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)
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.
Another thing? It's "by writers to writers."
EDITED TO ADD:
Colleen at Chasing Ray shares her opinion on the shortlist, especially Stitches. That is so unusual for her, to speak up like this!
And Betsy at Fuse #8 (also a quiet, shy, retiring gal, who rarely speaks her mind
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy