet. It was pretty funny.

I also chuckled a bit when you wrote that we'd be here all day if you wrote about every award! I started a similar post and ended up chucking it. There are just so many awards now! I don't mean to imply that they aren't all meaningful and wonderful. It's just a lot to process!


Anonymous said...

Oops, I guess the little "grin" I stuck in after my admonition to never say never, got stripped. I meant it lightly.


Angela Craft said...

I knew both Holes and House of the Scorpion had loaded up on the awards, but didn't know the specifics off hand. Thanks for the reminder! (Also, how often does an award get recognized for both the Newbery and the Printz? That sure seems like it has to be a once-in-a-blue-moon occurance!).

I was really quite impressed with how quickly the awards ceremony went - I think it was less than two hours? Part of skipping commentary on many of the awards was also just that I have nothing meaningful to add to the conversation - I know nothing about picture books, for example, so what could I say about the Caldecott honors? It seemed like a better use of everyone's time if I just limited myself to the awards that I really needed to talk about.

Debbie Diesen said...

I enjoy watching the Webcast of the awards -- the selections are always a mix of the expected and the unexpected. Librarians do keep things lively!

Jan Markley said...

Interesting take on the awards, thanks for the post!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Hi Angela! I am visited through Lee Wind's blog.

I am a twenty-something as well, nice to see more of us around. AND you're from West Michigan. What are the chances. I am happy for you that you've moved on to NYC. I am still stuck here, lamenting my life as Lake Mich laps against my toes. Well, not at this very moment, obviously, I'd die of hypothermia. Where am I going with this? I have no idea. I am really glad to have found your blog though!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Oh and excellent take on the awards handed out. I have bookmarked this post as a resource for my to be read pile.

Lee Wind said...

Hi Angela,
thanks for your personal run-down on what was notable about the awards - so much good reading ahead! Now I just have to figure out how to prioritize!

MotherReader said...

I was surprised and disappointed that Out of My Mind was left out of the awards. The Moon Over Manifest did come out of left field for everyone, and now that I've read it I can see why. It is a real slow-starter. Like, I was more than halfway through before I could see why it had been chosen. Any one taking the first fifty pages approach to finding a winner would have missed this one. By the end, I loved it - but am still a bit put out by the fact that it took so long to get into it. I think that matters when picking a winner.

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