Monday, February 3, 2014

ALA Midwinter/Youth Media Awards 2014 Recap

The last weekend in January brought me to Philadelphia, for ALA's Midwinter conference. If you've ever been to Midwinter, then you know it's not quite as exciting as Annual. Yes, there is nearly as much going on, but most of it is committee meetings (many of which are closed) and council sessions. As such, I don't have a whole lot to say about the conference but I'll highlight a couple things.

There are not a great many sessions taking place during Midwinter, so much of what I did was attend publisher previews. Some were better done than others (some people, surprisingly, didn't sell their houses books very well). I like going to these previews because, even though I am obsessive about knowing what books are coming out ahead of time, it's nice to hear how the publishers plan on marketing it and seeing the first print runs - it gives you a great idea of what books they're really pushing to be big hits. I went to previews for children's and adult divisions. I saw A LOT of debut novels coming this year, so it seems that more publishers are getting in the quest for the next big thing. I found a lot of titles I'm looking forward to reading but, with this being the year of no library books, it'll probably be a while before I get to many of them.

However, I will get to some of them because, as usual, I couldn't resist the siren call of free books. I didn't think I was taking as many as usual until it came time to send them home. Now I'm wondering where I'm going to put them all in my already heavily book-laden apartment. The year of reading books I own needs to seriously get underway.

If you're curious about what movies I've been watching over the past year, this list will give you some idea. My main reason for attending Midwinter was to finalize our choices for Fabulous Films for Young Adults. I'm pleased with our results, and really happy that I served on this committee. I'm looking forward to future committee work with ALA.

I really wanted to drop in on the Best Fiction for Young Adults teen feedback session; alas, it was during my committee deliberations so I couldn't. However, I hear they record the session, so I'm hoping to find time in the next few weeks to watch it.

What I'd really like to talk about are the Youth Media Awards. I love watching them. It's so exciting to see what titles are going to be honored this year. I was disappointed to find myself in the overflow room, which lacked a little bit of the atmosphere as the ballroom where the awards were being announced. So, how did I do this year when it comes to the awards?

Alex Awards: 0/10 read - abysmal showing here, particularly considering I read more adult titles this year than in years past. I do have copies of two of the winners at home, so I plan to read them sometime this year.

Schneider Family Book Awards: 2/3 read (A Splash of Red, Rose Under Fire) - disappointed to have not read the Middle Grades book, but happy that our library owns it. It is already on my to-read list.

Stonewall Book Awards: 1/5 read (Two Boys Kissing) - another poor showing for me here, particularly since I usually try so hard to find GLBT books for young people. I have heard of all the titles except Branded by the Pink Triangle and am really kicking myself for not reading Better Nate Than Ever last year!

Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent: 0/1 read - I remember seeing this book come in at our library and thinking it looked really interesting but I neglected to read it. Maybe I'll sneak it in while I'm sitting on the desk someday soon.

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award: 2/2 read - huzzah! I loved Nelson Mandela (I pretty much think Kadir Nelson can do no wrong) and I didn't review Knock Knock (mostly because I didn't feel I had much to say about it other than it was sad).

Coretta Scott King Book Award: 0/4 read - terrible showing for me. I've been wanting to read March but our library doesn't own it and I might be the only person on the planet who wasn't dying to read P.S. Be Eleven the minute it came out. Hopefully I'll find time to check these titles out soon.

William C. Morris Award: 4/5 read (Charm & Strange, Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Sex & Violence) - Sex & Violence was the only title I'd read before the shortlist was announced in December and I spent most of my December reading the other titles, except for the one my library doesn't own. I thought Sex & Violence would be the winner; look for reviews of the other finalists coming soon.

Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award: 3/5 read (Imprisoned, Courage Has No Color, The Nazi Hunters) - I predicted Imprisoned but I thought all the titles I'd read were equally strong, so wasn't surprised to see the winner. In the week after the announcements, I also finished The President Has Been Shot! Once again, look for reviews of these titles coming soon.

Michael L. Printz Award: 4/5 read (Eleanor & Park, The Kingdom of Little Wounds, Navigating Early, Midwinterblood) - yay! I was so impressed with myself for having read four of the five titles before the announcement! I find this list maybe the most interesting of all the awards announced, as it includes two titles that read very upper teen/adult and one very young teen/middle grade (at least to me). I am kicking myself for not having my review of Midwinterblood done before the awards - look for that soon.

Pura Belpre Award for Illustration: 1/5 read (Maria Had a Little Llama) - the one title from this list I read had just come into our library maybe a week before I left for Midwinter and I couldn't resist picking it up. We have two of the other titles in the library, so I'll try to sneak them during desk hours.

Pura Belpre Award for Text: 0/4 read - I'm happy that I'd heard of all the titles but disappointed that I hadn't read any. I'm a big fan of Margarita Engle's and sad that I missed this title of hers. I think my library only owns one of the four books; hopefully that will change soon.

Odyssey Award: 0/5 read - I just ordered the new Matilda audio right before the announcements, so I'm looking forward to that coming in and listening to it. I listened to Daniel Kraus's earlier novel, Rotters, and didn't love it, so I've been hesitant on checking out his newest. However, the audio sounds incredibly creepy - they played a clip for us during the announcements - so maybe I'll give it a shot.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award: 0/4 read - I think I saw one review for Mister Orange and considered ordering it for the library but didn't. Maybe I'll do so now. I don't think we own any of the other titles either.

Robert F. Sibert Medal: 1/5 read (A Splash of Red) - very disappointing, as this is a personal favorite award of mine. I love nonfiction picture books, so I'm sad that I hadn't read more of these. My library owns all of the Honor books but not the winner, so I'll try to check out the ones I missed.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award: 3/4 read (Ball, A Big Guy Took My Ball, Penny and Her Marble) - my coworker just read The Watermelon Seed in storytime, so I'll have to check it out soon (it's one of her new favorite books). I was thrilled to see Ball on this list - I loved it so much!

Randolph Caldecott Medal: 3/4 read (Journey, Flora and the Flamingo, Mr. Wuffles) - so apparently huge shame on me for not picking up Locomotive before the awards ceremony. Thrilled for Flora - I adored that one. Reviews of the other titles are forthcoming.

John Newbery Medal: 2/5 read (The Year of Billy Miller, Flora & Ulysses) - also kicking myself for not keeping up on my Newbery reading this past year. I have a copy of Doll Bones at home, so I'll hopefully read that one soon. I had really wanted to read One Came Home based on the word of Betsy Bird, so that's already at the top of the to-read pile. Paperboy was the surprise here - we didn't have it, but I've ordered a copy. So happy about The Year of Billy Miller - one of my favorites from last year. I haven't reviewed Flora & Ulysses yet, so that's coming soon, but I was a bit disappointed in it.

You can find more information about all the awards and titles here. Don't forget to check out the other award lists by YALSA and ALSC!


  1. You've read a lot more than I have! - but I had just finished Flora & Ulysses the day it was announced and was disappointed with it, too. I've loved DiCamillo's other books so much. We have March in both teen and adult here (I buy the adult GNs and thought it might go over better there)... but so far, it hasn't gone out much. We only bought Locomotive after the fact, too, as the picture books purchaser looked at the reviews and thought it wouldn't go out. We'll have to see! I loved Journey, though, and Eleanor & Park and Dollbones.

  2. I have been mostly ambivalent about DiCamillo's books before - loved beyond reason THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE but was a little underwhelmed by TALE OF DESPEREAUX. I think the reason we don't have MARCH is because our GN selectors don't think it will circulate well. LOCOMOTIVE has hardly stayed on the shelf since we got it! It's always interesting to see what award books are actually popular with patrons, isn't it?