Monday, January 26, 2009

And The Winners Are... 2009 Newbery, Caldecott Awards Are Announced

As is usually true, the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards committees had more than a few surprises for readers eagerly awaiting the winners of the 2009 awards.

Receiving the 2009 Newberry Award is Neal Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, a dark story of a boy named Nobody, or Bod, for short, who is safe from a mysterious assassin only within the confines of a a graveyard, where he grows up under the tutelage of many mentors, some of whom are ghosts.

A trailer for this book may be viewed here.

Newbery Honor Awards go to Kathi Appelt for The Underneath, Ingrid Law for Savvy, Jacqueline Woodson's After Tupac and D Foster, and Margarita Engle's The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom.

Taking top honors for illustration is the 2009 Caldecott Award winner, Susan Marie Swanson's gorgeously and serenely illustrated The House in the Night.

Receiving Caldecott Honor Awards were Marla Frazee for A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, Uri Shulevitz for How I Learned Geography, and illustrator Melissa Sweet for A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams.

The Carnegie Award has been presented to Weston Woods' film based on Christine King Farris' book March On!: The Day My Brother Martin Changed The World, reviewed here on January 10.

Mo Willems has again walked away with the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for easy reader books with his latest installment in his popular series, Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book).

For my review of Kathi Appelt's The Underneath , see my post of August 14 here. Ingrid Law's Savvy, was also reviewed here in my post of June 2.

Kadir Nelson has won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, reviewed here on February 7, 2008. The King Illustrator Award goes to Floyd Cooper for his work in The Blacker the Berry.

The Printz Award for Young Adult Literature has been given to Melina Marchetta's Jellicoe Road.

The Pura Belpre Award for Hispanic literature goes to author Margarita Engle for The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom and illustrator Yuyi Morales for Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book.

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement went to Ashley Bryan, illustrator, known for many award-winning books, including Beautiful Blackbird (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner).

The Odyssey Award goes to the audiobook of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written and read by Sherman Alexie.

Alex Awards for adult books suitable for young adult readers go to the following:

City of Thieves, by David Benioff, published by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group.

The Dragons of Babel, by Michael Swanwick, a Tor Book published by Tom Doherty Associates.

Finding Nouf, by Zoë Ferraris published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti, published by Dial Press, a division of Random House.

Just After Sunset: Stories, by Stephen King, published by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Over and Under, by Todd Tucker, published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

The Oxford Project, by Stephen G. Bloom, photographed by Peter Feldstein, published by Welcome Books.

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Three Girls and Their Brother, by Theresa Rebeck, published by Shaye Areheart Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House.

The William Morris Award, given for first-time authors, went to Elizabeth C. Bunce for A Curse Dark as Gold.

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  • Thanks for rounding these up!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 PM  

  • so, as parents, do we dare have our kids read any of these books? Looks like a heavy dose of darkness and PC to me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:36 PM  

  • Dear Anonymouse 11:36,

    Perhaps the awards were subliminously influenced by the dark mood of the economic times. If so, blame the bankers, not the authors.

    Since books have more than a two-year lag time between completion and publication, however, (not to mention the months or years of creation time by authors and illustrators), the coincidence of "dark" motifs is probably just that.

    Your mention of "PC" seems purely snarky; are you blaming writers for trying to give equality of opportunity to ghosts and nighttime?

    Or are you objecting to the existence of the King and Belpre Awards? These two have been around for decades, so just get over it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

  • I agree with the darkness/PC comment...Neil Gaiman co-wrote an atheistic book with Richard Dawkins; sounds like another "Golden Compass" attempt to confuse our children to me.

    By Blogger Peggy Snow Cahill, at 11:42 AM  

  • The dark stuff comes from the popularity of Harry Potter. Even though HP wasn't really "dark," other writers saw the witchcraft and mystical elements and decided that was what made HP such a great success. They were completely wrong. HP is a success because Rowling is an incredible story-teller and her stories have strong characters and a very consistent morality.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:33 PM  

  • Dear Anonymous 3:33,
    Yes, HP has a very consistent morality and indeed is sometimes reasonably called a religious allegory. That may go a bit too far, but there is some of that there.

    Nonetheless, despite its humor and moral theme, it is a serious series which does not avoid the dark side of life--never denying the existence of death, evil, and even self-doubt.

    Don't be too hard on the Newbery winners, or other authors who try to develop characters which deal with the dark side of life. It's there, and we can't shield young adult readers from it forever. Look at the "classics," which were not afraid to look at life as it is. ("It was the best of times; it was the worst of times....") The trick is to be honest--no cheap thrills.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:22 PM  

  • You are right, of course. HP has some very dark stuff. I guess my point was that HP wasn't a huge success because it had witchcraft and wizardry. The "dark" in HP was life itself--death, treachery, evil; the "dark" wasn't in the magic.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:00 AM  

  • Dear Anonymous 9 AM,
    You are right.

    Gaiman himself credits Kipling's The Jungle Book for the premise of The Graveyard Book, an idea which came to him as he watched his own child ride his trike around a nearby graveyard.

    Like little Mowgli, Bod is the orphaned toddler who survives a fatal attack upon his family to find refuge and support in a close community which tutors him as he grows. Instead of a wolf mother and an "uncle" bear, Bod has ghosts. It's a great jumping-off place for a novel.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 AM  

  • The house in the Night, my son and I enjoy reading that book. I’ll have to check out the other winners. Thanks for posting.

    By Anonymous Adult Tricycle, Laura, at 2:32 AM  

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