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October 22, 2014

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Brown Girl Dreaming, and How I Discovered Poetry

Brown Girl Dreaming, and How I Discovered Poetry

In another interesting pair of subject-matter-coincidences, we have two works in verse from African American female writers this year that are memoirs of their childhood experiences which prepared them for their writing careers.  (These both follow closely on last year’s Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes, for a triple coincidence.) Jacqueline Woodson’s BROWN GIRL DREAMING is [...]

Zane and the Hurricane, and Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Zane and the Hurricane, and Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere

Debbie made a plea back in Fall Favorites for ZANE AND THE HURRICANE, which I’m seeing on many Mock Newbery lists. But we have to talk about it alongside Julie Lamana’s UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, which is essentially the same story:  Katrina. Stranded in the Lower Ninth. Dog escaping causes trouble. Rescue. [...]

Stranger than Fiction?

Stranger than Fiction?

I like quirky.   Yet Jenni Holm’s THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH and Jack Gantos’ THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA both put me pretty off-kilter, in that stomach-dropping “Whoa!” way of a roller-coaster.  I enjoyed both thoroughly, but am still trying to clear my head.  I do think that the oddball humor in both speak directly [...]

Fall Favorites?

Fall Favorites?

We’re certainly not done talking about Spring and Summer titles, but as it’s now October, it’s time to get cracking: which are your fall release favorites? We’ve heard from fans of BROWN GIRL DREAMING, RAIN REIGN, EGG & SPOON…. This becomes the hard part of the season, as we try to read ahead and keep [...]

The Crossover

The Crossover

Speaking of the Present Tense…. I feel like everyone was talking about THE CROSSOVER as soon as the ARC came out, and I’ve been looking forward to talking about it here. I expected the biggest question would be “the age question”, so was tickled to see Eric comment here that he can’t remember why it [...]

The Port Chicago 50

The Port Chicago 50

I’m in the midst of the ALSC Institute here in Oakland, where we just listened to Steve Sheinkin give the opening session talk about his approach to writing history, with The Port Chicago 50 story as his centerpiece.  My Boston Globe Horn Book committee awarded it this May, and it just showed up on the NBA [...]

West of the Moon and The Night Gardener

I’m trying to re-read A SNICKER OF MAGIC again to participate in that discussion, which has gotten very interesting. Meanwhile, Julie Corsaro mentioned in that comment thread a couple of spring titles I’m more interested in talking about. Recalling Vicky Smith’s guest post this time last year, Reader Know Thyself, I had to recognize that [...]

Revolution

revolution

This seems the spring book to talk about, based on comments from our first post, with raves from many, and a few of us voicing qualms. Rachel Stein offers a nice synopsis of the book at For Those About to Mock, though she mentions she hesitates to comment on its Newbery chances because she listened [...]

Welcome Back

It is the day after Labor Day, and time to getting rolling on a new season of Heavy Medal!   Jonathan signed us off in January with a list to look forward to, and you’ve all been adding to it as the months have trickled by. Danae is excited about THE CROSSOVER, THE FAMILY ROMANOV, [...]

The Real Winners!

The Real Winners!

Here we are folks, with a whole row of Heavy Medalers/BOBers. The room is smaller this year, and completely full…with an overflow room set up downstairs. We were here….early. There are many many amazing award winners being announced, and I won’t be able to get them all in, but here are some recognizing books we’ve [...]

Announcements Nigh

Announcements Nigh

Don’t forget that you can watch the announcements live tomorrow morning. I’ll be putting up a very brief post as it goes, and publish right away so we all can start commenting. http://www.ala.org/news/mediapresscenter/presskits/youthmediaawards/alayouthmediaawards

Notable Books Discussion

Notable Books Discussion

While the award committees doors are locked, the “media evaluation” committees such as Notables Books, Notable Recordings, YALSA’s BBFA, etc., are open. Here’s the Notable Books committee, discussing in front of an attentive audience, including many editors and publishers who wait patiently to hear the books they worked so hard over publicly praised and pulled [...]

Chilly Philly

Chilly Philly

I’m here in Philadelphia, just diving in to the conference, but the Newbery Committee is well into their first full day of discussion! After a dinner break, they’ll keep on going. And yes, the door is locked.

Other outliers?

At the end of this week the committees will start their discussions.  What haven’t we covered enough yet? I want to highlight one other Best Books Outlier, Tim Tingle’s HOW I BECAME A GHOST: A CHOCTAW TRAILS OF TEARS STORY, which showed up on Kirkus’ Best list, and also got a strong review from Horn Book.  It bears an [...]

Heading for Philadelphia?

Heading for Philadelphia?

Monica Edinger and I are scheming for a Battle of the Kids Books / HeavyMedal happy hour on Saturday the 25th, 5pm, likely at the bar in the Marriott. Join us? If we can get a vague headcount we will try to make arrangements and confirm time/location in the comments here. Update; as you’ll see [...]

Nina’s Outliers

Nina’s Outliers

The days grow short and there are still many contenders out there!  Here’s a mash-up on a couple of worthy titles we haven’t talked about yet. Tanya Lee Stone’s COURAGE HAS NO COLOR is a finalist for the YALSA Nonfiction Award,  is on the discussion list for the ALSC Notable Children’s books, and was on [...]

Oakland Winners

Oakland Winners

And…we have totally different results than Jonathan’s group.  After 3 ballots: Mock Newbery Medal THE THING ABOUT LUCK Mock Newbery Honors We ran out of time to finish this, but were likely headed to a final Honors ballot. Definitely on it would have been CLEMENTINE AND THE SPRING TRIP, which was tied neck and neck [...]

Into the final weeks!

Into the final weeks!

As Jonathan and I head into our Mock Discussion weekend, you can expect to hear our discussion results soon, and we’ll invite others to post their results and thoughts as well (Sam already shared some here, for instance). The actual award announcements are on Monday January 27, in Philadelphia.  Between our Mock results and the [...]

Boiling it down

Boiling it down

I’m enjoying the back and forth at Jonathan’s TRUE BLUE SCOUTS post and don’t really want to slow it down, but thought to offer this conversation on the side. In the comments, there seem to be two different assessments of Appelt’s writing style/p.o.v. choice going on.  One is: Is it appropriate for readers? The other [...]

Ambassadors

Ambassdors

You’ve probably all caught the news by now, that Kate DiCamillo has been named the next Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She is the fourth such Ambassador to be named for a two-year term, following Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and Walter Dean Myers.  I was struck by something she said that was quoted in the New [...]