Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's That Time Again: National Book Award Finalists Are Named

The finalists in the prestigious National Book Awards for young people's literature have been announced, accompanied by more than the usual drama produced by an unprecedented comedy of errors.

Franny Billingsley, Chime. (Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)

Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy. (Marshall Cavendish)

Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again. (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books) .

Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now. (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
(See my prepublication review here.

The drama occurred when there was an error in reporting one of the titles. Apparently the name of the book Chime by Franny Billingsley was misunderstood, resulting in the pre-announcement notification of Lauren Myracle as a finalist for her highly-reviewed book Shine (Amulet Books, 2011). For three days Myracle, a notable writer of young adult fiction, had to keep what she thought was biggest news of her career a secret until the formal announcement. Shortly after her book was publicly announced as one of five finalists in her division, word spread that Billingsley's book was the intended honoree. Myracle deserves my unofficial Literary Good Sport Award of the Year for her grace in dealing with this disappointment, even declining a short-lived (and then withdrawn) offer to be included in what would then be six finalists! Lauren Myracle proved herself a real winner in this altogether strange course of events.

The 2011 winners in all classes--Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature--will be announced at the gala awards dinner, hosted by John Lithgow, on November 16. I will report the results at that time.

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