2012 Youth Media Awards Madness

I had the fortune to actually attend the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards (where they announce such awesome book awards as the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz) in Dallas, TX, this Monday. This event is like the Super Bowl for writers, publishers, and librarians, and it was so wonderful to be in a huge room full of people totally invested in recognizing the power of stories to influence lives. Every time a book was announced, whether it be a winner or an honor book, people cheered, and clapped, and whistled, and called out stuff like “Yeah!”, and I felt like I was at a sporting event or a concert, but for BOOKS. It may make be a big book nerd, but it was super fun. The full list of awards announced are here at the ALA web site but below I want to highlight the Michael L. Printz award for best teen fiction and the William C. Morris award for best teen debut fiction.

This has never happened before, as far as I know, but the same amazing book won both of these big awards, and it’s one I recently highlighted on my Top Books for 2011. Here’s what I recently wrote about it: Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley, is a strange one, but its strangeness is why I love it so. This literary novel tells intertwining stories of people searching for meaning and redemption in a messed up world. Cullen Witter lives in a tiny Arkansas town that is experiencing a revival after a birdwatcher claims to have seen a woodpecker long thought to be extinct. But while the townspeople are obsessed with searching for this mythical bird, Cullen is desperately searching for his missing younger brother, who disappeared at the same time. Meanwhile, Benton Sage, a missionary traveling in Africa, becomes disillusioned with his calling and sets up a chain reaction of events that dovetails perfectly with Cullen’s story. This excellent debut novel is both funny and meaningful. I urge anyone looking for something different to give it a try.

Four other books were named as Printz honors:

Why We Broke Up, written by Daniel Handler
The Returning, written by Christine Hinwood
Jasper Jones, written by Craig Silvey
The Scorpio Races, written by Maggie Stiefvater

Also, four other books were Morris honors:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, written by Rae Carson
Paper Covers Rock, written by Jenny Hubbard
Under the Mesquite, written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
Between Shades of Gray, written by Ruta Sepetys

All of these books are available at our library, so read some award winners today!

Some more excellent places to look for good, new reads:

ALA’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults
ALA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten List
ALA”s Alex Awards (best adult fiction for teen readers)


Blue Spruce Award 2012 Nominees

Check out these nominees for the 2012 Blue Spruce awards, one of the only state awards chosen by teens. All you have to do to vote for the winner is read at least three of these books (you can always read more!), then find me at the library and tell me you want to vote. I will give you a ballot you can fill out right there. You have until January 13, 2012, so there’s still plenty of time (and I bet you’ve read a lot of these titles already).

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Click here to read summaries for these books

Morris Award Winner 2011

The William C. Morris award is for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature. It’s a new award (started in 2009), and the 2011 winner and honor books were just announced here.

This year’s winner is The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston. Here’s a brief summary of the book, courtesy of ALA: “Loa, a strong, intelligent, hardworking sixteen-year-old girl experiences a year of loss. While trying to take care of her family and make it through school, she ponders the laws of physics as she tries to understand what can never make sense.” We have this in our new YA books section, call number Y Woolston.

The list of finalists this year are:
Hush, by Eishes Chayil. Y Chayil
Guardian of the Dead, by Karen Healey. Y Healey
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, by Lish McBride. Y McBride
Crossing the Tracks, by Barbara Stuber.

Printz Award Winner 2011

The Michael L. Printz award is for excellence in young adult literature (it’s the Newbery for teen books), and the 2011 winner and honor books were just announced here.

This year’s winner is Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi.  Here’s a brief summary of the book, courtesy of ALA: “In Ship Breaker, near a drowned New Orleans ravaged by hurricanes and global warming, Nailer and his young crew eke out a meager existence by scavenging materials on the ship-littered coast.” We have this in our YA books section, call number Y Bacigalupi.

Honor books this year are:
Stolen, by Lucy Christopher. Y Christopher
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King. Y King
Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick. Y Sedgwick
Nothing, by Janne Teller. Y Teller

Teens’ Top Ten Books Announced

After more than 8,000 teens voted in this years Top Ten award, the American Library Association has announced the ten winning books! These books received the most votes from teens between August 23 and September 17. We have all of these books in our young adult collection at EPL!

The Teens’ Top Ten is:

  1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  2. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
  3. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  4. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
  6. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  7. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  8. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  9. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  10. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

2010 Blue Spruce Award Winner

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is this year’s Blue Spruce Award winner.

For those of you living under a rock, The Hunger Games is one of those books that just took off in popularity and acclaim, and I highly recommend you read it if you haven’t already. It’s an excellent read, fast-paced, full of nonstop action and big emotion,and it’s a great mix of wilderness survival story, science fiction dystopia, and love story. The sequel, Catching Fire, is just as good.

Here’s a brief plot summary from our online catalog: In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.

By the way, the 2011 nominees for the Blue Spruce award are now available here. This is one of the only state awards that is chosen only by teens (yep, sadly, I don’t get to vote, but YOU do), and all you have to do is read at least three of these books. Then, find me at the library and tell me you want to vote, and I will give you a ballot you can fill out right then. It’s super easy! You have until January 2011 to vote, so check out the nominees and see if you’re interested in choosing next year’s winner.

Ask me more in the comments if you want, or e-mail, or find me at the library in person.

Printz Award Winners 2010

The Michael L. Printz award is for excellence in young adult literature (it’s the Newbery for teen books), and the 2010 winner and honor books were just announced here.

This year’s winner is Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Click here for the book’s web site, and here’s a brief summary of the book, courtesy of Ingram’s: “All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school–and life in general–with a minimum of effort. But that’s before he’s given the news that he’s dying. Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel/possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure–if he’s willing to go in search of it.”We have this in our new YA books section, call number Y Bray.

Honor books this year are:
Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman
The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey. Y Yancey (new YA books section).
Punkzilla, by Adam Rapp
Tales of the Madman Underground, by John Barnes. Y Barnes (new YA books section).

My review of The Monstrumologist will show up on this site soon — I loved this super creepy Victorian horror novel and it’s one of my favorites for the year. I haven’t read the other award winners/honor books yet, but if you have and would like to post your opinion in the comments, feel free!