This morning the American Library Association announced the winners of the 2011 Youth Media Awards. So starting tomorrow, I’ll be discussing the winners (and losers) with students at the middle school where I work. Every year ahead of the award announcements, I make my own predictions (see previous posts). This year my batting average for selecting winners took a nose-dive…
Still, I see this as a positive: Now I’ve got a load of new titles to add to my “to-read” list.
Initial reactions? After the announcement of two (Did you hear the audience gasp when the presenter said there would be ONLY TWO?) honor titles, I was sure that the winner of the Newbery Award would be Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt. When I talked about this title with students, it got a mixed response. But when I talked about it with other writers and avid readers of middle-grade fiction, it was uniformly praised.
That said, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, the actual winner of this year’s gold, is going to be much easier to booktalk with students. And the book trailer indicates the book (now at the top of my “to-read” list) has wide appeal, for both boys and girls.
While I haven’t heard of one honor title, Breaking Stalin’s Nose, I did predict that Inside Out & Back Again, an immigrant story by Thanhha Lai, had the perfect amount of empty space on its cover for a silver Newbery medal.
This year, it’s my only prediction that came true. I’m thrilled for this first-time author and I’m eager to pass this book on to students.
One other winner I’m really excited about: Larry Dane Brimner’s Sibert-Medal-Honor-Winner, Black & White. I picked up F&Gs at AASL because A) the design looked great B) the subject matter (Civil Rights) appealed to me and C) it’s a book edited by Carolyn Yoder, the editor of my next book Hope & Tears: Ellis Island Voices (due from Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press in March 2012).
Congratulations to Mr. Brimner, Ms. Yoder, and all the staff at Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills on this beautiful, note-worthy, award-winning book!