It's Christmas in January for fans of youth media--this morning, the American Library Association will unveil 2010's medal winners, including the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, for outstanding contributions to children's and teen literature.
Each year, both readers and librarians eagerly anticipate the announcements, discussing and electing potential candidates via book clubs and mock award blogs.
But outside the fanbase, are the ALA's shiny stickers really such a big deal? Well, you do the math: winning titles will be completely sold out (even at the Big Bad Rainforest Site) within hours of this morning's announcement. They will grace the shelves of nearly every school, library and bookstore in the country. They will never go out of print.
That's a lot of numbers.
Of course, with so many hopeful speculations, there are bound to be territory wars--titles that are heavily favored to win, and get nothing--titles that come out of nowhere, and outrage thousands.
Past robberies include Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt in 1975 (general consensus) and Leepike Ridge, by N.D. Wilson in 2007 (personal opinion), while recent put-up jobs like Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky leave many readers scratching their heads, wondering what they did to deserve coal in their stocking.
However, one man's coal is another man's sugarplum. What visions were dancing in American heads this year?
My specialty being middle-grade, Newbery-eligible fiction, here are five books that stayed strong, list after list.
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
Peace, Locomotion, by Jacqueline Woodson
The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo
The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis, by Barbara O'Connor
But my personal favorite for 2010?
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick
Shiny sticker or no, young or old, treat yourself to this book!
Follow the announcements live on Twitter, beginning 7:45am EST : http://twitter.com/ALAyma
And come back here, where I'll update with gushings (or moanings) as soon as winning titles are released.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SOOOOOO happy with this year's winners: Medal goes to When You Reach Me (see above), honors to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (see above), The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (see above), and two others: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.
If you live in the Midwest, you might have heard me screaming a little while ago. Three of my absolute favorite books of 2009 were given Newbery awards! How much better can it get? Throw in the fact that I predicted three of the five recipients? Blissful. Committee of 2010, my hat is off to you. In fact, it's on the floor. Lovely, perfect, 100% deserving choices!
Official list here.