Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It's Award Season!

Forget the SAG awards, the Oscars, and the People's Choice Awards.  The anticipation is really rising for Monday, January 18th, when the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements will take place.  The Newbery, the Caldecott, the Coretta Scott King-- just a few of the 17 awards given by the ALA to recognize the best in media for children and young adults.  If you feel like getting up early, 7:45 am EST-- that's 4:45 here-- you can watch the live webcast.  It's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  Who wants to sleep in on a three-day weekend?  I wish I could pretend to be all authoritative about who I think will be the winner this year, but I have to admit to not reading a lot of new books this last year-- mostly older Newberys and a lot of PDFs about the definitions of information.  If I had to put in a guess, it would be for Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman.  It's a non-fiction book, a genre that hasn't taken the Newbery in a while, but it's also a problematic book, which reflects some of the latest Newbery choices, like Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, last year's winner.  Like The Graveyard Book, the age boundaries for this book aren't really clear; the Newbery honors books for children up to age 14, but most libraries I have visited shelve this book in YA... of course, many libraries define YA as 12 and up.  The only thing I feel really pushes this book into the older student's category at all is the mention of sex and sexuality, important to Darwin in his studies of inherited traits... and important regarding his wife, Emma, with whom he had ten children.  Of course, given some of the difficulties with recent picks, the committee may choose something more traditional.  I have heard things about When You Reach Me over and over, and the Amazon review likens it to From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Harriet the Spy, two of my favorite books ever.  The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is another I have seen prominently displayed in my recent library forays.  
My Newbery frustration?  On Friday I read Olive's Ocean, by Kevin Henkes, which was an Honor winner for 2004.  

I could not figure out why this book hadn't won the Newbery-- I couldn't even remember the winner for 2004.  I looked it up: The Tale of Despereaux (which I thought was a 2005 winner).  Can you imagine the difficulty?  Despereaux is far and away one of the best books I've read in the last decade, though I feel for sure if Olive's Ocean had been published any other year, it would have been a winner for sure.  Newbery Winner or Honor aside, Olive's Ocean is an amazing book that deserves a read.


sarah marie p said...

Olive's Ocean looks really good!

In other news, I miss you! And Izzy! I can't wait to see you guys soon. They should make a high-speed rail between WeHo and Fresno like NOW! Or maybe an underground magical tunnel that works between our homes in just 15 minutes. Because I said so!

sarah marie p said...

I demand some pictures of Izzy. Please & thank you. :)