Monday, February 2, 2015

Thoughts on ALA's 2015 Youth Media Awards

The American Library Association announced its annual youth awards in Chicago this morning. I was as excited as many others as I followed the ceremony on my twitter feed. It feels good to know there are so many other adults who are passionate about great books for young people!

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson's superb autobiography-in-vignettes, continues to win medals. Today, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor and a Sibert Honor have been added to the prestigious National Book Award for Young People's Literature it has already received. I am happy, happy, happy. This is a book for everyone to read. And then go read everything else by Woodson.

I am also over the moon about El Deafo winning a Newbery Honor. Such a heartfelt and funny story, based on author Cece Bell's own childhood experiences. And it's in comics format! I wrote about El Deafo here. Monica Edinger speculated on its chances for the Newbery on her Educating Alice blog last month.

Speaking of graphic novels, yay for Canadians Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki's collaboration This One Summer! It received both a Printz Honor and a Caldecott Honor.

Other Canadians recognized include illustrator Jon Klassen (Sam and Dave Dig a Hole - Caldecott Honor) as well as Christine Baldacchino and Isabel Malenfant (Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress - Stonewall Honor). Two very fine picture books.

Another Stonewall Honor book is Beyond Magenta, which I reviewed here. I will seek out This Day in June by Gayle Pitman, the Stonewall winner, which reminds me of another thing that's great about these awards: hearing about titles that are new to me.

Has the We Need Diverse Books campaign had an effect? The diversity recognized by ALA this year seems greater than usual, spread through all of the awards and not just in the specific awards for LGBTQ (Stonewall) and PoC (Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpre). Examples include the previously mentioned Tamaki cousins, Kwame Alexander (Newbery winner), Dan Santat (Caldecott winner), the gay theme in Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun (Printz winner), Donald Crews (Laura Ingalls Wilder Award), Sharon Draper (Margaret Edwards Award), Pat Mora (Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award), Christopher Myers (Odyssey Award), and Isabel Quintera (Morris Award). It's all good.

The full list is available online here:

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