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Monday, January 29, 2007

ALA Award books announced

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007

American Library Association announces literary award winners

SEATTLE – The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books and video for children and young adults - including the Caldecott, King, Newbery and Printz awards - at its Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

A list of all the 2007 literary award winners follows:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature

“The Higher Power of Lucky,” written by Susan Patron, is the 2007 Newbery Medal winner. The book is illustrated by Matt Phelan and published by Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: “Penny from Heaven,” written by Jennifer L. Holm and published by Random House; “Hattie Big Sky,” by Kirby Larson, published by Delacorte Press; and “Rules,” by Cynthia Lord, published by Scholastic.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children

“Flotsam,” illustrated by David Wiesner, is the 2007 Caldecott Medal winner. The wordless book is published by Clarion.

Two Caldecott Honor Books were named: “Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet,” written and illustrated by David McLimans, and published by Walker, and “Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Hyperion/Jump at the Sun.

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

“American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang is the 2007 Printz Award winner. The book is published by First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

Four Printz Honor Books were named: “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; v. 1: The Pox Party” by M. T. Anderson, published by Candlewick; “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.; “Surrender” by Sonya Hartnett, published by Candlewick Press; and “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

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

“Copper Sun,” written by Sharon Draper, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Simon & Schuster/Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

One King Author Honor Book was selected: “The Road to Paris” written by Nikki Grimes and published by G.P. Putnum’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

“Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children.

Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “Jazz,” illustrated by Christopher Myers, written by Walter Dean Myers and published by Holiday House, Inc.; and “Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes” illustrated by Benny Andrews, edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad, and published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

“Standing Against the Wind,” written by Traci L. Jones is the Steptoe winner. The book is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody the artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences

“The Deaf Musicians,” written by Pete Seeger and poet Paul DuBois Jacobs, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons wins the award for children ages 0 to 10. “Rules,” written by Cynthia Lord and published by Scholastic Press is the winner in the middle-school category (age 11-13). “Small Steps,” written by Louis Sachar and published by Delacorte Press, is the winner in the teen category (age 13-18).

Theodor Seuss Geisel Beginning Reader Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book

“Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways,” written and illustrated by Laura McGee Kvasnosky is the Geisel Award winner. The book is published by Candlewick Press.

Three Geisel Honor Books were named: “Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride,” written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen and published by Candlewick Press; “Move Over, Rover!” written by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by Jane Dyer and published by Harcourt, Inc.; and “Not a Box,” written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis and published by HarperCollins.

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

Lois Lowry, author of “The Giver,” is the 2007 Edwards Award winner. “The Giver” is published by Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin Company.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children

Author-illustrator James Marshall is the 2007 Wilder Award winner. Marshall was the author and illustrator of the “George and Martha” books, the “Fox” easy reader series, “The Cut-Ups” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children

“Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon,” written by Catherine Thimmesh, is the 2007 Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Houghton.

Three Sibert Honor Books were named: “Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement,” written by Ann Bausum and published by National Geographic; “Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea,” written by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop and published by Houghton; and “To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel,” written by Siena Cherson Siegel, artwork by Mark Siegel and published by Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson (hardcover) and Simon & Schuster/Aladdin.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children's video

Author/illustrator Mo Willems and Weston Woods Studios, producers of “Knuffle Bunny,” are the 2007 Carnegie Medal winners. The DVD is based on Willems’ book “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” and is performed by Willems, his wife Cheryl and their daughter Trixie. It is directed and animated by MaGiK Studio, with music by Scotty Huff and Robert Reynolds.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States

Delacorte Press is the winner of the 2007 Batchelder Award for “The Pull of the Ocean.” Originally published in France in 1999 as “L’enfant OcĂ©an,” the book was written by Jean-Claude Mourlevat and translated by Y. Maudet.

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “The Killer’s Tears,” published by Delacorte Press, and “The Last Dragon,” published by Hyperion/Miramax.

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

“The Book of Lost Things,” written by John Connolly and published by Simon & Schuster/Atria
“The Whistling Season,” written by Ivan Doig and published by Harcourt
“Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe, and A High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska,” written by Michael D’Orso and published by Bloomsbury
“Water for Elephants,” written by Sara Gruen and published by Algonquin
“Color of the Sea,” written by John Hamamura and published by Thomas Dunne
“The Floor of the Sky,” written by Pamela Carter Joern and published by the University of Nebraska
“The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” written by Michael Lewis and published by Norton
“Black Swan Green,” written by David Mitchell and published by Random House
“The World Made Straight,” written by Ron Rash and published by Henry Holt
“The Thirteenth Tale,” written by Diane Setterfield and published by Simon & Schuster/Atria

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time - Lisa Yee

Finally, I finished Stanford Wong which I have started and interrupted several times this year. Things just keep coming up, you know? Anyway, it was awesome. I loved Millicent Mi,n Girl Genius, which is Lisa Yee's companion novel to this book, but I really think this book is much funnier. You may have heard me say before that for me as a reader, character development is the most important element of a book, and Stanford Wong is QUITE a character. He's hilarious and he can be quite serious, as well. But mostly he's hilarious.

Stanford isn't so big into schoolwork. He's into basketball. Which is why he's the first 6th grader who ever got placed on the top team for Rancho Rosetta Middle School. And he is SO excited about it. He's all ready to go to summer basketball camp where he can learn even more about how to be a great basketball player. Unfortunately, he doesn't pass his English class, and so instead of going to basketball camp, Stanford gets to go to summer school. Let's just say he's less than enthusiastic. If he doesn't pass summer school, he's going to get kicked off the team!

But this is not the worst of Stanford's summer, it's really just the beginning. For one thing, his grandmother's getting senile and she has to go live in a care facility instead of with Stanford's family where she's been living. You could say that like Stanford about summer school, Yin-Yin, his grandmother, is less than enthusiastic about the move. And then there's the thing of his parents fighting all the time and his dad never having anything good to say about him. Plus he's lying to his friends the Roadrunners about the whole summer school thing but Digger, the bully of the group, somehow finds out. Not good. And worst of all, his parents arrange for MILLICENT MIN, of all people, to tutor him. Less than enthusiastic...

One thing Stanford does get enthusiastic about is Emily Ebers, Millicent Min's very cute friend. Oh, yeah, he's VERY enthusiastic about her. But does she just like him or does she LIKE like him?

Just as Millicent Min gets herself into quite a pickle by lying to people around her - that always seems to blow up in your face, have you noticed? - Stanford Wong ends up in a pretty fine mess as well. Have you ever heard this quote from Sir Walter Scott, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."? Yeah, that pretty much sums up both Millicent and Stanford. You will have to read this book to find out if and how they manage to get untangled. And when you do read it, you'll also get some fine recommendations for other books to read from none other than Stanford himself, who I will tell you, actually starts to LIKE books. Maybe not LIKE like, but at least like. Miracles never cease.

This was a really delightful book, and I would highly recommend both Millicent Min, Girl Genius and Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time by Lisa Yee.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sticky Fingers - Niki Burnham

Earlier this year I read a couple of Niki Burnham books that were lots of fun but nowhere near seeming like they could be true. This story was completely different from those. It's almost a little bit too real. As a grown up, what happens in this story worries me, although I do think it's a really powerful and important story to tell. The book deals with mature topics, so it's definitely for older readers, both girls and boys, and I haven't yet decided if I'm going to get it for our middle school, but for now you can get it at the public library which was where I picked it up.

This is the story of Jenna, a high school senior who works really, really hard at school and at being "in control" of her life. Jenna is super smart - she knows what she wants for herself, and she knows she doesn't want anything to get in the way of her plans. Once she gets early acceptance to Harvard for college, a lot of people think she should just sit back, relax, enjoy life a little. And Jenna thinks on the one hand that they're right. In the other, she's afraid if she lets go just a little bit, it's all going to go up in smoke. And then suddenly it does. Jenna has one drink at a party, and her life spins wildly out of control in the space of an instant.

The good news is, Jenna learns some really valuable lessons about relationships and the importance of not trying to get through everything by yourself as a result of what happens to her. The bad news is, they're hard lessons and they hurt. Jenna's story needs to be told, and hopefully readers will learn some of these important lessons the easy way (by reading the book).

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl - Tanya Lee Stone

*If you were the person who sent me a comment asking me about this novel - it's available at Multnomah County libraries. You didn't put your name in the question, so I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you personally.*

This book has way too much sexual stuff to have in our library, but there were some things I really liked about this book. It's a novel told in poetry, and if you've never read a novel in poetry form, I think you're missing out. Out of the Dust is the best one ever, and Sonya Sones and Sharon Creech also have some good ones. They read really quickly and because poets don't have a lot of words to spare, they get right to the heart of the matter. No time or words are wasted. I really love novels in poetry form.

This book is really three girls' stories that are all intertwined and connected by one boy. One boy who drives girls crazy and makes them do or want to do things they really know they shouldn't or they can't ever imagine they would have wanted. Well, he and their hormones combined cause this phenomenon. But in the end, they've all learned something about themselves. About their own strength. About being in control of their destiny. About what they want...and what they don't. About what love is and what love isn't. Important lessons for life that have changed them and will help them become who they want to be.

And one last thing I really liked was how Tanya Lee brought other girls in at the end, giving them all strength and power through a shared experience. It's very important to remember that no matter what happens to us, there's probably someone else it's happened to, and connecting those people together can be a valuable, strengthening thing. And it didn't hurt that she brought them together via a library book, either :)

Things Hoped For - Andrew Clements

I was so excited to discover recently that Andrew Clements had written a follow-up novel to Things Not Seen which is going to be our WOMS ONE Everybody Reads novel (Start digging that $1 in change out from under the couch cushions, by the way. We're collecting beginning next week in homeroom.) This novel takes place a few years after Things Not Seen and is really mostly about Gwen, a young woman who is preparing for auditions to try and get into a prestigious music school for college. Pretty much her hole life is consumed with it - something I can't really imagine. There's never been anything for me that I was SO crazy for that I was willing to practice it 4 or 5 or 6 hours EVERY single day. Or maybe there was nothing I was quite good enough at to warrant it... But in any case, Gwen's good enough and she's passionate enough. She lives in New York with her grandfather where she already goes to a special high school. Her grandfather has created a special sound-proof room for her to practice in and everything. And then one day, right before her auditions, he just disappears. He calls and leaves her a message on the answering machine telling her not to look for him and not to worry. He'll be back as soon as he can, and she should just focus on her practicing. Like that's going to happen. And this is where Bobby comes in. Er, Robert, thank you very much. And together they handle a lot of crazy things, some comical, some creepy, some downright scary. It's a fun, interesting mystery that I would definitely recommend you read right AFTER you read Things Not Seen. I'll be ordering several copies for the library :)

Boy Girl Boy - Ron Koertge

This is a really interesting book told from the perspective of, you guessed it, two girls and one boy. It's by the author of one of last year's Young Reader's Choice nominees whose work I really enjoy. Some of the topics in this novel are pretty mature, so I don't think I'll be getting it for our library, but it was an interesting story based on the premise that these three best friends who are about to graduate from high school are going to take off together to California and live there as soon as they graduate. But underneath it all, the three of them are changing, and none of them is really sure that going to California together is what they want anymore. But they don't really know how to tell the other two because the they think they'd be spoiling the plan.

I think that people often get themselves into situations like this, maybe not as big as moving to California, but they say they'll do something and then something else happens and they want to change their mind but they don't feel like they can. How do we develop the skills to exit gracefully when we need to? And what if we don't? Where does that leave us? Why is it often more difficult to let others down than to let ourselves down? Is this a learned behavior? I'm pretty sure that in part it is, but maybe not completely. Maybe there's a part of us that instinctively wants to protect those we care about. Is it all bad? Definitely not, but sometimes it really is. OK, I'm off my soapbox now. This book would be good for mature 8th graders and up. It's available at Multnomah County Libraries.

Under the Persimmon Tree - Suzanne Fisher Staples

Books about war are hard to read, and this book, set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was definitely challenging in many repects, but it was extremely well done and a powerful novel. I love Suzanne Fisher Staples' work, her book Shabanu is among my top favorites for young adults ever, and this book is another example of her ability to bring characters to life. Najmah, a young girl who lives in Northern Pakistan has her family torn apart by the war, and ends up alone and afraid in a strange place unsure of what to do or how she will survive. Nusrat, an American woman who married a Pakistan man and moved with him to Pakistan, teaches refugee children under the persimmon tree in her home's courtyard while she awaits news of her doctor husband. The two come together and help one another to survive through what are incredibly challenging times. There is not a lot of overt violence in the story, but the undercurrents of it flow through every page, creating a distinct tension for readers. Like many other books I've read this year, this novel is an excellent example of how writing can help us to develop empathy for a group of people we know little about. In this case it help us to develop empathy for a group we often hear very negative reports about, people of the Middle East. I cannot exactly say I "enjoyed" this book, but I know that it helped me to think differently, and that's a really important thing. I would definitely recommend Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples.

The Lizard's Bite - David Hewson

This is an adult mystery set in Venice, and I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting because the three main police officers in this novel are actually from Rome (this is the fourth or fifth book involving the same characters) and they are always complaining about Venice and how tawdry it is. I' of course, being an American, LOVED Venice. What a fun place to get lost! Reading this book brought back all kinds of fun memories of trips we've made to Venice, and I wondered which vision was more true - mine or theirs? This mystery was quite complex, and I really don't think many middle schoolers would enjoy it, but if there are any parents reading this, I'd highly recommend the Nic Costa series by David Hewson. Available at Multnomah County Library.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Perfect - Natasha Friend

This is a fabulous story about a young woman with an eating disorder. After Isabelle's father died last year, it seems like things have kind of fallen apart at home. Her mom cries herself to sleep every night and has taken down every photograph of Izzy's father, and her little sister April is just a brat, and Isabelle's way of handling things is to eat, and eat, and eat, and eat, and then throw it all up. NOT a healthy way of dealing with things. And while Isabelle's mother can't quite manage to get her own life under control, she's not about to let Isabelle continue with this once she finds out, so she makes Isabelle go to an "Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy Group." Needless, to say, Isabelle is not thrilled.

I really liked how Natasha Friend dealt with Isabelle's eating disorder and several other adolescent issues along the way. She makes Isabelle's character very realistic. She doesn't just start going to group and magically she's cured as sometimes happens in books and movies but never in real life. In real life, as in this book, there are steps forward and falls back, and Isabelle has to figure out how to handle all the things that come her way, including Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most popular girl in school who also happens to have an eating disorder, much to Isabelle's surprise. With the help of a good counselor and a wonderful aunt, Isabelle and her family begin to move back into a more healthy way of living, taking small steps, one day at a time.

This is a sensitively written book with great perspective. Another novel that helps readers become more empathetic, and if you've read some of my other posts, you know those books are always winners with me. I definitely recommend Perfect.