Yesterday morning, the American Library Association announced the best books of the year for children and teens. I look forward to this annoucement all year because some of my favorite books of all time are Newbery winners (from Island of the Blue Dolphins to The View from Saturday), and as an elementary school kid I made an effort to read as many past winners as possible.
Over at A Fuse #8 Production (the School Library Journal-hosted blog), Betsy Bird wrote an interesting post about Newbery/Caldecott trends. For example, 2008 was The Year of Breaking Barriers (when awards went to Hugo Cabret and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) and last year was The Year of the Givens (The Lion and the Mouse and When You Reach Me). Bird accurately predicted that 2011 would be The Year of the Wild Cards.
Like many bloggers (including Bird), I was rooting for Rita Williams-Garcia to take home the big prize (the Newbery) for One Crazy Summer. BookPage interviewed Williams-Garcia back in February 2010 and praised the author's "gift for combining everyday settings with social commentary and wry wit." One Crazy Summer ended up receiving a Newbery Honor (nothing to frown on), along with the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, not to mention the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
The major surprises at the Youth Media Awards were that the Newbery and Caldecott went to a debut novelist and a debut picture book illustrator. Clare Vanderpool, the Newbery winner for Moon Over Manifest, a Depression-era story, lives in Kansas. Erin E. Stead, a 28-year-old illustrator in Ann Arbor, won the Caldecott for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which was written by her husband Philip.
Even though I was surprised by this year's announcement, I'm still happy with how things turned out. I haven't read Moon Over Manifest, but now I can't wait to get my hands on it. It's always fun to be introduced to new talent.
Were you surprised by this year's big winners? Excited?
Below the jump, find the list of winners and honorees for the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and Coretta Scott King Awards:
Newbery Medal "for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature":
Winner: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Honors: Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm; Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman; One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Caldecott Medal "for the most distinguished American picture book for children":
Winner: A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Honors: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier; Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award"recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults":
Curious about who will receive this year's Newbery and Caldecott Medals (and Honor distinctions)?
In 15 minutes (9:45 a.m. CST), you can watch a live webcast of the awards. Watch the webcast here.
For those who can't watch the webcast, we'll keep you posted on the winners.
At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts all struggle to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. Lord of Misrule follows five characters—scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain—through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia.
I’ll weep a little, without any sadness . . . when I’m standing at the rail of a horse race and the horses go by, especially if I’m watching some late closer make his move from many lengths back, or if a stalker slips into the lead in the stretch. It’s just visceral . . . I know all that’s wrong with horseracing and I still have this weakness.
Just for fun, at this link you can catch a hilarious video of Washington Post fiction critic Ron Charles joking about the ubiquity of the title "Lord of Misrule." (Start watching around 2:10.)
And because I couldn't resist, here's Patti Smith singing "Kimberly":
Last night, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation awarded 10 Whiting Awards. Since 1985, these honors have gone annually to emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays. The award comes with $50,000 and is "based on accomplishment and promise."
Though you may have never heard of some of the recipients, these people are writers to watch. For proof, just look at the list of past winners: Jonathan Franzen (1988), Justin Cronin (2002), Kim Edwards (2002), Daniel Alarcon (2004), Yiyun Li (2006), Allegra Goodman (1991), Michael Cunningham (1995) and many other best-selling authors and iterary superstars.
Michael Dahlie, A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living
Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Sightseeing
Lydia Peelle, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing (and a Nashville resident!)
Elif Batuman, The Possessed
Amy Leach, writing a book of essays about animals, plants and stars
Said Sayrafiezadeh, When Skateboards Will Be Free
Matt Donovan, Vellum
Jane Springer, Dear Blackbird
L. B. Thompson, Tendered Notes (a chapbook)
David Adjmi, Stunning
What other writers are on your "to-watch" list?
Pat Conroy announced the National Book Award Finalists today at the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia.
There are certainly some surprises on the list—small press representation; an absence of Jonathan Franzen; the presence of rocker Patti Smith—along with a few BookPage favorites, like Nicole Krauss, Lionel Shriver and Rita Williams-Garcia.
According to an announcement from the National Book Foundation, this year's bunch of Finalists includes 13 women—"the largest number of women Finalists in a single year in the Awards' history."
Without further ado, here is the list. Click the links to read BookPage reviews.
Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America (Knopf)
Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule (McPherson & Co.)
Nicole Krauss, Great House (Norton)
Lionel Shriver, So Much for That (Harper)
Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel (Coffee House Press)
Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea (Spiegel & Grau)
John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq
Patti Smith, Just Kids (Ecco)
Justin Spring, Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward (FSG)
Megan K. Stack, Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War (Doubleday)
Kathleen Graber, The Eternal City (Princeton University Press)
Terrance Hayes, Lighthead (Viking Penguin)
James Richardson, By the Numbers (Copper Canyon Press)
C.D. Wright, One with Others (Copper Canyon Press)
Monica Youn, Ignatz (Four Way Books)
Young People's Literature
Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker (Little, Brown & Co.)
Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird (Philomel Books)
Laura McNeal, Dark Water (Alfred A. Knopf)
Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown (Amistad)
Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer (Amistad)
Which books do you hope will win? What books did not make the list that should have?
Winners will be announced on November 17 in New York.
Another surprise prizewinner for the 2010 season: Howard Jacobson nabs the Man Booker Prize for The Finkler Question, just published today in the U.S.
Betting on the prize in the U.K. had to be closed early after they got a flood of bids on Tom McCarthy's C, but apparently Jacobson's novel exploring "what it means to be Jewish today in the UK" took the prize in a 3-2 vote. Andrew Motion, Chair judge of the committee, says that "The Finkler Question is a marvellous book: very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize" of 50,000 pounds (about $79,000).
Check back on Monday for an excerpt from the book—and a chance to win your own copy.
dark horse Mario Vargas Llosa, a 74-year-old Peruvian novelist whose work runs the gamut from plays to literary fiction to essays to mysteries (our Whodunit columnist, Bruce Tierney, reviewed his 2001 thriller The Feast of the Goat).
The Academy praised Llosa “for his cartography of the structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
Like the work of other recent Nobel winners, Llosa's writing often has a political angle—not surprising, considering his interest in the subject ran deep enough for him to launch an unsuccessful bid for the Peruvian presidency in 1990. He is currently working as a Latin American Studies professor at Princeton.
Anyone getting up early tomorrow to watch a webcast of the Nobel Prize announcement?
You can start getting excited for BookPage's "Best of 2010" lists—coming in December!
This past week has brought us news of two major awards:
Miéville's "The City & The City is a murder mystery, old-fashioned in its way, narrated by a tough-talking police investigator and layered with all the shadow and menace of a film noir." (BookPage, June 2009)
And how's this for premonition? From the September 2009 issue of BookPage: Bacigalupi's "The Windup Girl will almost certainly be the most important SF novel of the year for its willingness to confront the most cherished notions of the genre, namely that our future is bright and we will overcome our selfish, cruel nature."
Click here to read the complete list of Hugo winners. What SF&F book would you rank at the top?
The Man Booker Prize shortlist was announced on Sept. 7. The Man Booker honors the best novel (written in English) published by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe. Here's the shortlist, narrowed down from a longlist of 13:
Peter Carey for Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue for Room
Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy for The Long Song
Tom McCarthy for C
Each of these novels is currently available in hardcover, with the exception of The Finkler Question, which is available on a Kindle.
Got any predictions for the award? The big winner will be announced on October 12. (I'll admit that I'm rooting for Room.)
Here in Nashville, we're still mourning the loss of the RWA 2010 convention, but the RITA and Golden Heart winners have a lot to celebrate. We were especially pleased to see Kristan Higgins' Too Good to Be True get the nod for Best Contemporary Romance (read our interview with Higgins for The Next Best Thing). Former BookPage columnist Barbara O'Neal's The Lost Recipe for Happiness (read our review) took home the trophy for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Element.
Click on over to the RWA site for the full list of winners.