ALA Midwinter 2014: Youth Media Awards

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The Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia had its hands full on Monday, January 28, as a room full of excited librarians, publishers, authors, and other industry professionals breathlessly awaited the start of the annual Youth Media Awards. In fact, by the time I arrived (bleary-eyed and bushy tailed) at the convention center, it was 7:55 AM and there was no official room left for audience members. Instead, I found a seat in a “spillover” room where the awards were being broadcasted live on a screen. By 8:30 AM, the spillover room was entirely full.

My friend who called the YMAs “the librarian Oscars” was pretty spot-on, after all.

It’s hard to describe how incredible it was to witness people applaud, groan, cheer, whisper, and even shed tears over children’s and young adult literature. It’s even harder to describe how it felt to sit next to perfect strangers at 8 AM on a Monday morning knowing that they were just as passionate as you about youth media. Suffice it to say that I have never seen a room full of introverts whoop and holler so loudly before. For those who aren’t “in the know,” I would describe the purpose of the YMAs, in part, as providing “those fancy silver and gold stickers you see on the covers of books.”

But it’s more than fancy stickers, of course.

Continue reading ALA Midwinter 2014: Youth Media Awards

YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge Begins!

Hub Reading Challenge logoIt’s now February 3rd, so we are kicking off YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge! We hope this challenge will encourage you to read/listen to more great books than you might have otherwise — and to discover something new in a genre or category you might not have tried.

Challenge objective Read/listen to 25 of the titles on our list of eligible titles [pdf] to finish the challenge. The list includes YA novels, audiobooks, graphic novels, and books for adults, so there’s plenty to choose from. Bonus objective: read/listen to all eligible titles to conquer the challenge!

Challenge rewards Beyond experiencing the best of the best that YA lit has to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge will be invited to submit a response to a book they read for the challenge. The response can be text, graphics, audio, video and will be published on The Hub. Furthermore, everyone who finishes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing for our grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2013 and 2014 YA lit! (If the winner is a teacher or librarian or something similar, we’ll also include a few professional development titles.)

Challenge conquerors will receive an elite digital badge to show off how well-read they are. (And don’t forget major bragging rights and the undying awe and respect of everyone, everywhere.)

Continue reading YALSA’s 2014 Hub Reading Challenge Begins!

Coming Soon: The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge

Hub Reading Challenge logo Get excited, YA lit enthusiasts! Now that the Youth Media Awards have been announced and the selected list committees are wrapping up their work, we are pleased to officially announce our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge!

When? The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will begin at 12:01AM EST on Monday, February 3. Once the challenge starts, you’ll have about four months (until 11:59pm on Sunday, June 22) to read as many of the following as you possibly can:

If you participated in our Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge– even if you didn’t finish- you can count that reading toward your progress in The Hub Reading Challenge. Otherwise, only books that you both begin and finish within the challenge period count, so if you’ve read any of these titles before, you’ll have to re-read them to count them.

Continue reading Coming Soon: The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge

2014 Youth Media Award Winners Announced!

shutterstock_102813506 [Converted]This morning, the winners and honor books for ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced to an elated crowd in Philadelphia during ALA’s Midwinter Meeting.

Here is the list of YA titles recognized this morning (children’s books have been omitted from this list because The Hub focuses on YA lit, but be sure to find the full list of winners on ALA’s website):

Alex Award for adult books with teen appeal

  • Brewster,  written by Mark Slouka  and published by W.W. Norton & Company
  • The Death of Bees,written by Lisa O’Donnell and published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • Golden Boy: A Novel, written by Abigail Tarttlein and published by ATRIA Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  • Help for the Haunted, written by John Searles and published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
  • Lexicon: A Novel, written by Max Barry and published by The Penguin Group, Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Lives of Tao, written by Wesley Chu and published by Angry Robot, a member of the Osprey Group
  • Mother, Mother: A Novel, written by Koren Zailckas and published by Crown Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • Relish, written by Lucy Knisley and published by First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holds Limited Partnership
  • The Sea of Tranquility: A Novel, written by Katja Millay and published by ATRIA Paperback, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
  • The Universe Versus Alex Woods, written by Gavin Extence and published by Redhook Books, an imprint of Orbit, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in young adult literature

  • Markus Zusak

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature

  • Winner: Midwinter Blood,  written by Marcus Sedgwick and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
  • Honor: Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell and published by St. Martin’s Griffin (Macmillan)
  • Honor: Kingdom of Little Wounds, written by Susann Cokal and published by Candlewick Press
  • Honor: Maggot Moon, written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch, and published by Candlewick Press
  • Honor: Navigating Early, written by Clare Vanderpool and published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC, Penguin Random House Company

Odyssey Award for outstanding audiobooks for young adults

  • Winner: Scowler, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group; written by Daniel Kraus and narrated by Kirby Heyborne
  • Honor: Better Nate Than Ever, produced by Simon & Schuster Audio; written and narrated by Tim Federle
  • Honor: Eleanor & Park, produced by Listening Library; written by Rainbow Rowell and narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra

Schneider Family Book Award for an artistic expression of the disability experience

  • Teen winner: Rose Under Fire, written by Elizabeth Wein and published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group

Stonewall Book Award for outstanding LGBTQ titles

  • Winner: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, written by Kirstin Cronn-Mills and published by Flux, an imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
  • Winner: Fat Angie, written by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and published by Candlewick Press
  • Honor: Better Nate Than Ever, written by Tim Federle and published Simon & Schuster Book for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
  • Honor: Branded by the Pink Triangle, written by Ken Setterington and published by Second Story Press
  • Honor: Two Boys Kissing, written by David Levithan and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

William C. Morris Award for outstanding debut novels

  • Winner: Charm & Strange written by Stephanie Kuehn, published by St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, a division of Macmillan.
  • Finalist: Sex & Violence written by Carrie Mesrobian, published by Carolrhoda LAB, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group.
  • Finalist: Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets written by Evan Roskos, published by Houghton Mifflin, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
  • Finalist: Belle Epoque written by Elizabeth Ross, published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.  
  • Finalist: In the Shadow of Blackbirds written by Cat Winters, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

  • Winner: The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi written by Neal Bascomb, published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.
  • Finalist: Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design written by Chip Kidd, published by Workman Publishing Company.
  • Finalist: Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II written by Martin W. Sandler, published by Walker Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.
  • Finalist: Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers written by Tanya Lee Stone, published by Candlewick Press.
  • Finalist: The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy written by James L. Swanson, published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Final Check In

yalsa morris nonfiction seals

This is it! There are less than 24 hours until the Youth Media Awards at the American Library Association Midwinter conference. (Watch the livestream here.) Tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM Eastern, everyone will find out which book won the 2014 Morris Award and which won the 2014 Excellence in Nonfiction Award. (Among other awards.) Did you read all the nominated titles? Congratulations! Please fill out the form below and give yourself a big pat on the back. If you didn’t read as many as you hoped to, that’s OK! You can still read them after tomorrow.

And keep your eyes on The Hub where we will soon announce the 2014 Hub Reading Challenge, encompassing all of YALSA’s 2014 award winning books and finalists, as well as top ten lists, the Schneider Family Book Award and the Stonewall Book Award.
Happy Almost Youth Media Awards Day, everyone! It’s our own Librarian Oscars! Can’t wait to hear about (and read) the winners.

~Geri Diorio, currently reading Ninety Percent of Everything by Rose George

Morris Award Finalist: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Carrie Mesrobian is a finalist for the 2014 William C. Morris Award for her debut novel, Sex & Violence.  The award Photo Dec 03, 4 17 40 PMhonors previously unpublished authors with the year’s best books for young adults.

Evan Carter has moved around from one town to another his entire teenaged life. His father, a Ph.D in math and computer science, is hired by clients all over the country and he drags Evan along. Not since Evan’s mom died when Evan was 11 has his dad really been present in Evan’s life in any sense. Evan, nearly 18, is used to his dad’s distance because he’s got other preoccupations – girls. Even though he might be the new guy at all his schools, he’s never had any trouble meeting and hooking up with them. He even has a strategy and can profile a girl as “The Girl Who Would Say Yes.” That’s worked well for him until he hooks up with the wrong girl named Collette at his Charlotte, NC school and finds himself nearly killed after her ex-boyfriend and another guy savagely assault him in the school’s communal showers. Afterward, Evan and his father move to the family lake in rural Pearl Lake, Minnesota so Evan can recover from a multitude of injuries, including a broken nose & ribs, hearing loss in his left ear and the removal of his ruptured spleen.

During the spring and summer at the lake he has the chance to hang out with other local teens his age. They are celebrating their last summer before college doing “last things” they haven’t done before. Evan tries to fit in with them and pretend everything’s okay but he’s quiet and withdrawn and is suffering from PTSD. Therapy helps but he’s still unable to shower inside so the lake becomes his nightly bathtub. He’s also obsessed with having short hair since when he was beaten up it was long and easy for his attackers to grab. Continue reading Morris Award Finalist: Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian

Nonfiction Award Finalist: The President Has Been Shot by James Swanson

ThePresidentHasBeenShotJames Swanson, author of the highly acclaimed Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, has done it again with this gripping account of another assassination that also altered the trajectory of history and changed America forever.

Swanson presents the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to young readers in this 2014 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults finalist a way that is accessible but never condescending. The first part of the book is called “Introduction to John F. Kennedy,” and that is exactly what it provides—a brief outline of Kennedy’s life, the circumstances of his election, and his major accomplishments in office. This section portrays Kennedy in a mostly positive light, perhaps glossing over some of his personal flaws, but in this particular book, I think that decision works. It is not a biography, and readers do not necessarily need to know all the lurid details of Kennedy’s personal life to understand the kind of leader he was and what he represented to the American people. The other thing the book does exceptionally well in those initial chapters is to build a historical context for the events. Swanson condenses the complex climate of world affairs in the early sixties into a few succinct pages, helping readers understand the times without bogging down the narrative in a glut of unnecessary information.

Continue reading Nonfiction Award Finalist: The President Has Been Shot by James Swanson

Morris Award Finalist: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

In the Shadow of BlackbirdsIn 1918, in the heart of World War I and the influenza epidemic, sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black finds herself living in San Diego in the care of her widowed aunt, a woman only ten years her senior. All around her, the world is responding to the tragedies occurring overseas and at home by seeking answers in the paranormal. Mary Shelley, a scientist and skeptic, does not buy into the concept of “spirit photographers” and seances, believing that these are ways for people to take advantage of the grief of others. However, a personal loss leaves her with experiences that cannot be explained through her normal scientific mind.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds is Cat Winters’ debut novel. It is historical fiction built on an intriguing tale that is part mystery, part ghost story. The book is full of beautiful prose with vivid descriptions. As I read, I felt as if I could taste, see, and feel the scenes playing out on the pages. With the theme of spirit photography running through the plot, Winters’ storytelling mimics the creepy, yet beautiful feel of this art. While many novels use World War I as a backdrop, Winters has added a layer of threat by placing her characters in the middle of the influenza epidemic. Mary Shelley’s world is a very real, very frightening one. Far from the battlefields, she has to arm herself with a gauze mask before leaving her home. With doors and windows kept shut tight, her world is both literally and figuratively stifling.

Continue reading Morris Award Finalist: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Gearing up for the YMAs

Are you ready? The ALA Youth Media Awards will be presented in Philadelphia at the ALA Midwinter Meeting on Monday, January 27, starting at 8 am Eastern! With this exciting event just around the corner, the Hub bloggers thought it would be fun to share how we celebrate these prestigious awards.shutterstock_102813506 [Converted]

Mia Cabana: This year I am getting ready for the YMAs by helping some friends (Lori Ess and Betsy Bird) make graphs and charts for the live YMA pre-show they will be hosting through School Library Journal.

Cara Land: The past few years I’ve been at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, so I try to always attend the awards ceremony in person. There’s something really exciting about actually being there when you can be. In the past I’ve tried to livetweet the event, but my fingers aren’t nimble enough to catch all the honorees and I get way too distracted amidst the cheering!

Becky O’Neil: Last year was the first time I did two new things: watched the livestream and watched Twitter. It was so fun! I had a couple co-workers with me, and we were geeking out over both. It was fun to watch some of the tweets actually get ahead of the livestream, and send out our own excited tweets, feeling like we were part of the fun, even from a library workroom in Ohio. :)

Continue reading Gearing up for the YMAs