Category Archives: Awards

Early Newbery Possibilities

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

Additional criteria notes:

  • 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 Newbery committees as of late have been delightfully wide-ranging in their choices including everything from picture books to graphic novels to poetry to memoirs to non-fiction. So this year, I’m breaking up my lists a little differently. Looking at everything with three or more starred reviews from the six journals I track, I’m dividing titles into four lists. The first list is novels since even with the titles noted above, this is what makes up the majority of past Newbery winners and honors. The second list is everything else solidly in the age range: graphic novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry collections, etc. The third list is YA titles that technically hit the age range, but are probably too old. The fourth list is books that I think are ineligible – mostly due to nationality of the author, but there’s a few listed there for other reasons. To be clear: 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.

As of the end of March there were 71 titles with three or more starred reviews.

ETA 5/10/17: Please see the note towards the bottom of this post for some additional links and commentary on The Secret Project and Undefeated.
Continue reading Early Newbery Possibilities

Early Printz Possibilities

Now that the first quarter of starred reviews have all been entered let’s start breaking it down by award. First up, the Printz.

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.

Given these criteria, when I make my Printz list, I include anything that hits the 12-18 year age range in at least one review and has three or more starred reviews. For why I stick with three or more stars, see How Many Stars Does It Take to Catch a Printz? over on Someday My Printz Will Come However, given what historically is honored most of the time (novels in the upper part of the age range), I divide the list into two parts. The first part is “traditional” contenders and the second part is outliers with reasons why noted. Ignore the outliers at your own risk *cough*NavigatingEarly*cough*. Read on to see this year’s first list. Continue reading Early Printz Possibilities

Awards and Best Books and Stars, Oh My!

On Monday, January 23 various sections 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. I look forward to the Youth Media Awards every year – not much can get me out of bed that early in the morning, but the excitement just can’t be beat!

Part of why I started tracking starred reviews and best books was to try to read likely contenders, so let’s see how this year’s winners and honors stack up!

Newbery Award:

girlwhodrankthemoon

Winner: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Honors:
freedom_over_meinquisitorstalewolfhollow
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ

Printz Award

march_book_three
Winner: March, Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; Illustrated by Nate Powell
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Honors:
asking_for_itpassionofdolssascythesun_is_also_a_star

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
Starred reviews – 1: SLJ
Best lists – 1: SLJ

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, PW, SLJ

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 3: Kirkus, PW, SLJ

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

Caldecott Award

radiant_child
Winner: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Starred reviews – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ

Honors:
leave_me_alonefreedomincongosquaredu_iz_takthey_all_saw_a_cat
Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol
Starred reviews – 2: PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Horn Book, PW

Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Starred reviews – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, SLJ

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis
Starred reviews – 5: Booklist, Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW
Best lists – 4: Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel
Starred reviews – 3: Booklist, PW, SLJ
Best lists – 2: Booklist, SLJ

Some notes of interest:

  • Many of the titles with 5 starred reviews were honored this year, but none of the titles with 6 starred reviews were!
  • As usual, when there were 5 starred reviews, the Bulletin was the journal most likely to have abstained. In the case of March, Book Three I’m pretty sure they never even reviewed it although I would have to double check to be sure. This was a little more spread around than sometimes though – Kirkus didn’t star The Passion of Dolssa; SLJ didn’t star The Sun Is Also a Star or Du Iz Tak?; and Horn Book didn’t star Scythe or The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
  • Typically the starred reviews are the widest net of excellence, narrowed down into best books and then the awards only honor a handful of titles. However, Leave Me Alone by Vera Brosgol did not receive a starred review from Horn Book, but did make their Fanfare (best of the year) List.
  • Asking for It (1 star and list) and Leave Me Alone (2 stars and lists) are our annual reminder that starred reviews and best lists are far from perfect predictors and that the committee members read far more widely than most of us are able to do!

I read fewer books in 2016 than I have in quite awhile, but still managed to have read several of these before the awards. Trying to read up for the Mock Printz I participated in meant I read The Passion of Dolssa, Scythe and The Sun Is Also a Star; we picked The Passion of Dolssa as an honor book, but I thought all three were excellent. I listened to Wolf Hollow crying my eyes out at times and just finished the lovely The Girl Who Drank the Moon which I was halfway through at the time of the announcements. I haven’t really looked at any of the Caldecotts yet which is maybe not surprising since 11/12 of 2016 I was focused on teens!

Had you read any of these ahead of time? Which ones did you love? What books will you now be championing to readers yourself since they didn’t get awards?

I also encourage you to check out the many other awards that were announced at the Youth Media Awards – there are many other wonderful awards that focus on diverse titles or other formats that are well worth your while. You can see a list of some of them in my Award Winners spreadsheet.

Stay tuned for a post in the next week of 2017 titles that are already accumulating stars – maybe next year’s winners and honors will be among those! Happy reading!

National Book Award Longlist

national_book_longlist

Yesterday the Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature was announced. It’s interesting to me to think about how the criteria for the National Book Award stacks up against the criteria for the Newbery and Printz and against the number of starred reviews. Here’s a closer look.

Eligibility: The National Book Award pulls from titles published between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. I believe all of the ALA Awards, but definitely the Newbery and Printz, pull from the previous calendar year. So the 2016 National Book Award lists compare best to the 2017 ALA Youth Media Awards, but they don’t overlap completely.

Beyond publication date the only stated criteria for the National Book Award that I can find is that it must be written by an American citizen and published by an American publisher. This is actually stricter than the Newbery criteria which also allows for authors who are United States residents, but not citizens, and far stricter than the Printz criteria which only requires that a book be designated as Young Adult, available in print and distributed through a US publishing house.

Criteria: Other than that, the process is pretty vague leading me to wonder if each year the new committee gets to define their own criteria. If anyone else can find something similar to the Newbery Manual on the National Book website, please let me know!

Judges: This year, the Young People’s Literature judges are: William Alexander, Valerie Lewis, Ellen Oh, Katherine Paterson, and Laura Ruby. Per the SLJ post, they selected the longlist from 326 submissions.

The National Book Foundation also puts some pretty stringent conditions on the publishers who submit books. There’s a small fee to submit titles and if a title gets named as a Finalist? They must agree to “contribute $3,000 toward a promotional campaign…($750 for presses with income of under $10 million).” I don’t work for a publishing house, so I don’t know for sure, but I would suspect this means that they are choosy about what they submit meaning there are lower chances for outliers. Since the Foundation returned to having a youth award in 1996, I don’t think there’s been a single picture book or easy reader named. A tiny bit of poetry and a generous sprinkling of non-fiction are included, but the lion’s share of honored titles are novels.

So how does the 2016 Longlist fare with starred reviews and eligibility for the Newbery and Printz? For starters none of the four books that have received 6 starred reviews (so far) was a likely contender and none made the list. Frances Hardinge is British which knocks out The Lie Tree and both School’s First Day of School and Thunder Boy Jr. are picture books. I thought maybe Jazz Day had a chance, but no dice. Let’s analyze the titles that did make the list!

bookedAlexander, Kwame. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. April 2016.
Newbery: traditional contender; author is a previous winner
Printz: a little young for the Printz but within the criteria
Stars: 4 starred reviews from Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. The Bulletin recommended it without a star; SLJ reviewed it positively, but did not star it.

raymienightingaleDiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. Candlewick. April 2016.
Newbery: traditional contender; author is a previous winner
Printz: a little young for the Printz but within the criteria
Stars: One of only two of the books with 5 starred reviews to make the longlist – despite some others that I thought would be likely NBA contenders like The Passion of Dolssa. Starred reviews are from Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. The Bulletin recommended it without a star.

march_book_threeLewis, John and Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illustrated by Nate Powell. Top Shelf. August 2016.
Newbery: Probably too old; plus it’s the third in a trilogy which lowers its chances
Printz: right in the age range and they’ve honored sequels and graphic novels before.
Stars: 5 starred reviews from Booklist, Horn Book (not in the spreadsheet yet ’cause it’s in the Sep/Oct issue and I haven’t started entering September yet), Kirkus, Publishers Weekly (but in their adult section) and School Library Journal. The Bulletin has not yet reviewed this one – I’m not sure they’ve actually reviewed any of the March graphic novels.

whentheseaturnedtosilverLin, Grace. When the Sea Turned to Silver. Little, Brown. October 2016.
Newbery: traditional contender; previous honor for author; Can it escape the curse of being a “companion book”?
Printz: barely touches the Printz age range – not likely
Stars: 5 starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. Neither the Bulletin nor the Horn Book has reviewed this, but it’s a later pub date, so they’re probably coming.

when_the_moon_was_oursMcLemore, Anna-Marie. When the Moon Was Ours. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne. October 2016.
Newbery: upper age range; unlikely
Printz: traditional contender; previous Morris honor
Stars: 2 starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, but it hasn’t been reviewed at all by Booklist, the Bulletin, Horn Book or Publishers Weekly yet, so there may be more to come.

burnbabyburnMedina, Meg. Burn Baby Burn. Candlewick. March 2016.
Newbery: upper age range; unlikely
Printz: traditional contender
Stars: 4 starred reviews from Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus and School Library Journal. The Bulletin recommended it without a star; Publishers Weekly reviewed it with no star.

paxPennypacker, Sara. Pax. illustrated by Jon Klassen. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. February 2016.
Newbery: traditional contender
Printz: barely touches the age range – unlikely
Stars: 4 starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. The Bulletin recommended it without a star; the Horn Book reviewed it with no star.

ghostReynolds, Jason. Ghost. Simon & Shuster/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy. August 2016.
Newbery: traditional contender
Printz: bottom of the age range
Stars: 4 starred reviews from Booklist (Sep – not in spreadsheet), Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal (Sep – not in spreadsheet). Neither the Bulletin nor the Horn Book has reviewed it.

sachikoStelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. Carolrhoda. October 2016.
Newbery: non-fiction so less likely, but right in the age range
Printz: non-fiction has not been doing well lately
Stars: 2 starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal – both in September issues. Kirkus and Publishers Weekly reviewed with no stars. Neither the Bulletin nor the Horn Book has reviewed it.

sun_is_also_a_starYoon, Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. Random House/Delacorte. November 2016.
Newbery: upper age range; unlikely
Printz: traditional contender
Stars: 3 starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly (Sep – not in spreadsheet). School Library Journal reviewed without a star. Neither the Bulletin nor the Horn Book has reviewed it.

A few things to note:

  • Candlewick is the only publisher with two titles on the list.
  • Publication dates range from February to November with October being the most popular month at three titles.
  • None of the October/November titles have been reviewed by the Horn Book or Bulletin yet and I expect reviews of at least some of them to still be coming – especially with the National Book Award attention.
  • 2 have 5 starred reviews; 5 have 4; 1 has 3 and 2 have 2 – however with reviews still to come on several it’s hard to know how that will shake out. March, Book Three (5 stars); When the Sea Turned to Silver (4 stars); When the Moon Was Ours (2 stars) and Ghost (4 stars) have all received stars from every journal that’s reviewed them so far.
  • We have five traditional contenders for the Newbery and three traditional contenders for the Printz. March, Book Three would be an outlier for the Printz as both a graphic novel and third in a trilogy, but both graphics and sequels have been honored before. Non-fiction has not been faring well with either award so Sachiko‘s chances aren’t great. Raymie Nightingale is the only one that I think has even a chance of double recognition from both the Printz and the Newbery, but you never really know. Pretty much everything has been reviewed such that it touches the age range for both awards.

The only one of these I’ve personally read is Burn Baby Burn which I found to be excellent. Anyone else have a favorite they’re pulling for to make the Shortlist or win it all? In the meantime, I’m off to track some of these down.

Happy Reading!