Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Book Version of the Oscars

Okay, so we don't get all dressed up and have a red carpet to walk down, but the Monday morning of the ALA Midwinter Conference is the morning that the big announcements are made. It's the morning that we all wait with anticipation to find out who won the Printz, Newbery, Caldecott, and other book related awards. Since this is the teen book blog, I'll start with the Printz award. This award is given to the book that "exemplifies literary excellence." It must be written and published for teens in the US the previous year (2008). This year's winner was quite a surprise to me. I didn't go into the program thinking that a particular book was a sure thing unlike a few years ago when Looking for Alaska by John Green won. I was pretty sure that I knew one or two of the honor titles though.

This year's Printz Award goes to... (drum roll, please) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marvetta. Seeing as I haven't read a new book except for reviewing purposes this year, I haven't read it yet. But here's the synopsis the library has for the novel. Abandoned by her drug-addicted mother at the age of eleven, high school student Taylor Markham struggles with her identity and family history at a boarding school in Australia. So now I'm going to be number 6 on the holds list for this book, unless I scrounge up a copy I got at ALA Annual this past summer...

Now the Printz committee, consisting of 9 librarians across the nation, also select honor books. This year's honor books (which I got one right!)were:

Nation by Terry Pratchett

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

There were plenty other awards announced at this program. For the full list of winners check out the YALSA website--especially the Morris Award which was awarded for the first time this year and is for the best debut book.

Moving away from teen stuff for a moment, I'd also like to mention the Newbery Award. This is the award most people are aware of--best literary book for children 8-14 years of age. For the past few months, the Newbery award has come under fire for choosing books that are liked by librarians and adults, but not children. Part of me thinks that they may have chosen this year's winner to counter-act this debate, but for whatever reason they decided to give the award to a favorite writer of both children and adults alike and I couldn't be happier.

The winner of the John Newbery Award is Neil Gaiman for his novel The Graveyard Book. Congratulations, Mr. Gaiman! We were very excited to hear your name announced as the winner. If you want to hear his story of his own reaction, check out his blog. By the way, if you don't follow his blog, I highly suggest you start! It's great.
Anyway, I suppose those are the major announcements you readers would be most interested in. In the upcoming days, I'll be blogging about the different selection lists that YALSA committee members created at the midwinter conference, so there will be plenty more reading options to come!

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