That’s my one-word summary of this morning’s ALA Youth Media Award announcements.
Who cares if more than half of my predictions were wrong? The sheer number of surprises (not to mention, completely unknown titles) in this year’s announcements was incredibly exciting.
Okay, I did get Tamora Pierce winning the Margaret A. Edwards correct, but I’ve been saying that for a couple of years now, and I think it was inevitable that she would win it at some point—such a huge influence on YA fantasy (there’s a reason so many YA fantasies with strong heroines are compared to Alanna or another Tamora Pierce book, right?), plus very diverse casts of characters—that it’s not like I was going out on a limb with this one. I’d be super happy about it even if I hadn’t predicted it.
And Seraphina by Rachel Hartman winning the Morris and Bomb by Steve Sheinkin the Excellence in Nonfiction were not surprising. But the rest of the awards?
After Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe won the Stonewall, I suppose it’s Printz Honor didn’t come as a shock. Lots of people loved Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity. Terry Pratchett previously won a Printz Honor for Nation, and Dodger did earn excellent reviews. Then came the two shockers: White Bicycle by Beverley Brenna as an honor book and In Darkness by Nick Lake as the big winner. I was like, “White Bicycle? What is that?” because I’d never heard of it. According to Whitney,
Seriously, I think it must be the most unknown Printz title since One Whole and Perfect Day in 2008. In Darkness did get a couple of starred reviews, but it had no Printz buzz. (In other words, if I do Printz predictions again next year, I am definitely going under, if not completely off, the radar.)
Which would have been surprising in itself. But then, no Pura Belpré illustrator honors? Three overlapping YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction and Sibert books? (Though I would argue that a lot of the best kids nonfiction these days is aimed toward that overlapping ALSC/YALSA middle school age range.) Weston Woods not winning the Carnegie? Five Caldecott honors? Jon Klassen getting a Caldecott Honor (for Extra Yarn) AND the medal (for This is Not My Hat)? Oh, and the Batchelder committee giving an honor to a graphic novel (A Game for Swallows)! And the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award* (Drama), too.
What do you think about the books that were honored, or snubbed?
* the title of which actually makes YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults look short in comparison