And the Winner Is…

Josie Leavitt - January 19, 2010

Back in October I asked folks to predict the winners of yesterday’s ALA Youth Awards. Admittedly, I only asked about the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, and I can happily say I went two for three, nailing the Caldecott and Newbery winners; I was off the mark on the Printz.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead was the odds-on favorite to win, and Newbery fans were not disappointed. The honors were an eclectic bunch: history, historical fiction and a Chinese folktale, all with a broad range of reader appeal. I was thrilled for Grace Lin (click here to read about the event we had with her in November) for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a small gem of a book.

Interestingly, not one person from our Mock Awards picked the Printz winner, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, which I really enjoyed. I must say, while I’m happy with the honors and the winner, I’m a little stunned that Laurie Halse Anderson’s stunning novel Wintergirls didn’t even get an honor. That book just blew me away and will continue to be one of my all-time favorites. As with the Newbery, I think the Printz list is broad and appealing and offers a lot to most teen readers.

The Caldecott was thrilling for me. At BEA in May, I had the distinct pleasure of being seated next to Jerry Pinkney at a dinner. I wrote about it, and predicted his book as the winner way back in June. He was a delightful dinner companion, and then at dessert when Little, Brown brought out F&Gs of The Lion & the Mouse, I was awed. Since the book came out, I have been handselling it happily to the masses. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon was also a favorite with a great message that speaks to all ages with Marla Frazee’s fantastic art. Red Sings from Rooftops illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman, was a Flying Pig favorite this fall.

One last thing I must comment is how many Vermont authors and illustrators won awards, and how proud was I? First Bonnie Christensen wins the Schneider Family Award for picture books for her stunning book Django: World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist. Then Julia Alvarez wins the Pura Belpré Author Award for Return to Sender. And if that weren’t enough awards for the smallest state in the union, well, we got to add one more winner: Tanya Lee Stone (who lives one town north of the store, how cool is that?) won the Sibert Award for her Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream.

While my ALA webcast never did work, lots of folks were tweeting, so I felt like I was there live. The excitement surrounding the awards is always fantastic fun. This year I had more relationship with potential winners than ever before, so it was very exciting. Colleagues won and lost, and I spent the entire awards on the edge of my couch, whooping it up in my living room, while quietly eyeing my growing stack of galleys for 2010, wondering which one of these I would be rooting for next year.

2 thoughts on “And the Winner Is…

  1. Jeanette Larson

    Here in Texas, particularly Austin, we are equally proud of all of the local winners. Chris Barton, Jacqueline Kelly, Liz Scanlon, and others plus those with Texas ties like Libba Bray and Brian Floca. What a year!

  2. Ellen Mager

    I too was at the dinner where Jerry showed me the F & G and I was AMAZED by Lion & the Mouse and predicted it the winner as well. I do think that ALL THE WORLD was my favorte Marla Feazee books The words are wonderful and her paintings were picture perfect. I did really enjoy When You Reach Me and was pleased with the award. I’d LOVE to add being THRILLED that DEBORAH HEILIGMAN continues to get the richly deserved praise and awards for CHARLES AND EMMA. A Printz Honor and being the first ever recipient of the new YALSA Award for Young Adult NonFiction is just over the top. She’s rightfully over the moon and took the train to Boston last night for a dinner and reception (also for the William Morris Award).


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