Wednesday, January 24, 2007

ALA Book Awards

"When is it, again?"
"Is it time yet?"

These were just a few of the questions floating around the office Monday morning between 9:30 (when someone reminded me it was award day) and 10:45. And then the three children's librarians present crowded into one cubicle so we could watch the ALA annual book awards.

The screen was dark, and the voices were distorted (everyone sounded like one of the chipmunks), but we were glued to the streaming video. I found the PowerPoint push throughs rather annoying, but on to the good stuff. What are the Alex awards? We had to look those up first thing, being shamefully unaware. Then it was onward to the awards we've been discussing for months.

Attention riveted to the computer we tossed out ideas one last time. Surely, Flotsam would be recognized. And The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Octavian Nothing, The Book Thief . . . The list went on.

Some of the accolades about to be announced were predicted in that cubicle, Flotsam, Moses, Octavian Nothing, The Book Thief, and the fact that the Newbery winner would be a complete surprise. Such a surprise in fact, that our library has yet to receive any copies of The Higher Power of Lucky. We are eagerly awaiting its arrival.

Despite the pleasure of being right, seeing books we wanted to see recognized, the loudest cheer was for a book none of us had read, American Born Chinese. The Printz award was as big a surprise as the Newbery. We were so sure Octavian Nothing or The Book Thief would win. I don't think I can express quite how pleased I am that a graphic novel has been recognized in this manner. Too often they are dismissed, even by people in the profession, as inferior to "real literature".

I was pleased by all these, but the award I was most excited by was one I had not given any thought before Monday. The Margaret A. Edwards Award for recognizing a body of work by an author. Lois Lowry, and The Giver couldn't be any more deserving.

After each announcement one of my coworkers would rush to the neighboring computer to see if we owned the book. If we did she raced out to the stacks to retrieve it, hurrying back to the computer to discover the next honored book. It was comical and exhilarating.

For past two days the new question has been "has anybody blogged about it yet?" I wasn't in Seattle, and there are far too many award winners and nominees that I have not read yet, but the experience of celebrating children's and young adult literature is one I can blog about. These are our Oscars and I couldn't have enjoyed the anticipation or the outcome more. My reading list has just grown by leaps and bounds.

2007 Caldecott
2007 Newbery
All ALSC 2007 awards

The number of Best Books for Young Adults I've read is woefully low. Eight, that's it. There are a few I was dissapointed to see weren't on the list.

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