Sunday, January 17, 2010

Prediction Time!

ALA awards tomorrow. You can watch them here or follow them on Twitter. I will be doing neither since, like every year, I have to work on MLK Day. However, that will not stop me from embarrassing myself and once again incorrectly predicting some of the winners.

I don't read enough new picture books to even bother pretending I know what I'm talking about, so if you want opinions on the Caldecott, I'd recommend getting in touch with Jacqui. She writes the things and reads lots of 'em.

Newbery Award

Tricky year for the judges. First, quite a few past winners (and I'm including honor books in that term) published books in 2009. There was Scat by Carl Hiaasen, A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck, The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo, Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko, and Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson. I don't think any of these books has the goods their Newbery books did, but that won't stop the Newbery Committee from awarding one of them.

The Favorites:

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead is on everyone's list and for good reason.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate is the kind of book librarians love. It's historical fiction, has a girl MC who's into a stereotypically boy thing, science, there's some good stuff about Charles Darwin, so kids might actually learn a few things, and the language is lush.

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson makes the list because it seems as though every time she writes a book the Newbery folks give her an award. I don't think it's deserving, but I'm not voting.

Dark Horses:

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Slayton is a book I read and I liked it fine, but never once did I think it was an award winner.

A Season of Gifts, which I have not read, but it's Peck, so it has to be good.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Told Justice could be the Good Masters, Sweet Ladies book of 2010. I haven't read it, so I don't know how good it is, but you can't ignore the recent trend of Newbery judges recognizing works written primarily for an African-American audience. Woodson has been the primary beneficiary, but Claudette gives judges a reason to go without someone else.

Who I Want to Win:

Rebecca Stead for When You Reach Me, although I did not love the book as much as others, I still think it's the most enjoyable of the above. And isn't enjoyment why we read?

Who I Think Will Win: Jacqueline Kelly for Calpurnia Tate, because the librarians gave it to The Graveyard Book last year and I think it buys them a year to pick something quieter, slower, deeper, and more literary.

Printz Award

Thanks to a library system that often seems late to the game, I haven't read a ton of the Printz contenders. Here are ones I haven't read, but I have heard buzz about:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
The Devil's Paintbox by Victoria McKernan.
All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg

The Favorites:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson--Honestly, I started this one but couldn't do it. First, the topic was way too serious, as are many of Anderson's books. I read to get away from the real world, not to immerse myself in its small horrors. Also, and I'm prepared to be attacked here, the writing was too good. The writing was so good that I just sat there and marveled at it and instead of wanting to read the story I wanted to study the writing and maybe steal a turn-of-phrase or two. Or fifty.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork--I read this one and loved it. One of the top three books I read last year. It should win. Period. Plus, the author has an X in his name.

Dark Horses:

Liar by Justine Larbalestier--Haven't read it. Probably won't, but it's generated a ton of Internet buzz and the reviews I've read have been favorable, often highlighting the masterful use of an unreliable narrator.

Going Bovine By Libba Bray--Anyone who's willing to do this deserves consideration.

Who I Want to Win: Stork for Marcelo.

Who Will Win: Stork for Marcelo.


Tina Lee said...

Thanks for that. That was wholly educational!

Lily Cate said...

I'm still working my way through these. I have to mention that my 5 year old was just as fascinated by It's a Small World as the narrator in the first chap of Going Bovine- although my kid stayed in the boat.

Paul Greci said...

Thanks for these titles. Several that I haven't read yet.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Okay, so I am still laughing at Libba Bray's video, but I agree that should give her extra consideration. I feel like an idiot for not having read any of these yet, bad Jonny. Although, I am on the hold list for four of them at the library...

Anita said...

Haven't read many of these, but read MARCELO, so yay!

I thought this was a very professional post (but I didn't follow the links, so who knows what craziness was there). In any case, much thanks!

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Hope Marcelo wins!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

It didn't.

Going Bovine did.

MG Higgins said...

I sure wish they'd e-publish Marcelo. I so dislike reading paper books anymore. But I will get this one and would have on Sunday if it had been in stock at Borders. Stupid Borders. Really enjoyed Calpurnia Tate. I'm not crazy about Bovine. Am I the only person who doesn't love it? Probably. That's okay.

I like being one of the last people to comment. I feel like I can say anything and no one will ever read it.

Anita said...

MG: I read your comments.

MG Higgins said...

Uh oh.

Anita said...

Speaking of uh-ohs, I have a bone to pick (what does that even mean)with PMM and will return here after AMERICAN IDOL and the kids are in bed in order to get my thoughts on paper (or computer or whatever).

Jonathon Arntson said...

Oooh, drama, let me get some popcorn!

Jonathon Arntson said...

Oh, MG, I read your comments too. I usually end up with the comment no one reads AKA The Last Word!

Anita said...

*throat clearing* Anyone who has read my comments on various blogs about situations in which there is a difference between the way a character is described inside a book and the way the same character is portrayed (either by photo or illustration) on the cover of the book knows I refuse to read such books. HOWEVER, PMM still recommended THE LIBERATION OF GABRIEL KING somewhere on his blog (too lazy to find where exactly) and, therefore, indirectly recommended the book to me. If you read the book, you will find the spider character is YELLOW. Yet on the cover, the spider is only maybe sortaish possibly yellow. This disturbs me (though not as much as when similar situations with human characters have occurred). I will not be commenting on this blog until there is an apology here from PMM or the author THE LIBERATION OF GABRIEL KING or both.

Paul Michael Murphy said...

It is you who owes the apology. I stated that I had read three of Going's four novels. The one I have not read is the one with which you take (unjustified) umbrage.


I Am Right. Again. *Yawns*.

Anita said...

PMM: I am busy trying to find a combination of keyboard characters that look like a butt mooning you.

Jonathon Arntson said...


Jonathon Arntson said...

Too skinny.

( ) )

Anita said...

Jonathon: Thank you, kind sir.

Jonathon Arntson said...

I'm good at certain things, sorry to steal your search, but the idea popped into my head really quickly.

A little too quickly?

Paul Michael Murphy said...

You thanked him for making your virtual butt larger.


Jonathon Arntson said...

(realistic) and edgier.

Anita said...

Yes, isn't it interesting a mostly-stranger can portray me with a bigger butt and I'm like, "Thank you," but if Husband did the same he'd have to go into hiding?

Anyway, I do prefer the bigger moon.

Anita said...

MG was so wrong thinking she had one of the last comments here.

MG Higgins said...

Jonathon, given your avatar photo I can see why you came up with ( ) ) so quickly. (Very clever, BTW.)

Okay, now I have the last comment. Ahhhh....