One-Minute Book Reviews

January 30, 2009

National Book Critics Circle Judges Snub Toni Morrison and Joseph O’Neill in Announcing Finalists for Awards

Filed under: Book Awards,News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:11 pm
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Just before the American Library Association named the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals that have preoccupied me for much of this week, the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its annual awards in six categories: fiction, poetry, criticism, biography, general nonfiction and autobiography or memoir. The big news this year is the books that aren’t on the list: Toni Morrison’s A Mercy and Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland. Both novels have won stellar reviews, and I predicted that O’Neill would win this one. (Neither book made the shortlist for the 2008 National Book Awards, either, but A Mercy came out after the deadline for entries.) Read the list of NBCC finalists and tell me what you think.

Good Valentine’s Day Poems for Children With All the Words Online

Filed under: Children's Books — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:19 am
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More than a dozen poems appear in 'Valentine's Day'

Ages 4–8
At a certain age children love to know secrets, and Valentine’s Day lets them show it. An example: The following two out-of-copyright lines appear in “To a Baby Boy,” collected in Songs and Other Verse, by the American children’s poet Eugene Field (1850–1895):

Who I am I shall not say,
But I send you this bouquet

Children could attach the lines to a bouquet — or to a drawing (or sticker collage) of flowers — for an easy-to-make free card.

Ages 9–12
Tweens and older children may be embarrassed by overtly romantic sentiments, yet still want or need to send Valentine’s Day cards. The complete works of the Elizabethan poet Michael Drayton (1563–1631) include four out-of-copyright lines that might be sufficiently neutral:

Muse, bid the Morn awake!
Sad Winter now delines,
Each bird doth choose a mate;
This day’s Saint Valentine’s.

Teenagers
Teenagers who believe they are desperately in love can find many appropriate poems online. Among the best-known: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s iambic pentameter sonnet “How Do I Love Thee?” (Sonnet 43), which begins:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.

This much-parodied poem has become a cliché to many adults but doesn’t sound trite to teenagers hearing it for the first time (and might inspire some to have fun writing their own parodies). The same goes for the lyrics to that Beatles’s toe-tapper, “When I’m Sixty-Four”:

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

You can hear Paul McCartney singing this one on YouTube by searching for “When I’m Sixty-Four” + “lyrics” (though I’m not linking to it because I’m not convinced that any versions of the song on YouTube are legal).

Other good poems and ways to celebrate the day appear in Ann Heinrich’s Valentine’s Day: Holidays, Festivals, & Celebrations (The Child’s World, 2006), illustrated by Sharon Holm, and other books.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

‘There Is No Way to Measure the Destructive Effect of Sports Broadcasting on Ordinary American English’ (Quote of the Day / Edwin Newman)

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:36 am
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Part of the fun of watching the Super Bowl lies in the theater-of-the-absurd quality of so much the commentary. How often will we hear today that a team down by 21 points has to “move the football downfield” and “put some points on the board”? At least as often as we hear during the World Series that a team behind by five runs has to “put some wood on the ball” and “score some runs.”

When former athletes arrived, so did, "They came to play football."

It wasn’t always so, the former NBC newscaster Edwin Newman says in Strictly Speaking: Will America Be the Death of English? (Warner, 1975):

“There is no way to measure the destructive effect of sports broadcasting on ordinary American English, but it must be considerable. In the early days sports broadcasting was done, with occasional exceptions such as Clem McCarthy, by non-experts, announcers. Their knowledge of the sports they described varied, but their English was generally of a high order. If they could not tell you much about the inside of the game they were covering, at any rate what they did tell you you could understand.

“Then came the experts, which is to say the former athletes. They could tell you a great deal about the inside, but — again with some exceptions — not in a comprehensible way. They knew the terms the athletes themselves used, and for a while that added color to the broadcasts. But the inside terms were few, and the nonathlete announcers allowed themselves to be hemmed in by them – ‘He got good wood on that on,’ ‘He got the big jump,’ ‘He really challenged him on that one,’ ‘They’re high on him,’ ‘They came to play,’ ‘He’s really got the good hands,’ and ‘That has to be,’ as in ‘That has to be the best game Oakland has ever played.’

“The effect is deadening, on the enjoyment to be had from watching sports on television or reading about them, and, since sports make up so large a part of American life and do so much to set its tone, on the language we see and hear around us.”

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

January 29, 2009

Fed Up With the Low Writing Levels in High-Priced Books? The Delete Key Awards Finalists Will Be Announced on Feb. 26, 2009

Filed under: Delete Key Awards,News,Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 1:01 pm
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“Just before the ax fell, lightning struck and my life changed, never to be the same again.”
From Barbara Walters’s Audition

Clichés, bad grammar and psychobabble in self-help books. Inanity in memoirs by athletes, politicians and movie stars. Dumbing-down in bestselling novels written at a third- or fourth-grade reading level.

These are bad enough when the nation is economically healthy. They may sting more painfully when, in a recession, many books are overpriced.

Had enough? You can nominate offenders for a 2009 Delete Key Award for bad writing by leaving a comment on this or any other post related to the awards. One-Minute Book Reviews will announce the finalists on Feb. 26 and the winners on March 15. (Remember that I need time to verify quotes you submit or to check out candidates you suggest.) A list of possible finalists appeared in the Oct. 8, 2008, post, “Which Is Worse, the Stock Market or the Writing in This Year’s Books?” For more on the awards, click on the red tag at the top of this post that says “Delete Key Awards” or on “Delete Key Awards” under “Categories” at right.

Thank you for visiting One-Minute Book Reviews, a site for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

Editor’s note: I review books for children and teenagers on Saturdays and occasionally at other times (as earlier this week after the American Library Association named the winners of its annual Newbery and Caldecott medals). So a lot of students visit this site. Can you explain to the kids what’s wrong with the Barbara Walters quote above?

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

January 28, 2009

2009 Caldecott Honor Book ‘A River of Words’ Introduces the Poet William Carlos Williams, Whose First Book Sold Four Copies

William Carlos Williams broke with the traditions of Longfellow and others.

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams. By Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 32 pp., $17. Ages 7 and up.

By Janice Harayda

Melissa Sweet says in a note at the end of this book that her “Brownie troupe” once visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art. That gaffe is, alas, all too typical of this runner-up for the title of “the most distinguished American picture book for children.”

Jen Bryant has written a lively but unexceptional introduction to the life of William Carlos Williams (1883—1963), who combined practicing medicine in a New Jersey suburb with writing experimental verse that broke with the classical traditions of 19th-century lions like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. A River of Words is the rare book for its age group that shows a man — not a woman — balancing multiple roles.

Williams’s best-known book of poetry, the multivolume Paterson, is often called collage of that city. And Sweet tries hard to apply the artistic counterpart of that technique. Working with mixed media, she combines watercolors and items from Williams’s world: a map, a report card, sheet music, pages from an anatomy book, the stationery from his medical office.

The poet Sara London wrote diplomatically in the New York Times Book Review that Sweet’s pictures are “playfully distracting – the eye hops sparrowlike from leaf to leaf, uncertain where to settle.” At times the images are so frenetic, they’re confusing. On one spread, the left-hand page shows Williams sitting at his desk writing poetry as a boy. The right-hand page shows in childlike handwriting the first lines of his poem “Pastoral”: “The little sparrows / hop ingenuously / about the pavement / quarreling.” The juxtaposition suggests that Williams wrote the poem as a child when, in fact, he wrote it in early adulthood.

Some people have criticized the American Library Association for not honoring enough poetry, and they have a point. The ALA has snubbed prize-worthy books like Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant, which combines wonderful pictures by Carin Berger with some of the best recent work by Jack Prelutsky, the popular children’s poet.

But giving a 2009 Honor Book citation to A River of Words was doing the right thing — showing respect for poetry — for the wrong reason. A River of Words deserves a place in many libraries and bookstores for its spirited and in some ways successful portrait of what it takes to succeed as a poet. That is different from deserving a place on the medal stand.

Best line/picture: A chronology of Williams’s life at the end of the book includes this event for 1909: “His first verse collection Poems is printed and published by a friend. It sells only four copies.” The line is incorrectly punctuated – Poems should be set off by commas – but it offers a healthy jolt of shock therapy to would-be poets.

Worst line/picture: From the illustrator’s note at the end: “Living in northern New Jersey (not too far from where Williams grew up in Rutherford), my Brownie troupe took a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.”

Furthermore: A River of Words won a 2009 Caldecott Honor citation. The book has the full text of Williams’s most famous poem, “The Red Wheelbarrow”, and five others: “The Woodthrush,” “The Great Figure,” “Metric Figure,” “This Is Just to Say”, and “Pastoral.” It has excerpts from “Complaint,” “The Descent of Winter” and “Part X, Pictures from Brueghel.” All of the poems appear on the endpapers.

About the authors: Jen Bryant lives in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania. Melissa Sweet lives in Rockport, Maine.

Janice Harayda is an award-winning critic who has been the book editor of the Plain Dealer and a vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle www.bookcritics.org.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

January 27, 2009

Kadir Nelson Celebrates Titans Like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson in His 2009 Coretta Scott King Award-Winner, ‘We Are the Ship’

A California author has won two children’s-book prizes for his account of the days when black baseball teams sometimes had to sleep in jails or funeral homes because hotels wouldn’t rent rooms to them

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. By Kadir Nelson. Foreword by Hank Aaron. Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, 88 pp., $18.99. Ages 8 and up.

By Janice Harayda

Remembering Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and other titans

Quiz time, all of you who see yourself as experts on children’s literature: When was the last time you read a picture book that had a story told through first-person plural narration? Or that used original oil paintings for art instead of watercolors, collages, pen-and-ink drawings, or other more popular picture book media?

If you don’t know, you may have a sense of why Kadir Nelson has just won two major awards for We Are the Ship, an illustrated history of Negro League baseball. Nelson relies entirely on plural narration — a down-to-earth variation on the royal “we” — to tell the story of the black ballplayers who had to compete against themselves in a segregated America. And he illustrates his text with dozens of full-page oil paintings of celebrated players, owners, managers and umpires.

We Are the Ship reflects lapses you wouldn’t expect in an award-winning book, and Kevin Baker described some in his review in the New York Times Book Review. But it brims with vibrant details served up in a relaxed and conversational tone, all woven into stories you might hear from a ballplayer with his feet up on your porch in the off-season.

George “Mule” Suttles isn’t as well known today as Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and other Negro League titans. But Nelson shows you his appeal in a few sentences:

“We had a fellow named George ‘Mule’ Suttles, who played for the Newark Eagles. He was a big ’un. We used to say he hit the ball like a mule kicks. Fans would yell, ‘Kick, Mule, kick!’ and he’d take a great big swing like, Babe Ruth. He’d even thrill you when he struck out. Darn near screwed himself into the ground when he struck out.”

Nelson might have prevented some confusion if had he said up front that he was writing in “a collective voice, the voice of every player” instead of describing this postmodern device in an author’s note on page 80 that many children may never read. And some of his language may be anachronistic for a speaker of its day. (Would a player in the early decades of the 20th century have said “kinda,” “Hall of Famer” and “The man was awesome”?) The art is slick enough that paging through this book is a a bit like viewing a collection of high-quality movie stills.

Even so, We Are the Ship is informative and entertaining. Nelson shows the cruelty faced by players who at times had to sleep at the local jail or funeral home because they couldn’t afford rooms on the road or hotels would rent only to whites. But he balances such stories with lighter ones that keep his book from becoming bleak. How much of the fun has gone out of baseball in the era of steroids, big money and free agents? Nelson offers a clue when he reminds us that, in the early days of Negro baseball, Lloyd “Pepper” Basset used to catch some games in a rocking chair.

Best line: Manager Andrew “Rube” Foster sent signals to his pitchers from the dugout instead of having his catchers send them: “He’d puff signals from his pipe or nod his head one way to signal a play. One puff, fastball. Two puffs, curveball. Things like that.”

Worst line: No. 1: “The average major league player’s salary back then [in the 1940s] was $7,000 per month.” Dave Anderson of the New York Times, perhaps the greatest living baseball writer, says in The Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s (co-authored with Rudy Marzanot) that it was $7,000 a year, not a month. No. 2: Nelson says that the Depression–era numbers game (which involved betting on random numbers that would appear on stock-market pages or elsewhere): “Back then, it was a 100 percent illegal business; but nowadays it’s known as the lottery, and it’s run by the government.” This line is glib and misleading. The numbers racket and state lotteries have always been separate.

Recommendation? We Are the Ship has the format of a coffee-table book and, although marketed to children, may appeal also to adults.

Published: January 2008. We Are the Ship is the No. 1 children’s baseball book on Amazon.

Furthermore: Nelson lives in southern California. His first name is pronounced Kah-DEER.

On Monday We Are the Ship won the 2009 Coretta Scott King Award, which the American Library Association gives to “to African American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions.” The book also received the Robert F. Sibert Medal for “the most distinguished informational book” for young readers.

One-Minute Book Reviews is for people who like to read but dislike hype and review inflation.

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

2009 Caldecott Medal Honors an Attractive But Derivative Book — ALA Judges Play It Safe by Choosing the Poetry of ‘The House in the Night’

Beth Krommes used scratchboard and watercolor for 'The House in the Night.'

The House in the Night. By Susan Marie Swanson. Illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin, 40 pp., $17. Ages 2–5.

By Janice Harayda

This lovely and thoroughly inoffensive 2009 Caldecott award–winner should hearten anybody who sees the American Library Association as a hotbed of Communists who keep trying to sneak into kids’ hands books on dangerous topics like sex education and environmentalism. The House in the Night is pretty as can be but shows the ALA in full retreat from the days when it gave medals to trailblazing books like The Little House, Where the Wild Things Are and Jumanji.

There’s no doubt that as the financial maelstrom rages, many people will welcome this gentle story about the comforts of home in the darkness. As night falls, a young girl receives a key to a tidy house that has glowing lamp. She enters and finds on a bed a book about a dove-like bird that carries her on its wings toward the moon and back to a home “full of light.”

None of the action in this tale has a catalyst that is remotely upsetting or disturbing, such as Max’s getting sent to bed without his supper in Where the Wild Things Are. Susan Marie Swanson found the inspiration for this cumulative story in one of the nursery rhymes collected by the estimable Iona and Peter Opie (“This is the key of the kingdom: / In that kingdom is a city”). And although nursery rhymes can be sadistic, this book minds its manners. Swanson tells her story in short-lined poetry so low keyed, most critics seem to have missed it despite lines like “the house in the night / a home full of light.”

Beth Krommes’s illustrations have a minimalist color palette unusually sophisticated for a picture book. Krommes uses just three colors – black, white and yellow – and watercolor and scratchboard techniques that give the art the look of wood engravings. She also reduces her images to essentials: a cat, a doll, a brush, teddy bears, sweaters in a bedroom drawer. Her “house in the night” is a cottage — the roof appears thatched — that could have come from a benevolent fairy tale. Even the sun has a smiling face with long eyelashes. The girl soars on her bird’s wings over a pastoral landscape that, the cars suggest, belongs to the 1940s.

All of these scenes have a cozy familiarity – too much of it for a Caldecott winner. Everything in this derivative book reminds you of something else. That brush in the bedroom? Goodnight Moon. That color palette? Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats. The structure of the story? “This Is the House That Jack Built.”

The borrowed elements in The House in the Night generally work well together and add up to a good book. But you expect more than good from the winner of the Caldecott Medal, awarded to “the most distinguished American picture book for children.” You expect greatness, or at least a higher level of originality – the boldness of winners like Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House, which dealt with suburban sprawl decades before it became fashionable, or David Macaulay’s Black and White, which wove together multiple plots in way new to picture books.

The House in the Night leaves you wondering if the Caldecott judges wanted to find the best book, or just to administer a dose of bibliotherapy to a nation that needs it. You also wonder if the committee overreacted to recent criticisms that the ALA awards don’t honor enough poetry by honoring a book some may not recognize as poetry at all. And why are the organization’s judges such suckers for books about reading? This pattern goes back at least to the 1991 Newbery for Maniac Magee. But books about the power of reading aren’t inherently worthier of awards than those about plumbing or red-tailed hawks: Everything depends on the execution.

Certainly the Caldecott committee snubbed books as award-worthy as this one, including Pale Male and The Little Yellow Leaf. For all its virtues, The House in the Night has nothing so unusual about it that schools and libraries need to have it, the way they do need have the 2008 winner, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which has strong and unique merits. Oddly enough, if the Caldecott judges wanted to help a nation in financial turmoil, they did it, but not in the intended way: They selected a book that no one needs to rush out to buy.

Best line/picture: “the house in the night / a home full of light.”

Worst line/picture: This book depicts cars more than a half century old but a lamp that looks inspired by the latest Pottery Barn catalog.

Published: May 2008

About the authors: Swanson is an award-winning poet in St. Paul, Minnesota. Krommes is an illustrator in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

You may also want to read “American Library Association to Little Kids: Women Are Second Best,” a response to the medals gap between male and female Caldecott winners.

Janice Harayda is an award-winning journalist and former vice-president for Awards of the National Book Critics Circle.

© Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
www.janiceharayda.com

January 26, 2009

Complete List of 2009 Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Sibert, Alex and Other American Library Association Award-Winners and Honor Books

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 3:52 pm
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Neil Gaiman has won the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book, illustrated by Dave McKean, for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The House in the Night, written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes, has won the 2009 Caldecott Medal for “the most distinguished American picture book for children.” The American Library Association announced the awards today in Denver.

The others who won medals or Honor Book citations are:

Newbery Honor Books:

The Underneath, by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, by Margarita Engle

Savvy, by Ingrid Law

After Tupac & D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson

Caldecott Honor Books:
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, written and illustrated by Marla Frazee

How I Learned Geography, written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

Melina Marchetta, author of Jellicoe Road

Printz Honor Books:

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II, The Kingdom on the Waves, by M.T. Anderson

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart

Nation, by Terry Pratchett

Tender Morsels, by Margo Lanagan

Coretta Scott King Book Award to an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson

The Blacker the Berry, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, written by Joyce Carol Thomas, is the King Illustrator Book winner.

King Author Honor Books:

The Blacker the Berry, by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Keeping the Night Watch, by Hope Anita Smith, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Becoming Billie Holiday, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

King Illustrator Honor Books:

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson

Before John Was a Jazz Giant, by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Sean Qualls

The Moon Over Star, by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award.

Shadra Strickland, illustrator of Bird, written by Zetta Elliott, is the Steptoe winner.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody the artistic expression of the disability experience for young readers:

Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum, written and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker

Leslie Connor won the middle-school award for Waiting for Normal.

Jonathan Friesen won the teen award for Jerk, California

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers:

Are You Ready to Play Outside?, written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Geisel Honor Books:

Chicken said, ‘Cluck!,” by Judyann Ackerman Grant, illustrated by Sue Truesdell

One Boy, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Stinky, written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator, by Sarah C. Campbell, with photographs by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:

Laurie Halse Anderson is the recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens for Catalyst, Fever 1793, Speak,

Pura Belpre Awards to Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books:

Just in Case, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, is the winner of the 2009 Belpre Illustrator Award.

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom, by Margarita Engle, is the winner of the 2009 Belpre Author Award.

Belpre Illustrator Honor Books:

Papa and Me, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, written by Arthur Dorros

The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos, illustrated by Lulu Delacre, written by Lucia Gonzalez

What Can You Do with a Rebozo?, illustrated by Amy Cordova, written by Carmen Tafolla

Belpre Author Honor Books:

Just in Case, written by Yuyi Morales

Reaching Out, written by Francisco Jimenez

The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos, written by Lucia Gonzalez

Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children:

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball,by author and illustrator Kadir Nelson

Sibert Honor Books:

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and Rediscovery of The Past, by James M. Deem

What to Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!, written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video:

Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly of Weston Woods Studios, producers of March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the U.S. and translated into English for publication here:

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, originally published in Japanese, written by Nahoko Uehashi and translated by Cathy Hirano

Batchelder Honor Books:

Garmann’s Summer, originally published in Norwegian, written by Stian Hole, translated by Don Bartlett

Tiger Moon, originally published in German, written by Antonia Michaelis, translated by Anthea Bell

Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production:

Recorded Books, producer of the audiobook The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, written and narrated by Sherman Alexie

Odyssey Honor Audiobooks:

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady, written by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren

Elijah of Buxton, written by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by Mirron Willis

I’m Dirty!, written by Kate and Jim McMullan, narrated by Steve Buscemi

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, written and narrated by Carmen Agra Deedy

Nation,written by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

City of Thieves, by David Benioff

The Dragons of Babel, by Michael Swanwick

Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferrari

The Good Thief, by Hannah Tinti

Just After Sunset: Stories, by Stephen King

Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan

Over and Under, by Todd Tucker

The Oxford Project, by Stephen G. Bloom, photographed by Peter Feldstein

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow, published by Harper

Three Girls and Their Brother, by Theresa Rebeck

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture “recognizing an individual who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature, and then present the lecture at a winning host site”:

Kathleen T. Horning, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC).

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to an author or illustrator whose books are published in the United States and have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children:

Ashley Bryan, whose works include Dancing Granny, Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum, and Beautiful Blackbird.

William C. Morris Award:

A Curse Dark as Gold, written by Elizabeth C. Bunce

More information on all of the awards appears on the American Library Association Web site.

© 2009 Janice Haraydal All rights reserved.

Newbery and Caldecott Medals Don’t Determine the Long-Term Fate of a Children’s Book (Quote of the Day / Barbara Barstow)

How much difference will Newbery and Caldecott medals make to the winners named today? In the short run, a lot. Newbery and Caldecott medalists typically become bestsellers. They also gain prestige and a longer life on bookstore and library shelves.

But do medals determine the ultimate fate of a book? Not according to former Newbery judge Barbara Barstow, the retired head of youth services for the Cuyahoga County Public Library System and co-author of Beyond Picture Books: Subject Access to Best Books for Beginning Readers (Libraries Unlimited, 2007).

As the book editor of the Plain Dealer, I interviewed Barstow about children’s books that didn’t win a Newbery or Caldecott medal, including Charlotte’s Web. E.B. White’s classic earned an Honor Book citation but lost the top prize to Ann Nolan Clark’s Secret of the Andes.

“How do I feel about that?” Barstow asked. “I feel it was very tragic. But it didn’t matter ultimately because children made E. B. White immortal. Secret of the Andes is still there, and it’s like putting teeth to get a child to read it. If we make mistakes, the children rectify them.”

© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

2009 Newbery and Caldecott Awards Live NOW Here

Filed under: Uncategorized — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 11:23 am

Update: This Twitter feed died in the middle of the awards. It has the Sibert, Batchelder and other awards only.

Live now! The 2009 Newbery and Caldecott and other awards are being announced in real time right now at www.twitter.com/alayma/. I will begin listing the results in a continuously updated post in a few minutes.

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