Like any award show, there will always be a range of reactions to winners announced, and to those who didn’t make the cut. The American Library Association’s 2014 Youth Media Awards, revealed on January 27 during the organization’s Midwinter meeting in Philadelphia, are no exception. At a closing reception held soon after, School Library Journal asked librarians to share their thoughts about the award committees’ choices and found that despite the high level of enthusiasm for most of the selections, not everyone was pleased and many were highly surprised.
Jen Sherman, head of youth services in Gloucester County (NJ) Library System questioned the Stonewall Book Award Committee choice of Fat Angie (Candlewick) by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo. The award honors books for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience. Not one of the teens who spoke at the conference’s Best Books for Teens session had a positive thing to say about the book, and “yet it wins an award.”
Allison Tran, teen services librarian of the Mission Viejo Library (CA), was confused that Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early (Delacorte) received a Printz Honor, an award for a young adult book. Instead, she thought that it should have been a contender for the Newbery Medal.
Nevertheless, the Odyssey Award winner, an audiobook version of Daniel Kraus’s Scowler (Listening Library) enlisted much enthusiasm from Lisa Morris Wilkey, librarian at Casa Grande Union High School (AZ). She raved about the production quality, especially “the creepiness and sounds.” The award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.
A lively debate on our sister publication, The Horn Book, has begun to build up steam, spurred by editor-in-chief Roger Sutton’s blog post “We’ll Never Know.” With comments from educators, librarians, and kid lit aficionados, the stream of conversation has revolved on whether the winning titles have kid appeal and on the awards committee process. The commentary has overflown to the site’s Calling Caldecott blog, where some have questioned the non-appearance of Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (Little, Brown) and Yuyi Morales’s Niño Wrestles the World (Macmillan) on 2014 Caldecott roster.
And during SLJ’s first-ever pregame and postgame show, led by Fuse Eight blogger Betsy Bird and Scholastic editor Lori Ess, the pair gave their predictions for possible winners and then humorously dissected the final outcomes.
For more librarian reactions, check out the video below. The conversation continues—any winners that you were particularly surprised about?