Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Youth Media Awards!

If you're not a librarian or otherwise involved in the children's book world, then yesterday was just another Monday for you.  (How sad!)  But if you are a librarian, then yesterday was the Oscar's and Grammy's all rolled into one.  Yesterday was the announcement of the American Library Association Youth Media Awards!!

I had the awards up on my computer just to hear what was going on.  I did other things until it came to the big awards.  There are approximately 5,000 youth media awards now.  That's not true, it's really about 20, but that's up quite a bit in the past 12 years or so.  Pretty soon there will be an award for the best piece of interpretive literature representing underserved gopher populations, but whatever.

The biggies for me include the Geisel, the Caldecott, and the Newbery.  I have have a passing interest in the Sibert and the Printz, but let's focus on the first three awards.

Fun fact:  The Sibert Award is in honor of Robert Sibert, the founder of Bound to Stay Bound books in Jacksonville, Illinois.  I went to undergrad at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois and Mr. Sibert was a patron of that school.  Our theatre is actually named after him.  It wasn't until I went to library school that I realized what a big, huge deal he was.  That's why I always feel a little connection to the Sibert Award.

Let's talk winners!!

The Theordore Geisel Award is a book award for young, beginning readers, and it is appropriately named after Dr. Seuss.  Mo Willems has won this award several times himself, which is another reason why I like it.  But this year had some great titles including honors Let's Go for a Drive by Mo Willems, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and Rabbit & Robot:  The Sleepover by Cece Bell.

And the Geisel Winner is:

Up, Tall, and High by Ethan Long.  I personally haven't read any of these books, even the Elephant and Piggy book, but I'll catch up soon.  I do love Ethan Long and feel like this is a great selection based on author alone.  Ethan Long tends to be really funny and entertaining for young readers.  

This is the 75th Anniversary of the Caldecott Medal, which is the award for excellence in illustrations.  The Caldecott is a great way to read a ton of amazing books in a short amount of time.  It's such a confidence builder and not only are the books beautiful, but they are excellent in a literary sense as well.  This year included honors Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue with illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski, One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo with illustrations by David Small, Green written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen, and Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynold with illustrations by Peter Brown.  

And the Caldecott Winner is:

This is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen.  In case you didn't notice, Jon Klassen had quite the day!  He won the Caldecott and received an honor for Extra Yarn.  Nice job!  Again, I am woefully behind on my picture book reading, but that is typical of me.  I usually put all of the Caldecotts on hold and read them sometime in March when they all come available again.  I am very excited for this group of books!

And the biggest of them all, the Newbery.  The Newbery award honors the finest work of literature for children ages birth through 14.  It's a very broad category and it is not without controversy.  But this year, I think they got it right.  Honor books include Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb:  The Race to Build-and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, and Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage.  

Let's take a second to appreciate the fact that I read 1/3 of the honor books!  And that I already had Three Times Lucky on my to-read list.  I'm a little ahead of the Newbery game.

But the big award is still to come.

Can you feel the excitement?  I honestly had chills at this point.  Seriously, I was that excited.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  Not only is this a great book, but I actually read it!  This is a wonderful choice.  Not only is this book very readable, but it is also very well-written.  The story is heart-breaking but triumphant and the characters will all stick with you.  I really think that this is one of the easier Newbery books to give to readers.  It raises a lot of questions about animal cruelty and will get readers thinking.  I'm very proud of this little book.

And now it's another year until the big reveal.  It's a good thing because I have some serious reading to do.  While I'm not a Newbery watcher in the sense that I try to read all of the qualifiers and pick the winner, I do like to read good books throughout the year and see them be rewarded.  I think that the committees did an excellent job this year, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

I hope that your Monday was as exciting and eventful as mine.

Happy Reading!

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