Sunday, January 8, 2012

A bunch of unscientific speculations

As promised, a few more thoughts on the ALA Awards...

The Batchelder, for a book translated from a foreign language, is easy this year because of a French picture book called Un Livre, known in the U.S. as Press Here. Done, I say.

The Morris "honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature." Exposed, by Kimberly Marcus, fits that description perfectly, now that I've looked up the pub date of her picture book, Scritch-Scratch: A Perfect Match, and confirmed that Exposed did come first.

The Schneider, which honors "an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences" should be interesting this year, particularly in the Middle School category. Two books this year, both of which have been mentioned as contenders for other major awards, feature illiterate early adolescents. I'm pretty sure, and correct me if I'm wrong, that neither [spoiler alert times two] Okay for Now nor Bluefish names a specific disability, but they're both sensitive portrayals within good stories of what many kids and teens with various learning disabilities experience.

I'm going to harp on Heart and Soul some more for the Sibert.

I would have no objection to seeing the Geisel handed to another Elephant and Piggie book; Should I Share My Ice Cream? uses its small space impressively to show Gerald's conflict between wanting to be generous and wanting to be selfish (after all, as every kid knows, ice cream is the ultimate temptation and the ultimate thing to share with a friend). And if I have fun reading that protracted "NOOOOOOO" aloud, imagine how much fun it must be for a new reader. I wonder, though, what of the early chapter books, the stories a step above Mercy Watson? These rarely win the Newbery (Sarah, Plain and Tall is a exception), and many of them deserve honors for the way they function as transitions into the reading of novels. I'm feeling Ivy + Bean; I'm feeling Marty Maguire; I'm feeling Gooney Bird Greene. (I'd be feeling Clementine, too, but I think the strongest installments so far are from earlier years.)

How about the rest of you? Picks?

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