Monthly Archives: February 2019

Printz Contender Update graphic

2020 Printz Possibilities through January Stars

Time for a new crop of Printz contenders! Here’s your annual reminder of the Printz criteria:

The Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit, each year. – YALSA Website

Two additional eligibility notes:

  • Must be published between January 1 and December 31 by a United States publishing house. Works previously published in other countries are eligible the year they are published in the U.S.
  • Must have been designated by the publisher as a young adult book or within YALSA’s stated audience range of 12-18 years.

You can find the full policies and procedures here.

I’m taking a page from how I’ve been organizing my Newbery posts and breaking contenders down by format: Novels, Comics, Non-Fiction. Now there’s two outliers lists – one for younger novels and one for anything else (essay collections, short stories, younger comics, etc.). I’m still not going to include titles that end at age 12 for their review ranges (i.e ages 8-12) unless I’ve heard Printz buzz about them. To see why I stick with three starred reviews despite this year’s winners not justifying that, see this old Someday My Printz post. Maybe I’ll have a chance sometime this year to revisit that data, but in the meantime lists are after the break!

22 books have three starred reviews or more as of the end of January 2019. 9 of those are picture books or novels with an audience that doesn’t fit the Printz age range so aren’t mentioned here at all. 7 are young adult novels, no young adult comics; 3 young adult non-fiction; 1 outlier of a younger novel and 2 other outliers.
Continue reading 2020 Printz Possibilities through January Stars

Newbery Contender Update graphic

2020 Newbery Possibilities through January Stars

The dust may have barely settled from this year’s American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, but I’m already looking towards next year. With January reviews in the books, we have several contenders so let’s review the criteria. The Newbery Award is given by the Association for Library Service to Children to

“the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published by an American publisher in the United States in English during the preceding year.” – Newbery Medal Terms and Criteria

That’s a pretty broad charge for the committee, so here’s a few more details:

  • Children are defined as being up to and including the age of 14.
  • Books must be published in the U.S. first; titles originally published elsewhere are not eligible.
  • The author must be a U.S. citizen or resident.

The 2019 Newbery committee named three middle grade novels – a much more traditional slate than has appeared in awhile. It will be interesting to see what the 2020 committee feels is distinguished. I liked breaking the contenders down by format, so I’m keeping that this year. However, I’m adding the publication date to entries this year to make it easy to see what’s accessible to the general public when. The lists will be pretty much the same as last year: Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Comics, Non-Fiction, Picture Books (Fiction and Non-Fiction), and Easy Readers/Early Chapter Books.

The final list is books that I think are ineligible – usually it’s because the author isn’t a U.S. citizen or resident, but wordless picture books and titles with previously published content could appear here as well. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Newbery committee and I have no knowledge of their official rulings on eligibility – I’m making my best guesses based on the terms and criteria and internet searches regarding citizenship/residency.

The 2019 winner and honors did all have three or more stars (you can see more about that on my YMA Results post). For those who follow the Newbery Award and enjoy trying to guess contenders, starred reviews are just one way to identify possible contenders. Each journal has a different criteria for what becomes a starred review and none of those criteria match the criteria for the Newbery Award. Heavy Medal’s feature where readers can nominate titles will be returning in March. Their blog is a great place to see more in depth discussion of how titles meet or don’t meet the Newbery criteria. As always remember that however many books we on the sidelines read, it’s a rare mock participant who will have read as widely as the actual committee members.

As of the end of January there were 22 titles with three or more starred reviews. Lists are after the jump. Continue reading 2020 Newbery Possibilities through January Stars

January 2019 Starred Reviews

New year, new books! Last year’s awards have been named – time to turn our focus to to what’s being published in 2019. So far I’ve read Dragon Pearl and started SlayerWhat are the rest of the you reading?

January 2019 stars tally:

  • 218 books published in 2019 have been awarded 332 starred reviews as of the end of January. 1 book has 5 starred reviews, 8 books have 4 starred reviews, 13 books have 3 starred reviews, 60 books have 2 starred reviews, 136 books have 1 starred review.
  • 2 titles with 4 starred reviews are new; 4 titles have been added with 3 stars

Continue reading January 2019 Starred Reviews

2019 ALA Youth Media Award Results

On Monday, January 28 various sections and affiliates of the American Library Association gave out some of the biggest awards for children’s and young adult books from the previous year at the Youth Media Awards. Due to some unfortunate weather here in the Midwest, my program that was originally scheduled during the Youth Media Awards presentation was rescheduled and I got to watch live after all!

Some new awards were added this year – the American Indian Youth Literature Award (awarded only in even years so no new announcement this year); the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award, and the Sydney Taylor Book Award. When this was announced last year, I started adding these awards to my Award Winners spreadsheet so I knew they traditionally had named honor books. To my surprise, during the ceremony only winners were named and when I went to the links mentioned in the live webcast, I found the Sydney Taylor Awards had indeed named honors and notables as usual. I couldn’t locate the Asian/Pacific American Literature Award information for this year (it’s up now), but eventually found the honors via Twitter later in the day. I was disappointed to not see the honors included in the ceremony. An ALA representative has since responded to the criticism citing time constraints as the issue and noting the involvement of representatives from the affiliate organizations in the choice to only recognize the winners in the ceremony, but I still think it was the wrong decision. These awards deserve equal recognition – if they’re including honors for other awards, include the honors for these and trim time from the opening remarks or call for shorter blurbs or make the ceremony longer and adjust the conference schedule accordingly. I understand that some of these aren’t easy changes to make, but doing the right thing here is worth the effort.

Here’s a link to the press release with winners for all of the many awards named and the honors for most. My spreadsheet has been updated with this year’s information. Much gratitude goes towards the many, many committee members for each of these awards who serve without compensation and dedicate uncounted hours to reading and evaluating and discussing the books.

I’ve also added a link on the right to my spreadsheet of the 2018 Best Books lists from the six journals I track. Some year, I’ll finish that in time to help predict award chances, but this was not that year. Since I track Newbery and Printz contenders based on starred reviews, let’s see how the 2019 winners and honors fared with stars and best book lists.

Newbery Award:

Merci Suárez Changes Gears book cover

Winner: Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

book of boy book coverThe Night Diary book cover
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Starred reviews – 3: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Starred reviews – 3: Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Kirkus, SLJ

Printz Award

the poet x book cover

Winner: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Starred reviews – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Damsel book covera heart in a body in the world book coverI, Claudia book cover

Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Starred reviews – 2: Booklist, SLJ
Best lists – 1: Booklist

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Starred reviews – 4: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – none

I, Claudia by Mary McCoy
Starred reviews – 2: Booklist, Kirkus
Best lists – 2: Booklist, Kirkus

Some notes of interest:

  • I feel like I heard a fair amount of surprise online for Merci winning, but with 5 starred reviews, 4 best lists and being named a Kirkus Prize Finalist, this shouldn’t have been that big of a shock.
  • No one was surprised when The Poet X was announced – it’s been rolling through awards season picking up more and more acclaim. It was already the Teen Walter Award Winner, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Fiction Winner, the National Book Award Winner, and a Kirkus Prize Finalist. On Monday it not only picked up the Printz medal, but was also named an Odyssey Honor and the Pura Belpré Author Winner. That book is going to be covered in award stickers!
  • For only the second time, the Printz committee didn’t pick a full slate of honor books (they’re allowed up to 4) and what they did pick were some under the radar titles that hadn’t been getting tons of chatter. Booklist was the only journal to give stars to all three honors, but interestingly they didn’t star The Poet X!
  • As of the end of December there were 196 books with 3 starred reviews  or more. Not all of those 196 were eligible for either award, but even reducing that number based on eligiblity, I would never be able to read all of those in year and keep up with other pleasure reading. So, assuming you’re choosing from those 196 books to try and predict awards, combined with buzz, chances are that you would have read the Newbery books. For the Printz though, you would only be at half of the books named. I’m in awe of the number of books committee members must read (and re-read for the final discussions!) to come to these decisions.

I haven’t read any of the 2019 Newbery and Printz books yet although The Poet X is currently on my bedside table and Merci Suárez Changes Gears will be my next audiobook listen. I have read a smattering of the books honored by other committees. The award I was most delighted with was Sadie winning the Odyssey. That audiobook was amazing and destroyed me in the best possible way. When they had named the Odyssey honors, I sat at my desk quietly chanting “Sadie, Sadie, come on, be Sadie” and actually cheered when it was announced.

So that’s a wrap on this year’s awards. Stay tuned, 2020 contender talk will be coming soon!