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2011 ALA Prize Winners

Lots of surprises here (at least to me).

Caldecott (best illustrated book for children)
Winner: A Sick Day for Amos McGee, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead
Honors: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick
Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

Newbery (most distinguished contribution to American literature for children)
Winner: Moon Over Manifest, by Clare Vanderpool
Honors: Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen
Heart of a Samurai, by Margi Preus
One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams Garcia

Printz (literary excellence in young adult literature)
Winner: Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi
Honors: Nothing, by Janne Teller
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King
Revolver, by Marcus Sedgwick
Stolen, by Lucy Christopher

There are lots of other awards. You can check out the ALA site for others.

One listing I found particularly interesting: The Alex Awards are given for “crossover books”--in this case books written for adults that will appeal to teens. I was at the children’s reference desk a few weeks ago, and a teenager came up and asked for Room, by Emma Donoghue. It’s listed among the Alex honors. I was a bit surprised when the girl asked, and I said something along the lines of, that’s a new adult book, so it should be downstairs, but let me see if we have it. Then I added, are you sure you want to read it?

I have Room on my list of books to read... it’s about a woman who has been held hostage for years by her rapist and who is raising her son (begotten from the rapist) in a room no larger than a garage. The son doesn’t know the outside world at all. I thought the subject matter would be too horrifying for a teen. Especially since we know of real-like cases like this. But I guess it does have “crossover appeal.”

Working at the children’s reference desk, I often get questions for books that actually fall in to the YA zone or the adult zone (and too many questions, IMHO, for adult movies). If the child is a teen, I ask, are you sure you want to read it... it’s an adult book. If the child is indeed a child, I typically tell the mom or dad, that’s a YA book, written for kids a bit older. No judgment calls -- just information.

I have a 15-year-old son who read Brave New World when he was 12ish. I’ve never read it. So, it wasn’t until after he wrote an award-winning essay on intellectual freedom citing that book that I found out (through reading a review of the book) it has an orgy scene. My first thought was, bad mommy. But then I thought, well, he understood the novel enough to write about it. Maybe that’s good.


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