And The Winners Are…

Josie Leavitt - January 29, 2013

Yesterday was the very exciting awards announcements for the ALA Youth Media Awards. It was also Special Friend’s Day at my nephew’s school. I stayed for the morning classes, and then left at recess, or as his class calls it: Snow Banana. I made it back to the store just in time to set up the livestream from the ALA.
I love the ALA for livestreaming the awards on the Internet. It makes my life so much easier to be able to have three windows up on the computer. One for the stream, one for Twitter (in case I missed something) and one for Ingram to place and hold orders for honorees and winners that I didn’t have. I should have set myself up in the back office, but I didn’t. I was up front basically doing my job poorly as I hesitated to answer the phone or get too involved with customer service. Thankfully, we weren’t busy and several customers wanted award updates.
My initial reaction to the awards is mixed. I have to admit that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe somehow escaped my notice. Thankfully, Elizabeth had the foresight to order some for the store, sensing it might be a winner. The book garnered whoops and hollers with every award it won and that’s always fun to hear.
I was struck by a few things during the awards ceremony. I was really surprised that The Fault in our Stars won only for audio. I loved that John Green almost immediately tweeted after not getting a Printz award how thrilled he was Benjamin Alire Saenz had gotten an honor. I thought that was extremely classy and highlights the welcoming nature of children’s literature. I was surprised by the win for In Darkness. This book slipped through my radar and now of course it’s not available. But that’s the beauty of back-ordering things. It will come in, hopefully soon, and I can finally read it.
The other surprise was that there were no honors for the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award. The gasp from the audience clearly echoed my response. It always feels like an utter condemnation of the books that came out in the past year that the committee couldn’t even find one they liked enough to honor. This stood in stark contrast to the five Caldecott honorees. I loved all the honorees for the Caldecott and was not surprised by the win for This is Not My Hat, much. While I loved this book, I found it more a book that adults and older kids would love.
The Newbery award was the only one I called right in my earlier blog about the guessing the winners. I’m thrilled for Katherine Applegate and her win. I loved the book and have shared many laughs with her at Book Expo and the NEIBA Fall Conference.  I also picked Splendors and Glooms to get something and it did.
So, all in all an interesting award’s season. And as a Vermonter and lifelong fan of Katherine Paterson, her win of the Laura Ingalls Wilder for “books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children” seems oh so fitting.
So, what did you think about awards? Were you happy, sad or surprised by the winners, and the books that garnered nothing?

4 thoughts on “And The Winners Are…

  1. Tim tocher

    I was surprised that John Green was passed over. I’m looking forward to reading the winners I hadn’t heard about – cracking open IN DARKNESS tonight.
    Tim Tocher – author of ODD BALL

  2. Valerie Hobbs

    I, too, picked Ivan for the Newbery. What a lovely, heartwarming book. I was surprised that Wonder didn’t win something. Which makes me “wonder” if so much hype (as was also true for The Fault In Our Stars) doesn’t work against the book’s win. What do you think?

  3. Dianna Winget

    I’m thrilled at Ivan’s win! It was my all-time favorite MG of the year. As a writer of contemporary MG, it’s also encouraging to know that not every book out there has to have a paranormal angle to be recognized. Sometimes I feel like I’m swimming against the tide of ghosts, werewolves and special powers.


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