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ALA Youth Media Awards!

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Check out the ALA Youth Media award list:
http://ala.unikron.com/2016/

What are your thoughts on winners?

It's a great list and some really exciting choices. The most surprising is Matt de la Pena's Newbery win for the picture book Last Stop on Market Street (which also won a Coretta Scott King award and a Caldecott honor).

As a picture book author, I'm excited to have a picture book honored and hopeful that this will get more picture books into the hands of older readers.

As a middle grade author, I'm sorry that more of last year's brilliant novels couldn't be honored.

I think this really shows that the ALA Youth Media Awards needs to add the VERY overdue category of a picture book writing honor, as well as a graphic novel category (since very worthy graphic novels have gotten Newbery honors the past two years). I'd love to see separate Newbery categories for fiction and nonfiction as well.
Any thoughts out there?

#1 - January 11, 2016, 10:45 AM
Kell Andrews
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THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

You have some excellent points about the current gaps in the awards available. I've been confused for years about why there is no writing award for PBs. You are also right that graphic novels are now prevalent enough that they could be up for their own awards--but I do fear that separating them out will make the people who already dismiss them as "comic books" continue to dismiss them, instead of being forced to see the true literary value of they hold.
#2 - January 11, 2016, 11:39 AM

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You have some excellent points about the current gaps in the awards available. I've been confused for years about why there is no writing award for PBs. You are also right that graphic novels are now prevalent enough that they could be up for their own awards--but I do fear that separating them out will make the people who already dismiss them as "comic books" continue to dismiss them, instead of being forced to see the true literary value of they hold.

The same has been argued about the culturally-specific awards, so the question is whether or not the good outweighs that in terms of bringing recognition to marginalized authors and less-popular genres.
#3 - January 11, 2016, 01:03 PM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

The same has been argued about the culturally-specific awards, so the question is whether or not the good outweighs that in terms of bringing recognition to marginalized authors and less-popular genres.

Good point, Anne Marie.
#4 - January 11, 2016, 01:07 PM

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Good point, Holly. This year my daughter's Reading Olympics includes EL DEAFO, and I doubt it would have except for the Newbery Honor! Still, I'd like to see more award categories.

I AM really happy that different forms of literature and writing are being recognized, but this is such a hugely impactful award that shining a light in one place means that another place is dimmed. There are so beautiful, exciting, thrilling middle-grade novels that were published last year and being publishing now, and with the Newbery going to other forms of literature, fewer were recognized and will break out.

The Newbery simply can't honor the full breadth and depth and variety of children's literature.  The Printz, Coretta Scott King, Schneider Family, and other awards have added so much and enriched the diversity of books out there. The Morris Award has been such a wonderful addition to the ALA Youth Media Awards and it is far more open to fantasy and speculative fiction than the Newbery. If there were more award categories, perhaps some of my favorite MG fantasies would get the recognition they deserve.

So picture book writing award NOW! Graphic novel award now! And while we're at it, middle grade debut award NOW!

#5 - January 11, 2016, 01:18 PM
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 04:18 PM by Kell »
Kell Andrews
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THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
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So glad this discussion is started!

My thoughts:

1. I just can't buy that LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET (which I love as a pb) is the best TEXT ONLY for ages 0-14 that was published last year. I don't know how the committee could have judged it ONLY on TEXT merit. Even if they typed up the text and judged it separately, they no doubt had to at some point seen the entire book -- how do they block out the impression they had with the images? Perhaps I also think that a picture book needs both the words and pictures to come together as a successful work, so this award implies that if this book had been written and pubbed as say a chapter book, it still would've won the Newbery. I just don't buy it as the best TEXT.

1a. I agree that there needs to be an award for pb text to help with this issue!

2. As a YA Librarian who loved so many YA novels this year, it drives me nuts when the committee picks less than 4 Printz Honor titles. These books can get all the publicity and help they can get! I find it hard to believe that NO other YA novels this year were close to "as good" as the Sedgwick (who always wins Printzes) and Perez book.

Now that my rants are out of the way, I was so happy to see:

3. Roller Girl on the Newbery list
4. Pretty much every Coretta Scott author and illustrator award (go Jason Reynolds! Two!)
5. David Levithan for lifetime Edwards achievement
6. Steve Sheinkin winning for Most Dangerous (non-fic -- I looove this guy's work)
7. Becky Albertalli for Simon V. The Homo Sapiens Agenda for Morris (the only Morris I read this year! I need to catch up! It's my fav award for YA).
#6 - January 11, 2016, 04:00 PM
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Mike Jung

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I love it that LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET won the Newbery! Love, love, love it. It obliterates the argument that picture books can't be read by kids older than 5 (or adults), and I love that the committee made a choice that reflected consideration of the entire 0-14 age range, rather than focusing exclusively on 8-12. Not that I'm anti-MG - I write MG, for crying out loud - but I admire the committee's willingness to be as expansive and inclusive as possible with their choice. Plus Matt De La Pena is an amazing presence in the industry, and deserves all of the accolades he gets.

BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP! BONE GAP!

I really wanted some recognition for Daniel Jose Older's SHADOWSHAPER and Martha Brockenbrough's THE GAME OF LOVE AND DEATH. I was also pulling for April Chu to be recognized by the Caldecott committee for IN A VILLAGE BY THE SEA, and for Jason Chin's work on WATER IS WATER. I was disappointed on all counts, alas, although I think individual disappointment about award choices is actually a fine, completely valid part of the awards experience, because it means we're talking about books we love. And I don't argue with FINDING WINNIE, which is a tremendous creative accomplishment, and I think the Caldecott Honors were all worthy choices.
#7 - January 11, 2016, 04:58 PM

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I know the award is written broadly, but if it's going to function as a Grand Prix, rather than de facto MG, there should be MG and PB writing awards. Having PBs and MG compete is like a single prize category for poetry and feature film.

#8 - January 11, 2016, 05:17 PM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

Mike Jung

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I don't think it'd be a bad thing to have a new ALA award for picture book text, even with the Zolotow Award already out there. It would require a serious redefinition of the Newbery criteria as explicitly for MG only, and I have to admit it'd be fascinating to see what kind of discussions such a proposal would ignite. Would it provoke related discussions about making the Caldecott for picture books only, instead of graphic novels? Would graphic novels be eligible for the PB text award? Would a graphic novel category be created? Would there be one for writing and one for illustration, as there'd be for picture books? Would graphic novels then become ineligible for the Newbery and the Printz? The defense of Gene Yang's AMERICAN BORN CHINESE as a worthy Printz recipient is a hill I'd die on...
#9 - January 11, 2016, 05:25 PM

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Mike -- lol re: BONE GAP! I also loved that book.
Kell -- I'm with you. The Printz was added in 2000 to add a category for teen fiction, so I don't see a problem now if ALA were to divide up Newbery to cover books intended for 0-8 and 9-14 (for example).

To be fair, I also have a hard time believing that the Caldecott winners are always based on ART ONLY (except in the instances of wordless picture books). The difference at least is that they are [usually] comparing picture books to picture books (rather than to novels).

The difference, of course, is when a graphic novel wins a Caldecott. Again, are they really being judged 100% on the artwork without any reference to the text?

I would love to see a new graphic novel category as well!

I just think overall additional categories means more books that can win which means more attention that can be brought to more titles which hopefully will mean more sales and more reads! :)

ETA Cross-posted with Mike -- so now I can add --

Maybe the ALA can just have some books viewed AS A WHOLE (pictures and text) instead of breaking them up, because again, how do the committees separate them in their heads???
#10 - January 11, 2016, 05:30 PM
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 05:32 PM by dinalapomy101 »
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Mike Jung

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BONE GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP!

My concern about increasing the number of awards is the potential for "award fatigue." I've heard comments in the vein of "it's getting so I can't tell the different awards apart" and "how much does an award mean when there are so many of them" from booksellers, bookbuying consumers, and even the occasional author. That might be an entirely overblown concern on my part, of course, since it's based on a very small, very anecdotal sample size...
#11 - January 11, 2016, 05:35 PM

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Well, nobody would think of revisiting past award decisions! But awards need not be exclusive. You can be considered for both a Coretta Scott King Award and a Caldecott, for example.

I don't think the existence of the Zolotow eliminates or corrects this gap. There are dozens (hundreds?) of award-giving bodies, but the ALA is the biggest. PBs and MG are two of the biggest categories, but they don't have awards for either, just one for all
#12 - January 11, 2016, 05:40 PM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

Mike Jung

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Maybe the ALA can just have some books viewed AS A WHOLE (pictures and text) instead of breaking them up, because again, how do the committees separate them in their heads???

I don't know! But (and take this with a grain of salt, I don't write PBs) a lot of picture books ARE created by two separate people, right? Usually text first, or at least it seems that way to me. That separation of processes during creation makes me think it's not entirely bananas to have a similar separation during critical analysis.
#13 - January 11, 2016, 05:45 PM

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Probably bc I watch the awards with a bunch of kidlit librarian nerds, but my posse would easily and gladly watch 10 more awards be given out. :-) I think of it like the Olympics of Kidlit. The more medals in different categories, the merrier!

But I certainly believe there are people who want less/think they are over saturated, especially if you are a bookseller who suddenly feels they need to stock their stores with a lot more titles that may not sell, etc.

(And Mike, I did see one of my librarian FB friends who went to ALAMW came back with a stack of arcs that she posted on her page, including your latest!)

ETA bc cross-posted with Mike again --

Good point about the dual creators for PBs. Maybe just write them both a big check? ;-) But what you mention makes sense for analysis!
#14 - January 11, 2016, 05:47 PM
« Last Edit: January 11, 2016, 05:49 PM by dinalapomy101 »
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Mike, when there are more awards, consumers, librarians, and teachers will decide what matters. They already do, and in this case, additional awards by the ALA would help, not hurt. The categories otherwise don't make sense. There is a Printz and a Geisel. Why not PBs and MG, since the Newbery and Caldecott already cover early readers and YA to age 14?
#15 - January 11, 2016, 06:00 PM
Kell Andrews
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Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

Mike Jung

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Oh, I get it - you mean not altering the Caldecott and Newbery criteria at all, just adding more, completely separate awards? I didn't get that before. That makes more sense, sure, in terms of splitting up MG and PB text into their own categories.
#16 - January 11, 2016, 06:05 PM

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Maybe you didn't get that earlier because I am evolving my opinion based on this interesting discussion :)
#17 - January 11, 2016, 06:07 PM
Kell Andrews
www.kellandrews.com
Twitter @kellandrewsPA

THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

Mike Jung

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But I certainly believe there are people who want less/think they are over saturated, especially if you are a bookseller who suddenly feels they need to stock their stores with a lot more titles that may not sell, etc.

(And Mike, I did see one of my librarian FB friends who went to ALAMW came back with a stack of arcs that she posted on her page, including your latest!)

On the first point, yeah, you've articulated it far more clearly than I was able to. That's exactly the complaint I've heard from booksellers in the past. And on the second point, AWESOME, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Please thank your friend for me!!
#18 - January 11, 2016, 06:07 PM

Mike Jung

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Maybe you didn't get that earlier because I am evolving my opinion based on this interesting discussion :)

:) You and me both!
#19 - January 11, 2016, 06:08 PM

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I just want to say how happy I was that these awards got announced as NEWS HEADLINES on National Public Radio, and how, within the news program, both Matt de la Pena and Sophie Blackall were interviewed. Ever since the Today Show/Snooki disaster, I've been hoping for this sort of recognition for these award winners, and I hope there will be more.
#20 - January 11, 2016, 06:25 PM

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Reading all your comments with interest. It's been rare to have a PB honored as a Newbery but I am delighted with the choice. Didn't expect it, of course, because the only title I can remember is The Cat Who Went to Heaven and it's a lengthy PB.

I was surprised that Bone Gap and Hired Girl didn't make it on even the YA lists.

But happy about the books that got recognized.

Vijaya
#21 - January 11, 2016, 06:37 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

Mike Jung

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I was surprised that Bone Gap and Hired Girl didn't make it on even the YA lists.

? BONE GAP was the Printz medalist (and deservedly so, imho).
#22 - January 11, 2016, 08:50 PM

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Thanks Mike. I missed that ...
V.
#23 - January 12, 2016, 06:11 AM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces

I'm so happy about Bone Gap! I was surprised that Challenger Deep wasn't a honor book since it won the National Book Award. Was it somehow not eligible for the Printz?

#24 - January 12, 2016, 09:06 AM
The Echo Room (Tor Teen, 2018)
Where Futures End (Penguin, 2016)
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Mike Jung

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I imagine it just didn't make it all the way to the final round of this particular committee's process, which illustrates just how subjective any award process is. I think the committees make a titanic effort to do their jobs well and represent the children's literature world as a whole, but in the end, every committee is made up of a finite group of people, and their individual sensibilities, preferences, and in-the-moment states of mind will influence the process in unique ways.
#25 - January 12, 2016, 09:21 AM

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I agree with Kell. Comparing PBs to MG isn't fair to either--and doesn't even make sense. Why shouldn't there be a separate award for each?
#26 - January 12, 2016, 09:36 AM
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Dionna

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I agree with Kell. Comparing PBs to MG isn't fair to either--and doesn't even make sense. Why shouldn't there be a separate award for each?

Write your letters, ladies.  :writing3
#27 - January 12, 2016, 12:35 PM

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I went to a librarian panel of award committee members last night. On the panel was:

1. a librarian who was Chair of the Great Graphic Novels Committee for 2016
2. a librarian who is just starting his Newbery Committee year for 2017
3. a librarian who served on the Caldecott Committee for 2015

It was really interesting! I learned that:
1. Once the Winner is selected, the Committee can choose up to 7 Honors (for Newbery and Caldecott), which can be from the remaining books "on the table"
2. Once a Committee Member "throws out" a book, it cannot be reinstated as a potential winner again
3. ALSC has been hearing the "Have a separate category for XXX books" for a while now (whether it be to break up the age groups, add a graphic novel category, etc.), but their response currently is "We already do so many awards so we just don't have time, and we are so busy with everything else we do, too."
4. Depending on the Chair of the Newbery/Caldecott and how the interpretation is "pushed," some years the committee members are told to strictly look "only" at the text/illustrations for the respective awards; but other years the interpretation is to "focus on" the text/illustration, but bc you can't ignore the other part if it is there, just look at it in context.

Interesting info, FWIW.
#28 - January 26, 2016, 05:13 PM
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Check out the ALA Youth Media award list:
http://ala.unikron.com/2016/

What are your thoughts on winners?

It's a great list and some really exciting choices. The most surprising is Matt de la Pena's Newbery win for the picture book Last Stop on Market Street (which also won a Coretta Scott King award and a Caldecott honor).

As a picture book author, I'm excited to have a picture book honored and hopeful that this will get more picture books into the hands of older readers.

I think this really shows that the ALA Youth Media Awards needs to add the VERY overdue category of a picture book writing honor, as well as a graphic novel category (since very worthy graphic novels have gotten Newbery honors the past two years). I'd love to see separate Newbery categories for fiction and nonfiction as well.
Any thoughts out there?



I just read Last Stop on Market Street and fell in love with it!  Wonderful to see a pb receive the Newbery and I am thrilled for Matt de la Pena!  So happy to see Christian Robinson's wonderful illustrations honored with the Caldecott honor!  This is great news for picture book writers - but I agree, a separate category for pbs is very much needed! 

Sue
#29 - January 31, 2016, 12:29 PM
FAIRIES, Focus Readers, North Star Editions, 2018
GET OUTSIDE IN WINTER, Focus Readers, Jan.  2019
GET OUTSIDE IN SPRING, Focus Readers, Jan.  2019

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