Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Some thoughts: ALA Youth Media Awards

Well, if you're like me, I know what you were doing the morning of Monday, January 28, 2013: watching (either in person or online via live-stream) the ALA Youth Media Awards. This year, I tuned in online and it was just as exciting as being there in person last year (well, maybe not, but it was still pretty exciting). I have been avidly following reviews and buzz, reading Heavy Medal and Someday My Printz Will Come, and trying my own hand at predicting the winners. I did not fare well at all, prediction-wise, but I have some thoughts about the winners and I'd like to share them (and please share your thoughts as well!).

I don't really have opinions on all the awards - I don't have time to follow them all with the same level of rabidity. I think the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and Morris Award winners were no surprises - after the shortlists were announced, I think both categories had pretty clear frontrunners and those frontrunners took home the awards. I am of two minds about the overlap between the ENYA and the Sibert - it is fantastic that the three books that made both lists are so truly distinguished that they score multiple honors; however, there was no shortage of great non-fiction this last year and it would have been nice to see more diverse titles honored (I say this even with my depressing showing of non-fiction reading this year - I know there were a lot of great books out there that I didn't get to).

I was surprised that I had only read one of the Stonewall books: October Mourning, which was truly excellent. Given the buzz, I expected to see The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the list, but I will definitely be checking out the titles that were honored as soon as I can. I am so impressed with the honors bestowed on Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe - I'd heard of the book but hadn't read it yet. I will definitely need to change that ASAP - except my library doesn't own a copy yet. I've been assured it's on order - I'll be stalking our catalog to put my name on the holds list.

I am not surprised to see Tamora Pierce win the Margaret A. Edwards Award - it seems like it's been a long time coming. Though I've never read her, I know she's done important work in the fantasy genre, especially with regards to female characters. I also know many people who grew up reading and loving those books - I just wasn't a fantasy reader in high school. I'll definitely check her out when I get a chance. I'm also not surprised to see Katherine Paterson win the Laura Ingalls Wilder. Personally, she's not my favorite author, but she has definitely made a lasting contribution to literature for young people.

Though I wasn't of the camp that believed Wonder would receive Newbery love, I thought it was a shoo-in for recognition from the Schneider Family Book Award. Perhaps the love for it has faded over the year since it was published? Regardless, I am definitely interested in checking out A Dog Called Homeless - I've seen it on our shelves and didn't know it dealt with the disability experience at all.

The Printz seemed to be a whole slew of surprises - and I'm ashamed that I've only read one of the Honor books. Once again, I really need our library to get a copy of Aristotle and Dante - I've already checked out In Darkness and Dodger to read as soon as I can. I love when there is a book that's completely out of left field - I mean, who had heard of The White Bicycle before? I'm pleased that Code Name Verity received an Honor - it is a truly excellent book. But I can't help but be a little sad that The Fault in Our Stars received no love (excepting the audio version's Odyssey Award win). I admire all the hard work the committee did and I trust their decision - it's just a book I love so much that I want it to get all the love.

I love, love, love that the Caldecott committee named five Honor books - the illustrations in picture books just keep getting more and more stunning and I love that the committee made it known. I am especially thrilled that Peter Brown received an Honor for Creepy Carrots! - his work continually amazes me. I also really loved Green and am not surprised to see its Honor. What I really love is that This is Not My Hat won the whole shebang - I think Klassen is doing really interesting things in picture book illustration and I love this book so very much.

Not a ton of surprise with the Newbery - I'd seen all the books in various discussions and I definitely cheered out loud when The One and Only Ivan won. It's a beautiful book with tremendous appeal - I can't wait to read it again and share it with kids. Personally, I'm surprised that Three Times Lucky honored - I don't remember being that impressed with it. I guess you never know!

What are your thoughts?

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