Allow me to join the chorus of those happy to see Kate DiCamillo named as the next National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. KD is an author who gets that "young people's literature" encompasses more than one category, and young people fit more than one description. Her books often ignore the boundaries between categories, which makes Bink, Gollie, and Mercy perfect for kids who are just starting to edge into chapter books. Her writing at all levels is challenging and calls readers to pay attention, and making people pay attention and challenging them sounds like a job for an Ambassador.
I'm also happy to see that according to PW, kids' and YA books were a force to be reckoned with this past year. That's a whole lot of adults buying books as gifts for their nieces and nephews and neighbors, a lot of parents listening to their kids' insistence that the new Wimpy Kid was worth a trip to the bookstore, a lot of kids spending their own allowance on books, maybe a lot of libraries with the capability to buy kids' books for their collections. Whatever made a piece of middle-grade humor rocket to the top of the list, with several other middle-grade and YA titles not too far below it, rock on.
More anecdotally, it made happy that when the Valentine's display went up at the front of the store, my coworker went looking for more diverse love stories... and found them in the YA section. Two Boys Kissing and If You Could Be Mine look perfect up there.
Finally, a dear friend - a friend who I'm pretty sure is cosmically connected to Kate DiCamillo - has a book release in progress. More on that soon, but for now I'll just say that, literarily at least, 2014 is looking up.