Like many of you, I will be chained to my computer early Monday morning. At 7:45 Central Time or shortly thereafter.
Fortunately for me, my children with already be off on their school buses. And having gone through the process of getting them to the bus should be enough to pry open my eyes.
What’s really going to help is the palpable suspense that always precedes announcement of the American Library Association’s youth media awards. This year, I’ve talked as always with the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at my school about the four top awards: Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert. I’ve even given them my personal faves or “picks.”
So what’s the final word from my middle schoolers? Based on their reactions, Brian Selznick with be getting an early morning phone call for either a Caldecott or a Newbery or both. They loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and those who have read our sole copy of Wonderstruck love it too.
They’re ready to get on a waiting list to read the copies I’ll be ordering of Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (the localire connection doesn’t hurt) and Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai—two of my other Newbery picks.
Eighth grade boys are intrigued by A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, one of my two picks for the Printz. And the girls are not too shy to ask when they can check out my other choice: Big Crunch by Pete Hautman—“You know, Ms. Swain, that one about the romance.”
How They Croaked, by Georgia Bragg, also has a large fan-base, even though I don’t yet have a copy ready to check out. This might bode well for a Sibert award, except that kid-appeal hasn’t always added up to silver or gold medals in the past.
The only book not listed above that should surely get attention is Bluefish by Pat Schmatz. I haven’t yet found a successful way to “booktalk” this book to my middle schoolers, and yet I still have such a vivid picture in my mind of the characters. If staying power is any indicator, this book might find its way to a shiny medal.
Can’t wait till Monday…Can you?
PS: Although I risk putting a "date stamp" on my forehead, I should say that the two books in the photo are the very first Caldecott winners I received: The Snowy Day (1963) and Where the Wild Things Are (1964).