Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Book Awards

National Book Awards Finalists for Young People's Literature were announced on October 14. The winner will be announced on November 18 (which, by the way, is the day the judges get together and decide who that winner will be. So no taking the judges out for a drink to get them to spill the beans so you can make money in Vegas by betting on the winner!)

Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (Henry Holt) (Gr. 8 plus)

Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) (Gr. 6 plus)

David Small, Stitches: A Memoir (W. W. Norton & Co.) (Gr. 10 plus)

Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) (Ages 12 up)

Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins) (Gr. 8 plus)


Kathi Appelt

Coe Booth

Carolyn Coman

Nancy Werlin

Gene Luen Yang

As usual, there are opinions!

Stitches: Wait, isn't this adult? On one listserv, I saw people argue that teens only read manga and comics and don't pick up graphic novels like this; on another, I saw people say this was a very teen-friendly/popular with teens title. Which one is right? I think both; different communities, different readers.

And overall, it's been pointed out how old this entire list is; not much representing children's literature.

Also of interest? Three non-fiction books; and one short story collection.

Plus, it's a very visual year even if it is all teen. Stitches is a graphic novel; and Lips Touch is illustrated, and while the stories work if the text only is read, the pictures add to the stories so that they make it a richer reading experience. The Colvin book includes photographs and reproductions of papers; and the Darwin book also includes several pages of photographs.

Once the kidlitcon is over, I'll be putting holds on those titles I don't have and eagerly reading so I can fully second-guess the judges. As is, I'm already going "what, no Going Bovine?" But that's uninformed second-guessing; I want to be informed.

Plus, I want to try to figure out who is going to win. They do make it hard, not having the guidelines easily available. The submission process is here; it only offers the cryptic, "The judging panels change every year. Juries develop their own criteria for awarding the National Book Award and discussions are held independent of the Foundation. The National Book Foundation Board and staff take no part in these deliberations, except to help determine a submission’s eligibility in conjunction with the submission guidelines." Maybe that is it?

Meanwhile, some Interesting facts about entry, guidelines:

Guidelines for this award are mailed out only to the publisher; and only publishers can nominate books.

Books must be published between 12/1/2008 and 11/30/2009.

Authors must be U.S. citizens.

Entry forms were due in June; with copies of books due by mid August.

The entry fee is $125.

Publishers have to contribute to a PR campaign; and finalists have to attend the ceremony.

More here.

Another thing? It's "by writers to writers."


Colleen at Chasing Ray shares her opinion on the shortlist, especially Stitches. That is so unusual for her, to speak up like this! All I know is that when the "what is YA" discussion starts, I want to know there is either wine in the fridge or ice cream in the freezer. Preferably both.

And Betsy at Fuse #8 (also a quiet, shy, retiring gal, who rarely speaks her mind ) addresses the National Book Award shortlist.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Jackie Parker said...

Yes, in fact I wasn't at all waiting for ALL THREE of you to weigh in on this. Nope, not at all.


tanita✿davis said...

Whoa, what a sterling panel of judges! Sweet.

I think Stitches goes both ways -- depending on readers and community. I can see teen people I know reading it. If people still check out A Child Called It I'm pretty sure they're going to be down with Stitches.

This is a really unique and varied nomination list. It's hard to say which way these judges will go -- but it'll be interesting to watch!