An Interview with Printz Award Winner Daniel Nayeri

As part of our celebration of the 2021 Youth Media Awards, we will be featuring original interviews with 2021 honorees in the weeks ahead, and what better place to start than with Everything Sad is Untrue? This complicated and tender novel entered the world and immediately began making waves, ultimately being honored with the 2021 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellent in Young Adult Literature. Rumor has it that when the award committee called to share the news, Nayeri poured a bottle of champagne over his head! What a way to celebrate!

2021 Printz Award Zoom Call with Daniel Nayeri and Committee Members

This interview comes from member-manager Sara Beth, who shared a conversation with 2021 Printz Award winner Daniel Nayeri a few weeks before the YMAs. It was originally published on her site, and she and Nayeri have agreed to republish it here.


Daniel Nayeri is no newcomer to the publishing world. His has been a trusted voice, both as an editor and a writer, for years. But the success of his latest novel (Everything Sad is Untrue) has launched him into the public eye, and we are all the better for his generosity, his kindness, and the beauty of his book. For this book, and for the time and energy he has granted to participate in this interview, I am grateful.


INTERVIEWER: Before we get into Everything Sad is Untrue, I’m curious about your work at Odd Dot. Can you describe your mission, and your path into publishing?

NAYERI: My path in publishing would require one of those modern hour-long TV drama series that marketing teams would describe as “sizzling!” and “pulls no punches!” I just need Dev Patel to gain some weight, break his nose a few times, and call me. But the short version is that I’ve been lucky enough to edit books in almost every category of publishing. Literary fiction, history, crime drama, pop nonfiction, memoir, coffee table books, fashion, cookbooks, YA novels, Sci-Fi Fantasy, middle grade, picture books, graphic novels, sticker books, novelty projects, and toys. They’re all completely different spaces, of course. But the core of making something, of being creative within the confines of a new format, genre, or market, is that each project is always a new delightful puzzle.

Continue reading An Interview with Printz Award Winner Daniel Nayeri

2021 YALSA Book Award Winners & Honors

Alex Award

  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781534437678).
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250217288).
  • The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982133115).
  • Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams Comicarts (ISBN 9781419734847).
  • The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony, published by Park Row Books (ISBN 9780778308744).
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982136451).
  • Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins (ISBN 9780062942852) .
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250214751).  
  • Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982156947).  
  • We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House (ISBN 9781524748098).

    In addition to the winning titles, the committee has also released the full vetted list of titles that were nominated for the Alex Award. View the list.

Edwards Award

Kekla Magoon
  • X: A Novel, co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz and published by Candlewick Press
  • How it Went Down, published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • The Rock and the River, published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
  • Fire in the Streets, published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Morris Award

If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley, published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. 9780062885029.

Nonfiction Award

The Rise & Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming and published by Schwartz and Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. 9780525646549.

In addition to the finalists and award winner, YALSA also publishes a list of vetted nominations for the Nonfiction Award. View the list. If you’d like to learn more about the list of nominations, join us for a special booktalk with the Nonfiction Committee on February 24, 7pm EST. Register for the event for free.

Odyssey Award

Winner

Kent State written in verse by Deborah Wiles, powerfully narrated by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina Delaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries and produced by Paul R. Gange for Scholastic Audio.

Honor Audiobooks

  • Clap When You Land written by Elizabeth Acevedo, narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte, and produced by Caitlin Garing for HarperAudio, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Fighting Words is written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, narrated by Bahni Turpin and produced by Karen Dziekonski for Listening Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House Audio.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, narrated by Jason Reynolds with an introduction by Ibram X. Kendi, and produced by Robert Van Kolken for Hachette Audio.
  • When Stars Are Scattered written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed and narrated by Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdi and a full cast, is produced by Kelly Gildea and Julie Wilson for Listening Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House Audio.

Printz Award

Winner

Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.

Honor Books

  • Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.
  • Dragon Hoops Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien and published by First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
  • Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh and published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.
  • We Are Not Free by Traci Chee and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Pura Belpré Award: Young Adult Author Award

Winner

Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez and published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Honor Books

  • Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera and published by Bloomsbury YA.
  • We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez and published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Congrats again to all the winners and honors and thank you to all the book award committees for all the hard work, time, and effort they put into reading all the nominees and selecting the winners! View current and past list of winners of all of YALSA’s book awards (with annotations) on YALSA’s Book and Media Awards web page. View the full list of all the winners of the Youth Media Awards here.

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

2020 Printz and Odyssey Award Virtual Celebration Recordings

Last Sunday, ALA’s The Book Award Celebration event took place. The event celebrated several of its book and media award winners, including YALSA’s very own Printz and Odyssey Awards. If you missed our celebrations, check out the recordings below, which feature speeches and Q&A segments from the winning authors. Don’t forget to share these recordings with your teen patrons and feature them on your library’s website! You can also view the full playlist of all the celebrations.

#ALAAC18 Recap: Printz Award Reception

On Friday, June 22, the Printz and Printz honor winners, announced in February at Midwinter, formally accepted their prizes.

As a fan of YA literature, one of the most exciting things about the Printz reception is how many authors (not just the year’s honorees!) are in attendance. Sitting in the audience and recognizing folks from their book jacket photos like Rebecca Stead, Tahereh Mafi, and Ransom Riggs truly made me feel like I was at the book world’s [much cozier] version of the Emmys and transformed a regular hotel conference room into something much greater.

After opening remarks from YALSA president Sandra Hughes-Hassell and 2018 Printz Committee Chair Angela Carstensen, each honoree spoke about their work and writing careers. Below is a brief recap of each speech from this special night. For more information about the Printz award and past winners, see the YALSA website and the Teen Book Finder App.

Continue reading #ALAAC18 Recap: Printz Award Reception

Another Year, Another Mock Printz

As the year begins to wind down, so do Mock Printz selection teams! With the Michael L. Printz Award just over 2 months away, we begin to narrow our choices and seriously discuss our contenders.  As a member of my library system’s selection team, I read many amazing and beautiful books this year. The experience was fun, engaging, and exposed me to books and authors I may not have otherwise picked up.

Does your library host a Mock Printz? What is your set up?

Continue reading Another Year, Another Mock Printz

Booklist: YA Alternate History

June is history month, and while there’s a ton of great historical fiction for teens out there, it’s also a perfect time to start asking “What if?”

What if the American Revolution never happened?

What if the Axis Powers won World War II?

Alternate history books are a great way to explore these questions, and alternate history for teens is becoming increasingly popular. Here are a few books to get you started.

ALTERNATE HISTORY IN YA FICTION

These stories can blend speculative elements with historical facts, which is perfect for prompting discussion about what is truth and what is fiction in the novels discussed. They can also prompt readers to explore more nonfiction about the time period.  Continue reading Booklist: YA Alternate History

ALA Annual 2015: The Printz Award Program and Reception

The 2015 Printz Award Program was held last night, Friday, June 26th, here in San Francisco, and though my pictures aren’t as clear as I’d like (and I had to type my notes into my phone while its battery dwindled), here’s a quick breakdown of the event– which, as always, was full of laughs and emotional moments.
printz2015a
From left to right: Jenny Hubbard, author of Printz Honor And We Stay; Jessie Ann Foley, author of Printz Honor The Carnival at Bray; Andrew Smith, author of Printz Honor Grasshopper Jungle; Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, illustrator and author of Printz Honor This One Summer; Jandy Nelson, author of 2015 Printz Award Winner I’ll Give You the Sun; and Booklist consultant and moderator Daniel Kraus.printz2015b

During Jandy Nelson’s speech, she told us that the only thing she said during the phone call, other than screaming, was in response to being told where this year’s award program would be. “I live in San Francisco!” She took this opportunity to thank the Printz committee the way she wished she had when they called her!  Continue reading ALA Annual 2015: The Printz Award Program and Reception

2015 Michael L. Printz Program: Questions Needed!

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On the evening of Friday, June 26, YALSA will host one of its biggest author programs of the year: The 2015 Michael L. Printz Program and Reception. This is an exciting YA opener for the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, held this year in San Francisco. Award winner Jandy Nelson will be speaking about her book, I’ll Give You the Sun, a poignant story told by twins, Jude and Noah, who take turns narrating across a three year gap. In addition, Printz Honor Award winners will be featured: Jenny Hubbard (And We Stay); Jessie Ann Foley (The Carnival at Bray); Andrew Smith (Grasshopper Jungle), and Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (This One Summer.) 

The popular question and answer format will make up the bulk of the program. This is where you come in! Whether or not you will be able to attend the program in San Francisco, you can still submit a question by filling out this form.

Interested in joining us for the Printz Program and Reception? Purchase a ticket here.

-Diane Colson, 2015 Printz Committee Chair, currently reading Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Jukebooks: I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

20820994At thirteen, twins Noah and Jude are firm fixtures in each other’s lives. They are rivals, co-conspirators, and unshakable allies all at the same time. Three years later, everything about their lives is fractured. Their once strong bond is almost nonexistent, and their family seems broken beyond repair. The creative drive, however, cannot be denied for long, and soon their paths back to art, reconciliation, and passion will bring them back to each other.

Told in two timelines, one from Noah at thirteen and one from Jude at sixteen, the 2015 Printz Award winner I’ll Give You the Sun is an ambitious, evocative study of the power of art to inspire and heal. There is a glorious tension in each narrator’s story, keeping the reader on edge as they race to discover the fates of the various tangled family and romantic relationships.

Jandy Nelson uses evocative language to express emotions, with Noah’s states of mind especially bursting with idiosyncratic colors and motion. The poetry of so many lines linger long after readers finish the last page.

In thinking through what music or song might touch on both the language and powerful longing so key to the novel, I had the thrilling realization that one of my favorite songs of yearning fit the bill.

Michigan born singer songwriter Sufjan Stevens uses the musical equivalent of this novel’s elements in his compositions: image-laden lyrics, a slow build toward a dynamic final verse, and multi-layered choruses and instruments to create a lush, romantic sound. He’s also justifiably famous for his lengthy song titles and deliberate wordplay. “The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!” from Stevens’ 2005 album Illinois struck me as a perfect fit for I’ll Give You the Sun, and in particular for the character of Noah.

The song doesn’t line up in all details, but it nails two aspects. First, the lyrics detail the powerfully felt spark of new love and the electric physical brushes that make you tremble before a first kiss even feels possible. The song can be read as featuring platonic or romantic love, and like the best songs reflects the listener as much as the songwriter, but here it fits Noah’s passionate attraction perfectly. The hesitant gestures and the final defiant outpouring of emotion sync with Noah’s tumultuous navigation of his relationship with the object of his affection, Brian.

Second, the narrative and music swirl together to present a timeline that is being remembered, one summer’s moments of longing and regret, and a present reaffirmation of the narrator’s strength of feeling and continued steadfast devotion. I’ve always been impressed by how a few lines in the first verse can so vividly recall summer in precise images, perfectly matched with Stevens’ delicate delivery and quiet pauses. The final undeniable explosion of sound including the repeated chorus of “We were in love…” and joyful horns finish with a strong note of hope and reconciliation.

A sample of the lyrics:

I can tell you, we swaggered and swayed
Deep in the tower, the prairies below
I can tell you, the telling gets old
Terrible sting and terrible storm

I can tell you the day we were born
My friend is gone, he ran away

I can tell you, I love him each day
Though we have sparred, wrestled and raged
I can tell you I love him each day

Listen to the song here:

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The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us!

Thanks to regular Jukebooks author Diane Colson for letting me join in on this feature for The Hub. While working together on this year’s Printz Committee we discovered a shared love of music and relishing the connections between a well told story and a well wrought song. It’s great to find someone else who composes playlists for favorite novels and characters!

-Robin Brenner