Though I cannot speak on the Newbery, I can comment on the other award winners this season and my take on what did or did not catch various committee eyes. Roast 'em, tenderize 'em, down they go....
First things first.
You've got your proper award going to Flotsam
by Wiesner, and then your Honors to Moses
by Weatherford & Nelson and Gone Wild
by McLimans. Basically the word on the street (street = my office) this award season was that Flotsam
seemed like a done deal. Wiesner, remember, has already won two Honors and two Awards proper in the past. Chalk up number three on the big board. This makes me wonder if he holds the record for most Caldecotts garnered. Anyone know? Personally, I did feel that Flotsam
was his best work. Three Pigs
, for all its charms, was a fine read but not what I'd call exemplary. So while I feel a little sad that someone new didn't get "The Call", at least the winner was entirely deserving.
With all the picture books I reviewed this year, it's funny that I never tossed in my two cents on either of the Honor books mentioned. I could've reviewed Moses
at any time, but I was reluctant to do so. For me, Nelson has done his best work here. Nine times out of ten he's the guy they bring in when a celebrity has written a book and they need jaw-dropping illustrations to sell it to the public. So my hope was that with this kind of subject matter he'd get some much deserved attention. Personally, I felt the text was good but not great. The call and response with God worked with mixed success. So I held off reviewing the book until I got a chance to better organize my thoughts. Now it has an Honor and I'm no closer to figuring out whether the text deserved Nelson's images. As for Gone Wild
, the first place I saw this book was in the gift shop of an arboretum. It was a late 2006 release and missed most of the Best Book lists for that very reason. I'll need to give it another glance when I've a chance.What Should've Won (should've is not a word, but I'm inordinately fond of it, so it stays)
I really felt that McClintock's Adele and Simon
was her best chance at grabbing the committee's eye this year. I'm a fan of her work, a sentiment not universally shared I see. Also, Rex's Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich
was SADLY lacking here. I'd heard some people say that the Caldecott would never go to something that edgy and ... well, fun, but I thought it had a fighting chance. And of course there was that crazy fantasy I had where When You Were Small
got some much-deserved notice, but that was my private dark horse hope.
Coretta Scott King Author AwardWhat Won:
The very YA Copper Sun
by Draper won proper with Nikki Grimes' The Road to Paris
sweeping the Honor. Not many Honors this year, I see. But then, we knew that didn't we? I read Copper Sun
and thought it entirely deserving of the award. Still, I could switch it with Road to Paris
and not be the least bit upset. Both were great reading. Maybe since I'm a children's librarian I would have liked Grimes to get the number one spot, but that's just me.What Should've Won:
These. No debate. Best choices, bar none.
Corretta Scott King Illustrator AwardWhat Won:Moses
, and rightfully so. Honors went to Jazz
by Walter Dean Myers and Poetry for Young People
by Benny Andrews. I couldn't argue with the Moses
win. And I was pleased to see Jazz
, as I considered that a particularly fabulous looking tasty treat. But where on earth did this Poetry
book come from? Have you seen it? I certainly haven't. Is it YA? The press was Sterling, a company that I admittedly don't see all that much of. Still, I suspect that Mr. Andrews is very very pleased these days.What Should've Won:
Again, I brook no contest. These were great picks. I must defer to their judgment Poetry
The Michael L. Printz AwardWhat Won:
THE BEST DAMN BOOK THAT COULD'VE WON, THAT'S WHO!!!! Did anyone happen to catch the live webcast of the award ceremony? Cause when they announced American Born Chinese
you can probably see me, front and center, leaping into the air in an expression of complete and utter delight. Such a remarkable and wonderful choice. I was thrilled to my core to hear it. The honors sported a few surprises as well. Sure, we all knew Octavian Nothing
would get a mention. Ditto The Book Thief
. I probably wouldn't have predicted An Abundance of Katherines
off the top of my head, but I was happy with the win. You've all seen it already, I'm sure, but faithful self-documentarian John Green can be seen
live and on the phone accepting the call. I'm a little jealous of the Printz committee as a result. Not only do they get to call at night, but they get to say, "You fucking won", which (let's face it) is exactly what I would love to tell people when they get great big awards. John's surprise caught me off-guard, though. I mean, he won the Printz Award already. Was it such a shock to get an Honor next? Guess so. Surrender
by Sonya Hartnett is unknown to me, and I didn't remember seeing it mentioned by any of the YA bloggers in the past. A little help, people?What Should've Won:
Debates on this topic will fly fast and furious. Personally, I had hoped that King of Attolia
by Megan Whalen Turner and A True and Faithful Narrative
by Katherine Sturtevant deserved some notice. I wonder if they were seriously considered.
The Mildred L. Batchelder AwardWhat Won:The Pull of the Ocean
which everyone says is fabulous. I was a little surprised to see The Last Dragon
mentioned (though it did appear on the Horn Book Fanfare list
this year), but had heard of The Killer's Tears
before. But since I wasn't allowed to read any of these, I haven't any opinion on them.What Should've Won:
It seems to me that The Book of Everything done got shafted, to put it plain. That's one book I devoured before joining Newbery, and I loved it. The problem with the book is that it's difficult to figure out whether or not to put it on YA or children's booklists, since the subject matter is advanced and the characters young. This would not have been a problem for the Batchelder Award since they don't split their categories into old and young, and yet it does not appear. A large hole indeed.
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader AwardWhat Won:Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways
, apparently. I was seated next to someone who knew the author personally and was thrilled at the announcement. I've not seen any of this series yet myself, so I'm excited to give it a glance when I get back to work (Thursday). Then there was Move Over, Rover
(again, I feel out of touch), Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride
(well done there), and the delightful little Not a Box
. I was just pleased as punch to see it included. I'd thought it might make a good Geisel book when I first read it, but the thought slipped my brain months ago.What Should've Won:
Well, I'm fond of Not a Box
and wouldn't have minded if it got the Award proper, but that's okay. And Aggie and Ben
wouldn't have been out of place here. Ah well.
The Robert F. Siebert Informational Book AwardWhat Won:
Another loud hoot came from the audience when I saw Team Moon
had won won WON WON! I'm so incredibly happy to hear that. Such a great, engaging, interesting book. Fun to read and the most deserving win of the Siebert I've seen in years. Just a great pick all around. Nice to see that Montgomery hit it out of the park again with Quest for the Tree Kangaroo
. Keep this up and they'll soon start renaming it the Montgomery Award. I was pleased too to see Freedom Riders
(not to be confused with Freedom Walkers
). No doubt that the Siebert was one of the most satisfying categories to hear about. When I saw that To Dance
had won, I was truly thrilled. A graphic novel Honor. Has it ever been done before? This was a day of GN firsts, both completely and utterly deserving.What Should've Won:
Nuthin'. Well, maybe 5,000 Miles to Freedom
by the Fradins wouldn't have been a bad choice. That's just such a fun book. I was hoping it might get a mention somewhere.
Andrew Carnegie MedalWhat Won:
Also known as the Weston Woods Award. Not that Knuffle Bunny
didn't deserve to win, but just tally exactly how many times anyone else has won that particular medal.What Should've Won:
Video? Not my bag, baby. Perhaps we could turn this into a Book Trailer Award in the future?
Schneider Family Book AwardsWhat Won:
I was obviously pleased as punch to see Rules
by Cynthia Lord get a mention. As for the other two books (the picture and the teen) I was curious. What's the consensus on The Deaf Musicians
? I believe it was well-reviewed by and large, but I'd be interested in thoughts on the matter. Small Steps
earned its mention, if only because the presenter did a double take at the word "Armpit" when she read the book summary aloud. It's hard to beat a character named Armpit, I tell ya.What Should've Won:
A pity they don't do honors. I wouldn't have minded mentions of Hurt Go Happy
by Ginny Rorby or Singing Hands
by Delia Ray.
Laura Ingalls Wilder MedalWhat Won:
James Marshall. Roger Sutton's thoughts
on the matter are far crisper than my own.What Should've Won:
James Marshall. Hands down great choice.
Margaret A. Edwards Award:What Won:
Lois Lowry for The Giver. I think I speak for everyone as a whole when I say, "She didn't win it for that book yet?" That'd be a fun award committee to be on, don't you think? And check out their past winners
. If you're building a school library, this would be the list I'd use to fill your shelves.
Everything else I haven't an opinion on. David Macaulay won a lecture thingy? Cool beans. Adult books that won Alex Awards? Hon, I haven't read an adult book in months. It's all good.
By the way, I would like to thank you all for continuing to visit this blog in my absence. My stats hardly fell a jot while I was in Seattle, and Technorati
informs me that 171 people now link here. I deeply appreciate it.