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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ALA Youth Media Awards


Yesterday I got to attend the youth media awards announcements for the American Library Association.  These awards are always announced at the American Library Association's midwinter conference, and this was my first chance to attend.  All weekend I'd been attending book buzz presentations about the new books coming out in 2013, and getting oodles of advanced reader's copies to  see for myself, but on Monday morning it was all about the best of the best in 2012.

The room opened at 7:30 for the 8:00 AM announcements and when we arrived just shortly after 7:30 we were already relegated to the back half of the room. A room that was abuzz with librarians waiting expectantly.  People were hugging old friends and there were smiles and anticipation on every face in the room.  Very few people who know who wins the awards ahead of time.  Most of the committees only make their final decisions over the weekend (although they work on the committee reading and making their cases for and against this book or the other all through the year), and the level of secrecy is incredibly high.  I think that's cool because it really ramps up the excitement for the actual announcements.

The ceremony itself goes fast -it lasts only an hour.  Different emcees do the announcements of honorees and winners.  My favorite emcee was the president of YALSA, a dynamo of a man, Jack Martin took the stage.  He was SO excited, using the term love-bomb to get the crowd roaring and just generally ramping up the ballyhoo, as he called it.  And the crowd was definitely excited, with lots of screaming and shrieking when favorites were announced.  It was so much fun to be part of that event.  Here's a fantastic picture from the YMA Facebook page that captures the whole thing in one instant.  My friend Paige, who's a librarian at Grant High School in Portland, OR, is in the black shirt.  She said of the photo, "As usual, the YMAs had me all agog."

If you missed the announcements yesterday, you can catch up on all the winners and honorees HERE.

I, of course, did not pick the winners, but I am pleased to say that my pick for Caldecott winner (Green) and my pick for Printz winner (Code Name Verity) were both honoree titles and that's better than usual.  Also, just before I left for the awards I had started the Caldecott winner, (The One and Only Ivan), so I think that should count for something! And now, I've got to run - have a ton of reading to do!

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