ALA announces Youth Media Award winners

In a live webcast, the American Library Association announced the winners of the Youth Media Awards.  Winners and honorees in the teen and young adult categories are listed below.

Michael L. Printz Award:

The Michael L. Printz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. It is named for a Topeka, Kansas school librarian who was a long-time active member of the Young Adult Library Services Association.  The award is sponsored by Booklist, a publication of the American Library Association.

Where Things Come Back written by John Corey Whaley, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler; The Returning by Christine Hinwood; Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey; and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Morris Award:

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

Where Things Come Back written by John Corey Whaley, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction:

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year. 

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery written by Steve Sheinkin and published by Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Margaret A. Edwards Award:

The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world.

Susan Cooper for The Dark Is Rising Sequence.

Schneider Family Book Award

For books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

Two books were selected for the middle school award (ages 9 – 13): “close to famous,” written byJoan Bauer and published by Viking, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; and “Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures,” written by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic.

The teen (ages 14-18) award winner is “The Running Dream,” written by Wendelin Van Draanen and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Stonewall Book Award -Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award:

Given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy written by Bil Wright and published by Simon & Schuster BFYR, an imprint of Simon& Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.


a + e 4ever drawn and written by Ilike Merey and published by Lethe Press, Inc.; Money Boy written by Paul Yee and published by Groundwood Books, an imprint of House of Anansi Press; Pink written by Lili Wilkinson and published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins; and with or without you written by Brian Farrey and published by Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.


Odyssey Awards:

This annual award will be given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.

Rotters written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.


Ghetto Cowboy, written by G. Neri, narrated by JD Jackson and produced by Brilliance Audio.

Okay for Now, written by Gary D. Schmidt, narrated by Lincoln Hoppe and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.

The Scorpio Races, written by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham and produced by Scholastic Inc., Scholastic Audiobooks.

Young Fredle, written by Cynthia Voigt, narrated by Wendy Carter and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of Random House Audio Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.

Alex Awards:

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.

    • Big Girl Small by Rachel DeWoskin, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard, published by Little, Brown & Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
    • The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    • The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser, published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
    • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
    • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
    •  Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson, published by Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
    • Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, published by Bloomsbury USA
    • The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston, published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
    • The Talk-Funny Girl by Roland Merullo, published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

More information about YALSA and all of the awards can be found here:

Congratulations to all winners and honorees!


YALSA announces 2011 Youth Media Award winners and honorees

YALSA has posted the list of winners and honorees in the young adult categories for the 2011 Youth Media Awards.  You can find links to all of them here:

Congratulations to all winners and honorees! 🙂

You are there! Fever 1793

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson; published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, New York, 2000; 243 pages.

Mattie Cook has plans: She’s going to own a city block with a restaurant, a coffee house and a store full of Parisian finery.  Sounds like a typical, American 14 year old, who wants to make it big.  The difference in this story is that Mattie Cook lives in Philadelphia during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793.  At first, we find Mattie a little lazy and hounded by a sweet tooth.  As the story progresses, and the fever spreads, we find out just how strong and determined the teen is.  She courageously leads us, gentle readers, through the horrors that plagued the town.  She also discovers, and shows us, just how unselfish people can be.  By the story’s end, Mattie is running the show and is fully prepared to do so.

I think Laurie Halse Anderson is at her best writing historical fiction.  Sure, she focuses on what teenagers are like in any era.  Her forte, in my humble opinion, is placing her readers in the period by using some of the jargon, but not enough to make reading tortuous; and placing the characters in historically accurate settings, surrounded by real people of the time.  I’d recommend any of her historical fiction to language arts teachers to collaborate with social studies curriculum.  The author’s notes at the end of the book, highlighting the factual information that’s included in the book as well as the information the author used as background for writing the story, add another element for using this book in collaboration with nonfiction curriculum.

I think having read Jim Murphy’s nonfiction account of the 1793 yellow fever “plague” made this book more interesting for me.  I was already familiar with many of the real characters and events.  For sure, these two books should be recommended as a fiction-nonfiction set to young readers.

Overall, middle schoolers will relate to Mattie.  They’ll even like her, root for her.  In the end, they’ll learn a little American history, too.  Like, did you know Philadelphia was the U.S. capital?  Seriously?!

3P     4Q     Grade Level: 5-9

Cover art: A yellow tinge to the cover art (and definite yellow eyeball) along with the old-fashioned titular font tell browsers what the book is about.  Also, using a face in some slightly obscure way makes this scream that it’s by Halse Anderson!  Her fans will certainly be able to pick this book out!

From Reading List: Best Books for Young Adults (YALSA), 2001; Margaret A. Edwards Award, 2009; The Way It Was (Historical Fiction)

Plague! (or, not “mellow yellow”)

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793; by Jim Murphy; published by Clarion Books, New York, 2003; 139 pages.

If you’ve ever wondered why communities spray for mosquitoes, this story will explain it in historically gripping detail.  Murphy employs primary documents, such as diaries, letters and newspaper articles, as well as extensive research in other print sources, to paint a portrait of the yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793.  Aside from the catastrophic number of deaths and debilitating illness, the “plague” shut down the fledgling United States federal government.  Philadelphia was the nation’s capital at the time, and with death creeping toward the President and Congress from the dockside streets, almost all government officials fled the city.  According to the Constitution, Congress could not be convened outside of the capital, which essentially crippled the federal government.  Human nature was put under a microscope as well, with  greed and selfishness juxtaposed with selfless service to other.  Indeed, even the medical profession struggled with limited knowledge and out-dated science.  But the epidemic helped to ignite a medical revolution of sorts, encouraging exploration for explanations outside of generally accepted science.  Of course the epidemic was a horrific tragedy in U.S. history, but many things we take for granted today, like knowing how to treat bacterial and viral infections, and how to spray to kill off disease-carrying mosquitoes, owe their existence to the tragedy of 1793.

If Jim Murphy wrote the history books used in schools, social studies grades would be outrageously high across the country.  His accessible language presents facts in an entertaining way.  I applaud his seamless inclusion of information from primary sources.  Quoting eyewitnesses to an event 200 years ago makes the story more real.  I can see why Murphy was selected as the 2010 winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award; I can’t wait to read more of this non-fiction accounts!  The book was also a Newbery Honor book (2004), a Sibert Award winner (2004), NCTE Orbis Pictus Award winner, a YALSA “Best Books for Young Adults” title, among other honors.

I can think of several ways to use this book.  First, I think it’s a no-brainer to pair it with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever, 1793. Also, I’d use it to support journaling.  Why keep a diary?  Well, because 200 years from now, an author may use it to describe life in the early 21st Century!  Hmmm, I wonder if I need to print and bind my blogs, or will someone finally figure out how to archive/preserve the ‘net?

3P     5Q     Grade Level: 7-12+ (I found this in adult nonfiction at my local library; not sure I agree with that!)

Cover Art: The cover simulates the broadsides of the 18th century.  In my mind, there’s no question that this is a nonfiction book.  The cover alone will not encourage young adults to pick up the book; it’ll have to be recommended reading.

From Reading List: Margaret A. Edwards Award (2010)

The Giver is on banned books list?! Gimme a break!

The Giver by Lois Lowry; published by Bantam Books, New York, 1993 & 1999; 180 pages.

Jonas, or Number 11-19, lives in a Utopian society.  He has a family unit, he attends school, and is allotted time for play every day.  Yet as he approaches the Ceremony of Twelves, in which he receives his Assignment (what job he will train for), Jonas experiences fear; no, wrong word, anxiety; no, wait, apprehensive–yes, that’s the word.  Words are measured for their exact meanings, rudeness is not tolerated, politeness is revered.  So when Jonas is skipped over during the ceremony, he feels quite anxious but does not question the mistake.  Then he learns that he is destined for the most revered position in the community–he will be the Receiver.  As the Receiver, he will hold all knowledge of life before the Sameness, before the rules and controls.  But during the transmission of the knowledge, from the Giver to the Receiver, Jonas and the old man share the painful knowledge that the Sameness is not a good thing.  Where is love, choice, independence?  Together, they find a way to enlighten the masses in the community.

For those that seek to ban this book, I say, “Read it!”  It is apparent that they, who say it is a handbook of Communism and/or euthanasia, have not read the book to its downhill-sled-ride conclusion.  Rather than tout the glories of Communism and/or euthanasia, Lowry’s book strongly and rather poignantly highlights the flaws and dehumanizing aspects of both.  It reminds me of my in-laws, who vehemently argued the anti-Christ aspects of the Harry Potter series with me, but had never read nor seen the movies themselves.  My strongest argument was that they should read the books themselves before passing judgement.  Yikes!

Back to The Giver.  Even the most naive middle-schooler will understand that Jonas’ community of Sameness, without sunshine or snow, without family or love, is not a “good thing.”  In the end, I found myself singing Rush’s song “Freewill” rather loudly:

You can choose from phantom fears
And kindness that can kill
I will choose a path that’s clear
I will choose free will

3P     5Q     Grade Level: 6-Adult

the_giverSMALLCover Art: I read the version with the cover shown here: An old man’s hand gently places a snowflake in the hands of a child with a hauntingly sparse background; the title is gilt and really stands out.  The other version of the cover, with the face of an old man, is also tied to the storyline.  I don’t think that the art of either of these covers does justice to the story.  I saw a promotion for a play version of the story, with the Giver and Jonas standing together, dressed in black on a black background, and Jonas is holding a very bright red apple.  That cover would garner more attention than either of these.  The spine is non-descript and one would have to be looking for the book to find it.

From Reading List: Margaret A. Edwards Award, winner 2007

Speak volumes without words

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; published by Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 1999; 198 pages.

Melinda Sordino is an incoming freshman.  The transition to high school is never an easy one, but for Melinda, the transition includes precious losses.  The preceding summer included attending a bacchanal party that came to an abrupt halt when she called the police.  As her physical losses mount, she loses more and more of her ability to speak.  Friends abandon her like she is a plague.  Parents and teachers notice the change but blame it on “acting out,” rather than considering what could have caused the dramatic alteration.  With the encouragement of an understanding art teacher, Melinda finds her voice, figuratively speaking.  In the end, she is confronted by the crippling source of her pain and is able to stand up for herself, find her physical voice and transform the villain into the school heroine.

Laurie Halse Anderson uses the diary format she employed in Catalyst again in Speak.  We are tranported into the brain of a traumatized, victimized 13 year old girl.  In this case, Anderson uses grading periods to divide the book into four sections, with each divided into “chapters” that highlight events during that nine week period.  As an adult, I had a pretty good clue about the events of the party before Melinda revealed them, but I don’t know that younger teens would predict what had happened.  In the end, it didn’t matter that I had figured out the horror she went through, it was more important to experience her transformation.  Once again, I was deeply impressed by Anderson’s ability to involve the readers’ five senses in her descriptions–I found myself chewing on my own lips looking for the scabs, for example.

With so many young adults feeling like outsiders, this book should resonate with teen readers.  Boys and girls alike experience personal violations and losing friends, so the themes should touch appeal to both genders. 

4P     5Q     Grade Level: 8-10

speakCover Art: The face is haunting–no mouth, eyes two different colors and looking like they’re focused somewhere past the reader.  The tree includes old growth and new.  The spine is read with white lettering and should be easily found on the shelves.  Overall, I think this cover would pique the interest of teens.

From Reading List:  Margaret A. Edwards Award, 2009 winner

combining(5 senses) + character development = {catalyst

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson; published by the Penguin Group, New York, 2002; 231 pages.

This is not your average coming of age story.  Sure, the same struggles exist: friends and family don’t understand the main character; she grows and her maturity helps her understand her past and prepare for the future; and the threshold from high school to the real world is about to be crossed.  But Kate Malone isn’t your average teen and Laurie Halse Anderson isn’t your average author.  Kate Malone is an honors student, athlete, and minister’s daughter.  Anderson gives her a unique voice; we read as though paging through Kate’s chemistry notebook cum diary.  Sometimes her thoughts are jotted down sentence fragments, committed to paper in a rush; sometimes she fleshes out the details so they won’t be forgotten; always, the narrator’s voice is letting us in on just enough of her thought process to keep us eavesdropping for a few more pages.  Anderson also excels at drawing us into the story with all our senses—you can almost feel the sweaty watchband on your skin, hear the metal clanging as Kate tries to open the locked locker, smell the chicken and biscuits, see the glare off the Bert’s windshield, and taste the stale glazed donut dunked in diner coffee.  In some ways, the stories of death, of college application missteps, of her friendships, are secondary to character development.  By watching Kate Malone fall apart and resurrect herself, we witness her coming of age; the plot is important but not the real story in Catalyst.

I enjoyed this book and want to read more of Anderson’s work to better understand why she was chosen for the Margaret A. Edwards Award.  Witnessing Kate Malone reach outside herself to support Teri Litch was an inspirational example of Kate’s character growth.  Being able to feel the stress and exhaustion then finally resignation and peace are the result of Anderson’s remarkable storytelling talent.  Kate Malone could be any type-A personality student in any college prep program anywhere in the country.  Her growth and development, especially in the hands of Anderson, provide inspiration and a good read for high school students.   I think the depiction of a type-A teen will appeal to most teens as they prepare to step over the threshold to adulthood.

4P     5Q     Grades 10-12

catalystCover Art: Boring.  Plain and simple.  The underlying chemistry theme is done in muted tones.  The portrait, I assume of Kate Malone, is not striking.  The use of the bracket in the title and all lower-case letters is interesting, but not enough to generate interest based solely on the cover art.  The dark red letters on the dark spine did not stand out on the shelf—I was looking for this title in particular and had a fairly difficult time locating it.  Overall, teens would have to be looking for this book to pick it out; the cover seems to be designed for a class assignment!  When searching for the cover image to include here, I did notice that there is an updated cover that is more graphically interesting.

From Reading List: Margaret A. Edwards Award, 2009 winner

RSS Braingle’s Teasers

  • Today's Daily Brain Teaser (Jul 19, 2018)
    Automobile Makes Name the automobile makes: 1. river wading place 2. ringed planet 3. famous emancipator 4. weep convulsively 5. Star Wars action figure 6. earth wanderer 7. spotted cat 8. heavy metal 9. evade 10. diminutive 11. endlessness 12. bawl + disparaging remark Check for the answer.