I'm glad to have just learned that spider-shaped fruit snacks are tastier than they sound, because I own a box of them now. But they don't rival the deliciousness of the Newberys-and-blueberries ritual I've carried out since a 2009 brunch at the home of several Simmons classmates. This year, in the bowels of the bookstore, I popped blueberries like a moviegoer pops popcorn as I stared, riveted, at the Twitter ticker at the bottom of the ALA website, sorted through the reactions to weed out the new information, and rushed to plug titles and suggested quantities into a Google doc for the intrepid buyer across from me. (Note to ALA: if you tweeted Honor books in addition to Medalists, those of us hoping to order the books could do so more efficiently.) (Note to self: Twitter did not exist in 1922, and booksellers managed.)
It speaks to the strength of this year that the only big surprises, to my mind, were in what didn't win anything. There were no moments of "Seriously? That won?" (There were a few moments of "Okay, add that to the TBR list," but there's always some of that.) I'm super-excited about Flora and Ulysses, and the appropriately grandiose Locomotive should be held up next to The Stinky Cheese Man as an example of why book design matters. I'll admit I'm rethinking the idea of a Caldecott-based story time; three wordless Honor books and a very wordy Medalist might not be the most practical combination. But I'll happily handsell all of the above; Journey in particular is a staff favorite.
I need to read Midwinterblood.
We had Navigating Early shelved in Intermediate next to Moon Over Manifest, as I imagine many stores and libraries did (or still do), but I'd been recommending it as a transitional book. And now here it is with a Printz Honor... let's try it in YA!
Hooray The Year of Billy Miller! Hooray P.S. Be Eleven! And the completely un-shocking Nelson Mandela! Ditto Eleanor and Park! And Better Nate Than Ever!
If anyone's looking for me, I'll be catching up on the winners I've missed. And probably eating Spiderman fruit snacks.