Monday, January 10, 2011

Predictions, Now with Winners!

So I really did try to go to bed without posting my ALA youth media award predictions, but I couldn't do it... so... here ya go. And yes, I know none of you save possibly Tanita will read this before the announcement. I had to get it off my chest before I could sleep.

Newbery: I've only read Once Crazy Summer & Mockingbird, so I'm just going off of internet chatter, reviews, and colleague love for most of these. Oh, and the fact that I actually want to read the ones I haven't gotten to yet.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Innocent but seeping with the flavor of a contentious time, Williams-Garcia does an excellent turn on 1969 and the Black Panther movement making it accessible for the audience. It's a little short on the reasons why Panthers were getting arrested, but since it's all from an 11-year-old's point of view, that might be forgivable. For slightly older students who are intruigued, don't forget about last year's excellent The Rock & the River by Kekla Magoon.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. The fact that this one won the National Book Award probably hurts it, but even given the fact that I'm completely over Autism/Asperger books, this one had me completely within it's charming grasp. This said, it's probably a shoo in for the Schneider.

Books getting the buzz, that I can't speak personally for:
The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Countdown by Deborah Wiles.
Keeper by Kathi Appelt.
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce.

Printz: Theoretically, the Printz should be easier for me to predict since I'm so much more familiar with it, but gosh, I'm just stabbing in the dark here. I wouldn't be surprised to see more science fiction and fantasy on the list here. The fact that I spend the last quarter of the year willfully and painfully ignoring SFF for the Cybils hurts me a little when SFF is strong. This said, if any of my Cybils YA Fiction titles made it, I'd be through the roof.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. The world-building and the voice are what stand out miles from the crowd here. The pacing is excellent, and it would certainly be a crowd pleaser if it made it in.

They Called Themselves the KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. This is exquisitely done. Bartoletti manages to keep a completely objective tone, letting primary source documents speak for themselves. A few more facts on the KKK today would have been appreciated, but as for a historical account of this subject, I don't think there's anything better out there. It's immensely readable, and should be found in every library. I won't consider the Printz complete this year if this one isn't included.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher. I can't tell if this is eligible or not, and it's too late for me to be willing to research it, but in case it is... Since, I, personally, disliked it greatly, it's chances are good. I thought it dull and racked with pacing issues, but I appear to be the only one, so since those are my usual complaints about winners I don't like...

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. The seven stages of grief are worked through by this mean girl as she goes a bit Groundhog's Day with death. While I, personally, think it could have been a little shorter, especially in the beginning, what Oliver was able to do with character development deserves recognition. It's not a perfect book, but it's damn close.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. I don't think that this one really breaks any special ground when it comes to epic fantasy, in fact, it might even be a little derivative. But people love it, and it's got healthy buzz. None of which actually means anything. I hated Jellicoe, but it won, so perhaps this author and I will just never get along.

Coretta Scott King:

Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson. I can't tell you how much I loved this one. It's lyrical language and complicated structure begs a second or third read. It's not a bad bet for Printz, either. However, some do have issue with it's place as the last in a trilogy. I don't think it matters.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. As mentioned above.

Caldecott: I would say that the birth of my niece almost exactly a year ago means that I have more knowledge than usual in this category, and I've certainly read more this year than in a long time, but in reality, who ever knows? I also have to give props to my desk-mate Sarah Z., my children's librarian, who makes sure I see all the good stuff. I also might take a more populist view on the Caldecott. For that, I blame my short attention span. I think.

Art & Max by David Wiesner. It's never bad to bet on Wiesner, but with this one, I actually believe that the text detracts from the illustrations - to the extent that I believe they are unnecessary. That's the only thing I can think of that would keep this favorite from receiving yet another nod, 'cause the illustrations are mind-bending, beautiful, and full of personality.

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown. I have a real soft spot for this one. I can't but help get a kick out of it, and I totally dig the retro illustrations. They are spot on in tone and whimsy.

Chalk by Bill Thomson. This is a bit of a weird one, taking pages from both Wiesner and Van Allsburg, but the illustrations are truly remarkable as they slide from one style to the next.

Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World by Mac Barnett. This one is super fun. There's more of a plot than any of the other books I'm talking about here, and it's equally clever, thoughtful, and funny. The illustrations match it perfectly on those three counts with small details that will appeal both to the kids, and the reading adult.

Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton. I don't know that I actually expect this to make it on the list, but it is by and far my favorite picture book of the year, and since this is the absolute only time I talk about picture books on this blog, I'm mentioning it. Because if you DON'T already know this book, you simply must. Seriously.

Schneider Award: I always think it's odd that the Schneider only picks one book per age group. I don't think it would hurt them to toss off a few Honors now and again, but whatevs.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly. It's probably too dark and racy for the committee, but it is an excellent portrayal of a teen with Asperger's where the disorder isn't really the issue. It's more just a quirk as she gets through a very normal life. Well, normal in the world of dark teen books.

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin by Josh Berk. This will probably win the teen grouping. It's lovely fun with a noir twist. Very Veronica Mars, had she been a deaf, overweight boy. It approaches many of the issues and controversy within the deaf community (or so I've read), while not making that the issue itself. No, the issue is murder.

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine. As mentioned above. Shoo-in for the middle grade demographic. I hope.

Since most likely you've already heard the results (probably before me, as I'll be teaching homeschoolers at the time of the announcements), what do you think? What's missing? What makes you glad?


Ship Breaker! Yay!
Nothing by Janne Teller. I'm kicking myself for not mentioning this one. That's what I get for posting predictions at midnight. This is a WILDLY disturbing read, but very well done.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. I always wanted to like Sedgwick, but I was burned by My Swordhand is Singing, and haven't been able to read anything else by him because of it. I'll try my luck here, and see what happens.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. This was nominated for Cybils YA Fiction panel, and having enjoyed Dust of 100 Dogs, I was eager to read it. I had to stop when I got to the talking pagoda and kick it over to SFF. I was totally digging it, though, and was sorry to have to move it on. I haven't had a chance yet to return, so I'm excited for the impetus.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher. This book forced me to coin the phrase "creep-ass love." Which then got applied all over the face of teen literature. Well, at least by those of us on the Cybils YA Fiction panel this year. This was one of our finalists.

Winner: Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. I got nothing. Looks like something I would have been first in line to read when I was a kid, though.

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm. All I know is that it's supposed to be good, but that there's hate for both covers. I figure now that it's an honor, there will be plenty of opportunity for new covers.

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. Looks interesting.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman. I was scratching my head trying to figure out why this was familiar, when I remembered it was a Cybils Poetry Finalist. cool.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Yay!

A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead. *Shrug* The cover looks pretty strange (yes, I did just judge it by it's cover. Whatever. You know I'll read it.)

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill.

Interrupting Chicken illustrated and written by David Ezra Stein. Called in the comments by Trisha.

Coretta Scott King:
One Crazy Summer! and Dave the Potter from the above Caldecott.
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers. I didn't think this was one of his best. At all.
Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri. I've heard really good things about this one. I love it when graphic novels get honored, so I'm already waiting a hold on this one.
Jimi Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, written by Gary Golio. I hearby predict that this will forever be in Seattle bookstores.


The Pirate of Kindergarten written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril. I'm fairly certain I've read this, but it wasn't terribly memorable. Although fun.

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick. This makes me happy. Too bad I didn't think of it last night.

Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Again, to Trisha in the comments. I haven't read it, but I know it's set in Seattle, and I noticed a review of it last week sometime, so it was on my distant radar... That's about it, though. My system doesn't have it, so I've placed a hold at my home library.


Trisha said...

No, I read it before the announcement, too! But no Morris and YA Nonfiction Award predictions?

(Also, you hated Jellicoe Road so much you needed italics?!)

Anyway, I thought about doing some predictions of my own, but I seriously have no idea about the YALSA awards this year. Well, I am sure They Called Themselves the K.K.K. will win the Nonfiction Award, but that's about it. I've even read 4 of the 5 Morris finalists this year (I'd read none last year), and I still have no clue. Oh wait, they've gone with fantasies the last/first two years, so I'll go with Guardian of the Dead, although I personally prefer Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, because the latter seems too populist a pick. For the Printz, I had been going with Nothing until the Morris and Nonfiction shortlists made me start doubting my predictive mojo, but I'd also be happy if Ship Breaker, because it is just so awesome.

Non-YALSA awards... I'll leave the Caldecott and Newbery for others to predict. (My favorite picture book of the few I read last year was Interrupting Chicken, and there's no way that's going to win. And I think the only 2010 middle grade book I read was One Crazy Summer, which I liked well enough, but obviously I have no basis for comparison. Unless you consider 8th Grade Superzero a children's book instead of YA, in which case I've read two.) Likewise the Pura Belpre and CSK. For the Schneider Family, even though I liked Harmonic Feedback, I've got a gut feeling (which might turn out to be indigestion) about Five Flavors of Dumb.

tanita✿davis said...

HAH! TWO of us are paying attention to your late-night ramblings!

Shark v. Train!!! YES!
Man, there have been so many good books for the wee tiny kids this year I'm having trouble picking...

I have such, such hope for Rita's One Crazy Summer. SUCH HOPE. I haven't read sweet, hereafter yet, but I love the title. I've heard such good things about Five Flavors of Dumb that I'm crossing fingers there, too.

I hope everyone gets phone calls this time!

MotherReader said...

Moon Over Manifest was such a wild card pick. I guess we were due for a surprising year.

Jackie Parker said...

It's cool, though, Pam. I bet I'm really going to love it. And, really, that's all that matters. Especially after the last two years being so predictable.