All posts in: book awards

02 Oct 2012

BG-HB Awards

At the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards Ceremony, esteemed authors and illustrators give speeches to a full-house of children’s lit aficionados, scholars, publishers, and general supporters. We all marvel over their cleverness and their ability to write delicious teen and children’s books.

The highlights:

The creators of Chuck Close: Face Book knew nothing of children’s literature, but were adorable about it.

Julie Fogliano was seeing a dream come true with And Then It’s Spring; her speech was touching and inspiring.

Mal Peet insulted all Americans but that’s okay because he is a genius and I cannot stop loving Life: An Exploded Diagram.

And Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen were so very young and charming that everybody in the audience died. I am dead right now, actually.

The best part? I showed up alone and there, waiting for me were all the folks that I know and like – former classmates, professors, new coworkers, and some of my dearest friends. My people. Love it.

29 Sep 2012

Printz 2013 contenders

Awards season is upon us… I can smell it in the air. Just a few weeks away from the National Book Award noms, and then on into January and yeahhhh…

And what’s more fun than a little awards speculation? Following Someday My Printz Will Come, and they’ve put together a lovely “short-list” of books that earned lots of starred reviews. Aka, a nice reading list to look over before the awards are announced in January.

These ones, I have read…


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Almost everything John Green touches turns to Printz gold (or silver). This one is still on the bestseller list, 9 months later. Adults who don’t read YA have heard of it! Can Green’s latest (greatest?) further cement his Printz darling status? (Please ignore my snark, I wrote a long paper on this topic a few years ago, so I can’t help it).  My (not-so-snarky) review here.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

Um, I loved this book, and I love when non-fiction gets awards. My review here.

Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one from Woodson-loving friends and reviewers alike. I, on the other hand, am a Woodson-lover who can’t get enough books about drug addicts, so I’m somewhat biased. My review here.

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

The Printz is not kind to my favorite genre of books – the pink-cover brigade. Second Chance Summer made me weep, but I’m not sure even well-drawn sentimentality traditionally wins awards points.  My review here.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfeld

Not sure this one was… enough for a Printz. That doesn’t make sense, but then again, I’m not on the Printz awards committee so I am allowed a certain level of nonspecific language.  I haven’t read a TON of debuts this year, so maybe I am talking out of my ass, but this one has William C. Morris Award written all over it.   My review here.

My Book of Life By Angel by Martine Leavitt

This book I read for a professional review – I read it once and said, “Oh, book in verse, sad teen prostitutes, eh.” Then I read it again and it knocked me off my feet. It’s gritty, written in verse so spare there are barely any words on the page, and full of literary allusions – an impressive combination.


 These books have been added to my to-read list

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis

In this German-translated novel, protagonist Anna is in love with a troubled bad boy who tells pseudo-fairytales and may be a serial killer. Maybe I’ve been exposed to too much Christian Grey/Edward Cullen, but somehow I am not only tolerant of this plotline, I am intrigued.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Everyone from my close friends to review mags to blogs to awards committees to my little sister insist this is a must read. I’ve read about a hundred pages, but it’s a lot of historical for me. I should try to muscle through, because I think all this critical acclaim can’t be ignored.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

I am not sure this one sounds like a true awards contender, but it sounds like a fun urban romp, a la Nick and Norah, worth checking out.

The Disenchantments by Nina Lacour

I really liked Lacour’s Hold Still, so I’ve been wanting to check out her sophomore effort for quite some time…

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

One of my nearest and dearest Boston friends (who is moving to Seattle in like, three days!! WAAAH!) gushed about this book, so it must be something special. However, I am not sure how I feel about “both my parents have died, but this book isn’t really about my parents being dead” books – it might beyond my capacity to understand how dead parents can coexist with any other sort of plot-point.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Also recommended by my Why-Are-You-Leaving-Me-For-Seattle friend, and also the author of another book I loved last year – Last Night I Sang to the Monster. And if there was an award for best book cover of the year? This one would have to be up there.


20 Sep 2012

2012 Cybils Awards

My desperate, nonsensical prayers that SOMEBODY JUST TELL ME WHAT TO READ ALREADY PLEASE… have been granted.

I am serving on Round #1 of the Middle Grade and YA Nonfiction committee for this year’s Cybils Awards! I am excited because nonfiction is my (not so) secret love. I am also excited because this is my first awards committee. Except for the awards committee of one that I conduct every December when for some reason deciding what the best books I’ve read all year becomes insanely important. I do not count this because this is not an awards committee, but the acts of a crazy person. I am also excited because I suspect that by January, I will be a genius, having read so much nonfiction and all. I will likely be able to beat you at Trivial Pursuit for the next 5 years.

Cheers to an exciting few months of reading!

12 Jun 2012

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards 2012

I feel like the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards don’t get much play… and maybe I’m biased because A) I’ve been able to attend the awards ceremony for the past two years and B) I spent a semester hanging out in the Horn Book offices this past semester as an intern, but I LIKE the BGHB Awards. There are three categories – Picturebook, Fiction, and Nonfiction – with runners up for each. The picturebook award goes to author AND illustrator, which is cool. I like that the committee usually digs up some unconventional titles – a variety from the expected – and they announce in June rather than during “awards season.” All in all, I was excited to see these awards and pleased with the selection – all are moving directly to my to-read list.

Picturebook Award

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illus. Jon Klassen

Picturebook Honors

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illus. Erin E. Stead

And the Soldiers Sang by J. Patrick Lewis, illus. Gary Kelley

Fiction Award

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illus R. Gregory Christie

Fiction Honors

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Nonfiction Award

Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close

Nonfiction Honors

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky, illus. Yuyi Morales

The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O’Connell & Donna M. Jackson


07 Mar 2012

Alex Awards, 2012

The Alex Awards are a list of books, written and published for adults, that the awards committee deems to have high teen appeal.

I should pay more attention to this list than I do because 90% of the adult books I have read probably fall into this category. And the more I look at this list, the more I want to add them all immediately to my hold list and devour them.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

This book is about a poor family in Mississippi before Hurricane Katrina, a pregnant teenager, and perhaps some dead puppies.


But it did win the National Book Award, so props! I still want to read it. Dark & twisty Jessica gets sick of happy endings sometimes.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

A few weeks ago, I was working on a library class project called Talk to Teens. Part of the process was presenting different teens with the same stack of 10 books to peruse and then take down their opinions and comments. Out of the 10 books I selected – which included all sorts of books, YA, adult, graphic novels, etc – Ready Player One was hands-down the most popular title!

I, however, am not so convinced. The plot summary makes it sound like this premise of the book is The Future, where Life is Actually Like Living in a Video Game.

Sounds cool, but actually I have nightmares/dreams all the time that I am living in a video game, so I am officially scared of this book.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Love the cover.

Not so sure I love circus books.

However, I put this on hold, impulsively, in December. I am like, 144 on a list for 44, so we’ll see how that goes…

The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston

Oh, one I actually read! This book is heavy and shiny and lovely. I have a bit of a thing for books/movies about girls at college pre-1960s, so I enjoyed flipping through the pages as Frankie tried to find her way as a student and a career-girl and an individual. I read it in an afternoon – this Scrapbook As Book thing has really taken off! I have spotted a few other books like these on the publishing horizon…


In Zanesville by JoAnn Beard

From the Amazon book description: “She is used to flying under the radar-a sidekick, a third wheel, a marching band dropout, a disastrous babysitter, the kind of girl whose Eureka moment is the discovery that “fudge” can’t be said with an English accent.”

That is exactly the kind of character I would like to read about. Also, that kind of describes 14-year-old me. Or at least 12-year-old me.


The New Kids by Brooke Hauser

This book is nonfiction, about immigrant teenagers at International High School in Brooklyn, New York. Hauser follows five teenagers who have just arrived from different countries as they navigate high school and American culture at large. This book reminds me of some of the journalistic “Let’s Follow Teens Around In Their Natural Habitat” nonfiction that I enjoyed so much as a teen. I’m such a voyeur. I think I would like this book, too.


The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

David Levithan is one of my favorite authors. Last year, my best friend from high school snuck her way into my Amazon wishlist and bought me Mad Men Season 1 and this book. And even though, yeah, it was my wishlist in the first place, I was SUPER GEEKED!

However, I haven’t yet finished this book!!!! I am terrible. But at least I own it. I should get some street cred. I do really like following The Lover’s Dictionary on Twitter – the little dictionary-entry style quotes are poignant even without the context of the rest of the novel.


Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin

This book didn’t necessarily catch my eye – the plot is about a girl who gets her school involved in some kind of scandal. I saw the narrator described as “half Holden Caulfield, half Lee Fiora, Prep’s ironic heroine.” I am not sure how I feel about that. To me, that combination is Kind of Crazy/Whiny/Hormonal + Quiet/Smart/Low Self-Esteem. They are both pretty self destructive. I feel like this would make for a strange read.


Robopocalypse by Daniel W. Wilson

I think I am also afraid of reading this book. Artificial intelligence takes over everyday technology? I think I watched too much Twilight Zone as a child – I remember this episode, where a guy’s car tries to run him over, an electric razor chases him around… gives me the heebie-jeebies.


The Talk Funny Girl by Roland Merullo

A girl is raised by a family in such isolation that they have their own dialect (like).

A girl ventures outside of her family home and gradually discovers what is out there, waiting for her (like).

Weird story about rural New England (like).

Random abductions of teen girls going on in the background (dislike).

Three likes and a dislike… that’s a pretty good score.



19 Feb 2012

William C. Morris Award, 2012

This is a new book award to pique my interest. In the past, actually, I’ve been skeptical of debut authors. I think I just have a bad case of JudgeABookByItsCover-itis, actually – whenever I buy a book by a new author, I usually make my purchase because I am blinded by the cover art and then get let down with the content. And being that I’m the stingiest human in existence, I remember every single instance that I feel my money has been wasted, and it hurts my soul.

However, after reading a handful of Morris Award finalists for a class last year, I was pleasantly surprised. I think if you’re going to read a debut author, might as well start with the cream of the crop? Plus, as a future-librarian/children’s-lit-professional, it’s important to stay on top of what’s new – so I’m adding this award to the list of Awards To Get Geeky About.

I know, like I need another one.


Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

I think I have talked long enough about this book, which in addition to taking the William C. Morris also won the Printz award, and snagged a top spot on the highly competitive Books Jessica Read in 2011 Championship.


Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

This book went under the radar in the blogosphere, but has received really positive reviews in almost every review journal. It reminds me a lot of Inside Out and Back Again, because A) they both take place within families of non-American cultures living in America B) they are both written in verse C) they basically have the same cover. Anyway, the journal reviews are incredibly glowing – “beautiful debut,” “authentic,” “emotional,” etc.

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

This is a book about an all-boys boarding school, the tragic accidental death of a student who was doing some dumb teenager crap, and the guilt/redemption of the friends who watched it happen.

A Separate Peace? Finny? Have you been resurrected?

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I will say that although my indoctrination to the science fiction and fantasy genres has softened me to the idea of reading books about Things That Just Don’t Exist, I still feel awful uncomfortable with selecting an epic fantasy quest to read. Even if they are purportedly quite good, which this one is.

My not-so-fantasy-hating-former-roommate did see it necessary to send me an email specifically to tell me about this title, though, even though she knows how I feel about SFF. For me, this is probably the equivalent of a blurb by Tamora Pierce or Megan Whalen Turner.

Which this book also has, by the way.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This is the only book (other than WTCB) that I had picked up before the beginning of awards season. However, it was also one of Those Books That Got Away. I tried listening to it on audio, recently, and couldn’t pay attention. Le sigh. Some audiobooks are just like that, no?


01 Feb 2012

Newbery Awards, 2012


Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

This one I was happy about because Mr. Gantos is something of a local figure around my parts. Hometown hero, etc. Plus, Gantos is just a flat-out interesting writer. He manages to keep writing books about young boys (most of them named Jack) and somehow make every book he writes seem daring in some way. I haven’t had a chance to read Dead End in Norvelt, yet, but I did snag an ARC from my mother’s stash last August, so it is kicking around my apartment somewhere…


Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Velchin

The wildcard. I know nothing about this book, but it only has three reviews on Amazon. Three? How is that possible??

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

The National Book Award winner returns. I feel like the NBA’s are kind of like a Newbery pregame, and often turns up titles (like these) that I otherwise would have missed. Anyway, I still have my roommate’s library copy of this (oops) I am thinking I might sit down on Saturday and muscle through this one before I rack up any more of her fines…

24 Jan 2012

Michael L. Printz Awards, 2012

The ALA Youth Media Awards are like the Oscars to a highly specific set of highly nerdy folks like myself. Actually, I get kind of nerdy about the Oscar noms, too: both awards announcements send me immediately to my library to frantically place holds.

My favorite event? The Michael L. Printz Awards, given to young adult books that exemplify excellence.

And I was Quite pleased withthis year’s showing!


Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Very tickled about this one. It was my 3rd favorite book of the year, you see, and my favorite YA, hands down. Additionally, Mr. Whaley himself recently contributed some otherwise unpublished poetry to the online literary journal I intern with. Double excitement!


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman

Again, I think I’ve name-dropped this book a few times here on the old blog. Last week, I spotted it on display at my library-of-employment and grabbed it (and probably narrowly avoided back injury – it’s quite the heavy tome). Later that same day, I listened to one of my professor’s perform a short dramatic reading of one of the later passages, a dramatic monologue by the protagonist, Min, in which she berates herself in highly specific, Very-Daniel-Handler-esque language for what seemed like 3 or 4 pages. I was entranced, and the book was already in my bag.

The Returning by Christine Hinwood

This one might be a little too fantasy-ish for my usual tastes, but on a strong review over at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy, I did actually get through about 100 pages before Christmas. Kind of forgot I was reading it, but that is certainly my fault and not the fault of the book.

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

Alright. There’s always one book I haven’t heard of. Preliminary research shows that Mr. Silvey is a 30-ish-yr old Aussie with another novel under his belt, and that Jasper Jones has sold movie rights.Sounds promising…

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I have talked about this book too much already… but yes, I liked it!

23 Oct 2011

2011 National Book Awards

I really look forward to the National Book Award nominations. I think it’s the bit of suspense – the short list is announced in October and then the winners for each category given in November. Maybe in another life (next year?) I will be able to READ all of the nominees in that short period of time and then be extra-prepared for the exciting announcement.

Anyway, I have read zip, zero, ZILCH of these books.

I have heard only good things about Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now… but I also heard only good things about The Wednesday Wars and I was like “eh,” so maybe he’s just not my style.

I have heard ALL about Chime – great review after great review – and I heard Franny Billingsley speak briefly as she accepted her Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor a few weeks ago, and I have a copy sitting on my bookshelf. But have I read it yet? No.

Flesh & Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin looks exactly like a book I would love to read – historical with big, shiny photos: like one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Partridge and all her lovely books. Plus, after considering Phillip Hoose’s work at length, I get a little excited to see juvenile nonfiction back up to bat for the NBA.

I have heard nothing about My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson or Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, but they both seem to be about leaving home and being a cultural outsider. And Inside Out & Back Again? What a cover.

And SPEAKING of what-a-cover… Shine. I’m sure most of you have heard about the nonsense regarding this title. In case you haven’t, Libba Bray puts it… um… quite frankly/awesomely here. For those of you who are not link-clickers or who want to avoid profanity, what happened is this: there was a miscommunication between the NBA judges and everyone else – the everyone else heard “Shine” when the judges said “Chime.” But somehow, this mistake didn’t get caught until AFTER the official announcements, and then a bunch of craziness happened and no, Shine is NOT on the official nominees list.

But I decided to keep it in this post because A) What the heck, National Book Award? Your PR folks are obviously sub-par and B) When the nominees were announced, this was the book I was most happy to see and most excited to read. So, there it is!