2021 Youth Media Awards

As we gear up for ALA Midwinter and the 2021 Youth Media Awards (YMA), we thought it could be fun to highlight a few YMA-related stories. In the coming weeks, we’ll focus on those titles from the past and present award cycles that might inspire you and your readers!

But first, a reminder: you can follow along with the Youth Media Awards announcements starting at 8 am CT on Monday, January 25. You can watch with ALA’s streaming platform or through the various social media platforms using the hashtag #alayma.

To begin our dive into these special awards, let’s look at the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Established in 2000, this award is granted each year to the “best book written for teens, based entirely on literary merit.” Mike Printz was a high school librarian for years, and he believed wholeheartedly in finding the right book for the right reader at the right time. In honor of 20 years of service to young adult readers, here are a few then and now connections:

Continue reading 2021 Youth Media Awards

What London Teens Are Reading

2TheListIt’s time for the 7th Annual Tower Hamlets Book Award! A list of 40 nominated books selected by librarians and pupils has been released to participating schools in the Tower Hamlets Borough in London. The competition has a couple of stages. In July, a shortlist is announced, just in time for summer reading. (Summer term ends in late July.) Pupils and librarians vote, and in November the winner is announced.

Originally, I wanted to compare their list of nominees to our list of 2013 Teen Top Ten nominees. Turns out they have only one book in common: Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity. So this post mainly focuses on the THBA, because there are some new and interesting titles found there.

Continue reading What London Teens Are Reading

Where are they now: Printz Winners

printz award sealThe ALA Youth Media Awards always make me think about past winners and where they are now. So today we look back at past Printz Award-winning authors and see what they have been up to since the auspicious day they won the award.

2012 Winner: John Corey Whaley
Since the exciting day in January 2012 when Whaley won both the Printz and the Morris Award for his debut novel, Where Things Come Back, he hasn’t published much. I can’t really blame him as I am sure he has been busy with book tours and interviews. When I interviewed him for The Hub back in January of last year he mentioned that he was working on a few projects, so I am sure we will see something soon!

shipbreaker2011 Winner: Paolo Bacigalupi
Bacigalupi had quite the wild ride in 2010 and 2001. Between his adult book The Windup Girl winning three major awards and his debut young adult novel Ship Breaker winning the Printz Award and being considered for the National Book Award, he stayed pretty busy. Since then, Bacigalupi has written The Drowned Cities, a companion novel to Ship Breaker. Continue reading Where are they now: Printz Winners

What’s Next for Printz Award Winners?

Winning the Michael L. Printz Award is the highest honor a writer for young adults can achieve. Some authors like John Green receive it for their first book (2006’s Looking for Alaska). I can’t speak for any of the winning authors and say that they aim for a Printz winner every time, but there have been a number of multiple winners in the relatively short time the award has been given since 2000. After winning a 2000 Printz Honor for Skellig, David Almond won it again in 2001 for Kit’s Wilderness. John Green followed his 2006 Printz win with a 2007 Printz Honor for An Abundance of Katherines. Even if they don’t win the award, all the winning authors have continued to publish an extraordinary body of work.

I just finished Adam Rapp’s newest, The Children and the Wolves. I feel like I always feel after I’ve finished one of his books: like I’ve been punched in the gut. Love him or hate him, his books illicit a strong response. Like 33 Snowfish and Punkzilla (a 2010 Printz Honor title) and Rapp’s other works, it’s a realistic, gritty story about kids who are marginalized by society–whether it’s because they are from broken families with parents just scraping by or too wealthy and self-centered with their own lives and careers to pay attention to their brilliant but troubled children.

Wealthy Carla (AKA Bounce), 14, is super-smart with a sociopathic love for violence (she loves extreme fighting, especially cage fighting) and a fascination with opening up animals’ innards to see what make them tick. She’s persuaded two 7th grade outcasts, Wiggins and Orange, who can’t resist her allure, and her prescription drugs, to kidnap a 3-year-old girl they call Frog and hold her hostage in Orange’s basement. Bounce was inspired to kidnap Frog after a local poet spoke to her Honors English class and railed against mass consumerism like TV, the internet, fast food, and the other evils that are imprisoning and limiting everyone’s freedom. Bounce likes mass consumerism, so she decides to kidnap Frog, then collect money on her behalf by using it to publicize the child’s disappearance and use it to buy a gun and make the author disappear.

The characters take turns narrating each chapter as the events unfold. Reading Rapp can be like watching a car wreck. You want to turn away, but you are compelled to keep reading. You keep hoping his troubled, immoral, and delusional characters will redeem themselves even as you know that, like life, there are no guarantees of a happy ending for any of his characters.

Continue reading What’s Next for Printz Award Winners?