So a few book awards have already been announced. These are more in my wife’s specialty, though I like to see what happens here and often find myself really admiring the work.


  • Winner — Rebecca Stead: When You Reach Me
  • Honors —  Phillip Hoose: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice; Jacqueline Kelly: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate; Grace Lin: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon; Rodman Philbrick: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

My wife read When You Reach Me a few months ago, and she liked it but doesn’t think it’ll be that accessible to children because the ideas are much more prominent than any story. In fact, for most of the book she kept telling me that she had no idea what the point was. I don’t mind that for me — plotlessness can be a great thing — but I see what my wife means when we’re talking about children reading. The Newberry seems to go back and forth on that line, don’t they. One year they pick a book that parents will want their chilren to read and understand (like this year) and another they will pick a rather substance-less book that the children will enjoy (like last year’s The Graveyard Book). I can see each side: on the one hand, let’s immortalized (as best we can) a book with great ideas we want children to consider, even if they won’t do it until they are much older; on the other had, let’s immortalize a book that children can read and love when they are children.


  • Winner — illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney: The Lion and the Mouse
  • Honor — illustrated by Marla Frazee and written by Liz Garton Scanlon: All the World; illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski adn written by Joyce Sidman: Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors

Because of its fine illustrations, we’ve had our eyes on The Lion and the Mouse for a while, but we haven’t got it for our boys yet.  Maybe soon.


  • Winner — Libba Bray: Going Bovine
  • Honor — Deborah Heiligman: Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s Leap of Faith; Rick Yancey: The Monstrumologist; Adam Rapp: Punkzilla; John Barnes: Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973

The Printz is my wife’s favorite book award.  It deals only with young adult literature.  With their audience, they seem to succeed where the Newberry fails, meaning they award books that deal with real issues but that do so by approaching the reader.  I’ve read two of  the nominees: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation:Vol. 1 — The Pox Party (I really need to read Vol. 2, also a Printz finalist, which came out in paperback not too long ago).  My wife loved last year’s winner Jellico Road.  Also, one of her favorite books of the last year was Northern Light, a YA book that deals with the same case as An American Tragedy.

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