Put on your party pajamas, because the kidlit book world has got LOTS to celebrate today. Just a few hours ago, the 2010 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced. Congratulations to all the authors, illustrators, editors, publishers and agents!
The Newbery winner is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Random House, 2009), and the Caldecott winner is The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown, 2009)!! Those in the know, who predicted these books would win the top prizes, were absolutely spot on, so I can’t say I was too surprised.
BUT, I was ecstatic, teary-eyed, and crazy happy that some of my online friends were lauded with such well-deserved recognition:
LJ friend, L.K. Madigan, won the William C. Morris Award, which honors a first time YA author, for Flash Burnout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009)! We’ll be eating more cheese cameras in her honor today.
Blog buddy, Tanita S. Davis, who just earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for Mare’s War (Knopf, 2009), won a Coretta Scott King Honor Award!! Remember when we celebrated this book’s release with red stilettos? This was before I had read it — but when I finally did, whoa — I was stunned by the brilliant writing. You know how when you read a good book, you might be thinking to yourself: what a great story! love the characters! good pacing! etc., etc.? Well, this one went way beyond that, way beyond just being a "good read," like many books are. This one, I dare say, is "literature," in the best sense of the word. Deeper, truer, timeless.
Now I have a confession to make. I first read All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee (Beach Lane Books, 2009), in order to celebrate its official release with a Soup of the Day post. As it happens, the more I love a book, the harder it is for me to write about it. One Saturday afternoon, I sat in front of my computer for 6 hours (!) struggling to find the words to do this book justice. No matter what I came up with, it fell short. My words were inadequate, mundane, repetitious. All I could do was gush, gush, gush. Why was I so dumb? Why couldn’t I explain how and why this book moved me so much? At the end of the day, I had nothing.
The next day, I met LJ friend, Kelly Fineman, for the first time at Kristy Dempsey’s booksigning in Alexandria. She had just read All the World, too, and her reaction was the same as mine. She used the word, "gobsmacked." Phew! I didn’t feel so bad then, because Kelly is such a fine reviewer, just brilliant, and if she was struggling to find the right words, then maybe there was hope for me. I managed to eke out a post on pub day, mentioning that I felt the book was Caldecott worthy, and in the following months, All the World kept earning accolade after accolade — making just about every "best of" list for the year, and chalking up a galaxy of starred reviews. Just a week or so ago, Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) posted her predictions. She included All the World on her Caldecott list, and confessed to not having reviewed it because even she couldn’t think of what to say about it. And that’s really saying something.
Friends, today All the World earned a Caldecott Silver Medal! I am so thrilled for Liz and Marla (again, words fail me). I do love all three Caldecott winners this year (Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman and Pamela Zagarenski also earned a Caldecott Honor, and is also one of five Cybils Poetry finalists). In my mind, all three are gold medal books.
Now, if all this excitement wasn’t enough, the middle grade novel I’ve been rooting for all along, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown, 2009), earned a Newbery Honor Medal!! When I first received the ARC, I read it 3 times. It was magical, exquisite, so well-crafted, a brilliant hybrid. You all know I’m a big Grace Lin fan; she is one of the few authors I know who can write so well across genres (she’s got an early reader coming out this year, too). When I reviewed it on pub day, the word, "Newbery" came to mind immediately. I gave more copies of WTMMTM as gifts last year than any other book.
Wow! What a day it’s been. Special pajama party cupcakes for everyone, I say! Congratulations again to all the winners. Click here to see the official ALA press release listing all the awards. *Swoon*
photo by specialcakes/tracey.
More Pajama Party posts here.
Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.