It’s Awards Time!

Yessterday the 2012 American Library Association Youth Media Awards were announced at ALA Midwinter in Dallas, TX! I was seriously in anticipation of this day for months. I remember in December, before Christmas, telling people that I couldn’t decide if I was more excited about the awards or Christmas. That’s how excited I was! So when I heard that there was a live webcast people not lucky enough to be at Midwinter could watch from home, some other like-minded library nerds and I thought we would have a little viewing party. Kind of like an Oscars party, but better. That was before we found out the announcements were early in the morning on a Monday. Yeah, not the best time to have a party. And I had to be at work.

So instead of a party, I followed along on twitter this morning. Gosh, was that exciting. Even from far away I could feel the excitement as the tweets were flowing in. I had done a lot of reading in preparation but I knew I hadn’t read everything. I definitely had my favorites that I was hoping would be honored. I had spent a lot of time reading various Mock Award blogs, which are so much fun by the way! My favorites were Someday my Printz Will Come and the Heavy Medal blog.

And so the winners are:

Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Guys, I was seriously so stocked that this book won! It really deserves it. I read it just a few weeks ago and absolutely LOVED it! The coolest thing is that this book was honored with TWO awards this year; it also won the Morris Award for best debut book! Go out and read it now! The Printz honors I wasn’t so excited about. I had actually just tried to read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and I could not finish it. I really tried. I gave it 50 pages and didn’t want to give up so I gave it another 50 pages but I still couldn’t understand the appeal after 100 pages so I had to put it down. If someone can tell me why they love this book, I would love to hear it! Of the other three, I really want to read Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey and The Returning by Chrsitine Hinwood sound good too and I’ll probably read them eventually.

The Caldecott Award for most distinguished picture book goes to A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka. This picture book is truly excellent. It tells a charming, heartwarming story about a dog and his ball and it does it all without any word! This was a great choice for our winner this year. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith was one of the honors. This is another really cool book you will have to check out. The illustrations are fantastic and beautifully detailed. I still need to read Blackout by John Rocco and Me….Jane by Patrick McDonnell. I am a little sad that I Want My Hat Back wasn’t honored, but also I’m not very surprised that it didn’t. These books are all excellent as well.

Finally, we had the Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to literature for children. This one I wasn’t so thrilled about. I had a lot of favorite books for middle readers and none of them were selected. The winner is Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. I haven’t read it but it sounds pretty funny I guess. There was one honor book I could get on board with, Inside Out and Back Again. If you’ve been following this blog you know I love that one! The other honor book was Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin, so I guess I’ll be reading that one soon also. Mostly I was super sad that Okay for Now and A Monster Calls were not honored at all. I’m not surprised about Okay for Now, a lot of people had issues with some of the plot, but the fact that A Monster Calls was not honored at all, by theĀ  Printz or Newbery really shocks me. I can not think of a more distinguished book I have read this whole year. Though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because there were some questions if it was eligible because it was also published in England and the age range was kind of right in between both awards. But still, if you were to ask me what book is the most distinguished contribution to literature for children and I would say A Monster Calls without hesitation. Wonderful, wonderful book.

humorous new picture books

One of the thing I’m loving most about my internship is the new books! New books are held at the reference desk for a few days so the librarians have a chance to see what is coming into the collection and become familiar with all the new books. They also have a chance to make sure they are cataloged the way that best meets patron’s needs as well as discover any new titles they want to start recommending to patrons or maybe use in a story time.

And it always feels like Christmas when a new truck is brought down, full of brand new books for us to look over. Sometimes I can even fit in a quick read of a short picture book or two. Today I thought I’d highlight a few I read recently that I thought were a lot of fun.

I Want My Hat BackI Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Ages 4-8. Candlewick Press, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

This book is a rare find among picture books. It has a broad appeal to almost any age group. I think most adults would find it quite funny, and children as young as 3 or 4, while they might understand it on a different level, will enjoy it just as much.

The story features a large, expressionless bear and other forest creatures. This bear has a bright red hat that he loves very much. But one day it goes missing and so he asks the other animals in the forest if they know where his hat is. The story is told completely in dialogue and much of it happens in the pictures and between the lines of the text. Most of the humor lies in the bear’s deadpan expressions and the subtleties of knowing when someone is lying.

The book ends with a surprising but hilarious twist. This is where I must place some caution, however, because the ending is not for every parent or every child. Someone might get eaten at the end of this book, and I know that isn’t for everyone. But it is also laugh-out-loud funny and is a rare bit of humor that is equally funny to both children and adults.

Is Everyone Ready For Fun?Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Ages 3-6. Beach Lane Books, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

Three cows come to visit Chicken, ready for lots of fun. Unfortunately for Chicken, this fun involves jumping on her couch. And then dancing and wiggling and it just won’t stop!

This is another book told purely through dialogue. The illustrations are silly and lively and full of action and expression. Young children will certainly relate to the three cows, who continue to find clever ways to use the couch when they are told, “No jumping on the couch!”

This book is perfect for 3 and 4 year olds, who will surely find it very funny. It would also make a fun, humorous read for a preschool or toddler story time.

You Will Be My Friend!You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown. Ages 3-6. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September 2011. Copy from my public library.

Lucy the bear wakes up and announces today she will make a new friend. And then she persistently struggles to achieve that goal, with slightly disastrous results. She is loud, exuberant, and big. She is so heartwarming and enthusiastic, readers will feel for her and her troubles.

The illustrations are cartoonish and give the book a very fun feel. The bright colors and rounded shapes match Lucy’s attitude perfectly. The theme of friendship is one children will relate to and the predicaments she finds herself in are sure to bring laughs. The book ends happily and readers will be eager for more books staring Lucy the bear.