Further Thoughts on Award Winners
Beats working! Working, in this particular case, meaning writing more reviews. Here are some more thoughts for those of you with any interest.
I am extraordinarily unqualified to discuss this award since (in theory) I do not read YA. But I read a fair amount of blogs that DO read YA and it is for this reason that Printz Award winner Jellicoe Road wasn’t completely and utterly unknown to me since it was reviewed by bookshelves of doom back in December.
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II, The Kingdom on the Waves, by M.T. Anderson – No real surprises here. I’ve really been hoping that someone somewhere (*cough* PEN *cough*) will pair Mr. Anderson with Ms. Laurie Halse Anderson for a dual discussion of Octavian Nothing and Chains. Picture It: Anderson & Anderson – Together at Last and discussing the history of American slavery during the Revolutionary War.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart – I only read this book because YOU clever dickens out there told me to do so. Remember, I asked y’all to vote on the sole YA title I should read from 2008. Frankie wasn’t even nominated, but there were so many write-in votes that it tied with Graceling (which I am reading right now). As a result, it has been the book that has remained in my brain long after I set it down. If I had a kid in high school or, better yet, entering college I would hand it to them. As it is, I’m having a hard time not sending a copy to my 2-year-old niece.
Nation, by Terry Pratchett – I read this one because I was invited to a Terry Pratchett lunch and common sense dictated that I read the book before meeting the man. Possibly my favorite of his books (though it is remarkably hard for any book to compete with Wee Free Men, so I won’t ask this one to try). Deserving of the award, yes yes.
Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan – Loved the cover. Pity it didn’t get more attention during the year. I suppose that this award will help to alleviate that problem. Didn’t read it.
Coretta Scott King Book Award (you may wish to read a recent Planet Esme post on this award)
We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro League Baseball, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson, is the King Author Book winner. Which is good because if it hadn’t won this I would have started weeping openly at my reference desk. And that is something nobody really wants to see. Really.
The Blacker the Berry, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, written by Joyce Carol Thomas and published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, is the King Illustrator Book winner. I chew the inside of my cheek in frustration. I had this book on my To Be Reviewed shelf for months, MONTHS I tells ye, and yet it never made it to the top. My own doggone fault, I suppose. Do you know that I’ve never reviewed a Floyd Cooper book? What is wrong with me? The man’s a true artist and here I am merrily foregoing his books. At least NYPL was clever and made sure to include this title on their 100 Books for Reading and Sharing list. Small comfort.
King Author Honor Books:
The Blacker the Berry by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper – Ibid (grumble grump)
Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by E.B. Lewis – The excellent choice . . . of a book that I also failed to read.
Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper – I don’t feel guilty for not reviewing this one partly because everyone informed me that this title is YA and partly because Wordsong doesn’t send me books for review so I never even saw it.
King Illustrator Honor Books:
We Are the Ship: The Story of the Negro League Baseball written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson – [shrugs in a Gallic fashion] But of course.
Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sean Qualls – You may wonder why this precipitated a happy dance of joy. Well, Mr. Qualls (who did not win a similar award for Dizzy, against all odds and logic) has at long last gotten some friggin’ recognition. I am stoked.
The Moon Over Star by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney – *sigh* Yes, well. Nothing against Mr. Pinkney, but he’s sort of a well known name as it is. I’m sure his author is pleased at any rate.
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award
Shadra Strickland, illustrator of Bird, written by Zetta Elliott – Well done all around. I liked this book and the illustrations really were quite superb. Actually, the more I think about the story the more interesting it becomes to me. I should reread it.
Schneider Family Book Award for Young Children
Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum, written and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker – I believe that I may have sat in on the ALA Notables discussion of this book back at the ALA Conference in Anaheim. It sounded good, but certainly Parker’s a difficult illustrator for me. Like Pinkney he works with a sketchy line, while I personally prefer the intricate distinct detailed pen and ink work of a Marla Frazee or a Barbara McClintock (note to self: try to encourage everyone to give McClintock a Caldecott next time around).
Schneider Family Book Award for Middle School
Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor – Excellent timing! I’m currently collecting and taking this book from all NYPL branches for my homeschooler bookgroup to read. I guess I unconsciously was pairing it with Rules by Cynthia Lord in my brain, but I never actually thought that it would win a Schneider. I’m glad it did, though. Wouldn’t want all that sky space on the cover going to waste.
Schneider Family Book Award for Teens
Jerk, California, written by Jonathan Friesen – Ah. No comment. Haven’t read it myself.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
Are You Ready to Play Outside? written and illustrated by Mo Willems – An outrage! A scandal! When clearly I Love My New Toy was the superior Elephant and Piggie 2008 title. Where do I complain? I’m being facetious, of course. Now exactly how many years will it take before we rename this the Willems Award?
Geisel Honor Books were named:
Chicken said, “Cluck!” by Judyann Ackerman Grant, illustrated by Sue Truesdell
One Boy written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Stinky written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis
Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell
Ah. I wondered if Seeger would pull through without an award. Happily she has gotten yet another. And I’m fairly certain Toon Books is doing a happy dance right now due to the inclusion of Stinky. It was the best of the 2008 season, this is true. I do wonder if Jeff Smith will be getting anything for his upcoming Toon Book title in 2009. Hm. And yay for Wolfsnail! We actually carry that book in my library, I am happy to report. This was probably one of the very few non-fiction titles to win outside the Sibert (We Are the Ship and Tatum notwithstanding).
Margaret A. Edwards Award
Laurie Halse Anderson – Lifetime achievement, eh? Not too shabby for someone under the age of 60 (she looks frickin’ 35). As far as I can tell this means that Ms. Anderson now has permission to change occupations, if she so chooses. May I suggest astronaut? A novel writing astronaut too, if you please. I’m not done being steamed over the exclusion of Chains. I’ve many years’ worth of grumbling to do.
2009 Belpré Illustrator Award
Just in Case by Yuyi Morales – If I ruled the world Yuyi Morales and Ana Juan would collaborate on a picture book together. And broccoli would taste like butterscotch.
Belpré Illustrator Honor Books for Illustration
Papá and Me illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, written by Arthur Dorros
The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos ” illustrated by Lulu Delacre, written by Lucía González
What Can You Do with a Rebozo? illustrated by Amy Córdova, written by Carmen Tafolla
Rudy Gutierrez, I swear upon all things good and holy that I will review one of your books someday. Now go yell at Harper Collins from pushing back the release date of your Pele picture book from 2009 to December 2008.
2009 Belpré Author Award
The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle – Does anyone else have to fight an urge to put an “L'” in front of Engle’s last name? It’s a small step from M. Engle to M. L’Engle. I’m just saying. Who could have known that when this book was named early in the announcements that it was a portent of things to come?
Robert F. Sibert Medal
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by author and illustrator Kadir Nelson – Good good. I wasn’t sure if they’d give the writing its proper due, but I do seriously believe that it was worth this medal.
Sibert Honor Books
Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and Rediscovery of The Past, written by James M. Deem
What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
That Fotheringham person. He’s going places. I got a glimpse at the Scholastic title he’s doing with Shana Corey this year called Mermaid Queen and it’s pretty splendid looking. Kerley and Deem have already established their brilliance. Fotheringham needs to get his incredibly awesome sounding name out there more.
Andrew Carnegie Medal
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly of Weston Woods Studios, producers of March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World – Which does absolutely nothing to keep me from hoping this will be renamed the Weston Woods Medal at some point in the future. Corbin Bleu jump roping movies aside.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, originally published in Japanese, written by Nahoko Uehashi and translated by Cathy Hirano – Scholastic published two books this year that had colored ink in them. One was The Ruby Key. The other was good old Moribito. Don’t believe me? Guess you’ll have to go seek out the book yourself. It’s not noticeable at first, but take a good long look. Such a great win too. Go, Cheryl Klein, go!
Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Books
Garmann’s Summer originally published in Norwegian, written by Stian Hole, translated by Don Bartlett
Tiger Moon originally published in German, written by Antonia Michaelis, translated by Anthea Bell
Because it wouldn’t be a Batchelder without Ms. Bell’s name appearing somewhere in the mix. The hardest working woman in translation, ladies and gentlemen. And look at Eerdmans, the little publisher that could, getting a win not just in the Caldecott category for River of Words but here in the Batchelder area for Garmann’s Summer! Mea culpa maxima for forgetting it in my Batchelder predictions, Anita.
Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written and narrated by Sherman Alexie – Does it make up for the fact that it didn’t get a Printz last year? Nah. But it’s still nice.
Odyssey Honor Audiobooks
Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady, written by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren and produced by Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Elijah of Buxton, written by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by Mirron Willis and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group
I’m Dirty! written by Kate & Jim McMullan, narrated by Steve Buscemi and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc./Scholastic
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, written and narrated by Carmen Agra Deedy and produced by Peachtree Publishers
Nation, written by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs and produced by HarperChildren’s Audio/HarperCollins Publishers.
At my Kidlit Drink Night two days ago someone pointed out that it was nice to see such a wide swath of publishers in this category. Well put. But who, like myself, missed the fact that Steve Buscemi was the one doing the audio on I’m Dirty? I have never wanted to hear a picture book audiobook so much in my life.
May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture
The 2010 Arbuthnot Lecture will be delivered by Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).
You may know her for her now defunct but still fabulous blog Worth the Trip. She is a marvel and more than deserving.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award
Ashley Bryan has been named the 2009 Wilder Award winner.
I had hoped on the off-chance that he might win a Caldecott last year for his Let it Shine. In the interim, this will do. And finally . . .
William C. Morris Award
A Curse Dark as Gold written by Elizabeth C. Bunce and published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., is the winner of the first Morris Award.
Who are the clever readers who convinced me to make this the final review of 2008? You are, my smart little dickenses. You are.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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