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:
Over the past several years, Scandinavian and Scandinavian-influenced culture seems to be popping up everywhere. We’ve seen this during the past six to eight years in the popularity of authors such as the Swedish Stieg Larsson, who wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and the Norwegian Jo NesbÃ¸, who writes the Harry Hole series. Over the past few years you or someone you know has definitely played â€œAngry Birds,â€ a game app created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment. (I admit that I myself facilitated an â€œAngry Birdsâ€ pom-pom craft at my library.) Recently, the movie Frozen, based in part on 19th century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen, took over the box office. To bring it back to young adult literature, the 2014 Printz Award and a Printz Honor went to two novels with Scandinavian settings, respectively Midwinterblood by the British writer Marcus Sedgwick and The Kingdom of Little Wounds by American Susann Cokal.
So this all inspired me to find out what’s been written in the past few years by Scandinavian YA authors. Read on for a sampling of recent popular and award-winning titles â€“ feel free to serve yourself!
Boy on the Edge by Fridrik Erlings (sometimes written as â€œErlingsson’) is the story of Henry, a teen who stutters, has a clubfoot and is almost illiterate. A growing rage has also developed inside him and one day he lashes out physically at his mother. As a result, he’s sent to live at the â€œHome of Lesser Brethren,â€ a farm on a lava field on the Icelandic coast. Henry finds that he really enjoys working with the animals there, and this along with the compassion of the wife of the reverend who runs the farm somewhat lessens the difficulty of his new environment. Henry’s desperate desire to make friends affects his actions, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes for the better, such as when he becomes interested in reading and writing. This novel is based on the author’s actual relationship with the real Henry. Continue reading A Small Smorgasbord of Scandinavian YA Lit
I’ve kept a journal on and off for years. Well, mostly off– but I would like to write more regularly. I believe that the first key to journaling is to set aside a certain time each day to write and stick to it. Sometimes that time is hard to find when you are working and/or in school full time. But now that it’s summer, if you’re someone who has a couple months off and a little extra time, this may be the perfect time for you to start a journal. And please tell me if you do, because that will inspire me to spend more time on mine!
With inspiration in mind, I wanted to recommend a few current and classic YA novels which are either written as journals or include journal entries.
Just before and during her first year at undergraduate art school, Ramsey Beyer kept a record of her experiences, including a Livejournal blog and a series of zines which included her own lists and illustrations.
Ten years later she published Little Fish, a compulsively readable memoir that pulls together these materials, including many of her original journal entries, and combines them with reflections from her older self. As Beyer writes in this memoir, it is her account of how she left the farming town of Paw Paw, Michigan and â€œâ€¦made the leap, packed up my life, and moved to Baltimore â€“ mixed in with the awkward college freshman experience.â€ Continue reading Get Inspired: Journaling in YA Literature
Young adult and adult novels make it to the big (and little) screen fairly often these days. So, just how smug should you feel when you have already read the book? There is no easy answer â€“ so to tackle this issue I have broken down the movie/show tie-ins into categories.
The Book Series Made into a Show
You can feel superior, but do tread lightly as you enter this murky zone. When translating a series of novels into a series of shows major plot elements are likely to be changed to allow for the continuity of the show. Examples of the book series made into a show include Pretty Little Liars (based on the series by Sara Shepard), Gossip Girl (based on the series by Cecily Von Ziegesar; a 2003 Quick Pick & 2009 Popular Paperback for Young Adults), The Walking Dead (based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn and Tony Moore), and Game of Thrones (Based on the â€œSong of Fire and Iceâ€ books by George R.R. Martin.)
Pros of pre-reading the book series made into a show:
1) You read the books, you loved themâ€¦you watch the show and get more! You can translate your book reading experience into an on-going show and keep the story alive after the series is over and/or whilst you await (impatiently) for the next book.
2) Deviations from the book make for some fun and unexpected surprises. You thought you knew all there was to know about white walkers in George RR Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice seriesâ€¦ but after watching the HBO show– what?!
Cons of pre-reading the book series made into a show:
1) Deviations from the book make for some shocking unexpected surprises. Yes, this is both a pro and a con. These changes may call into question your precognitive skills. For example AMC’s Walking Dead’s many plot changes as compared to the graphic novel series.
Bragging rights earned from pre-reading the book series made into a show:
Printz Award winning books have been set all over the world. Below is a map showing approximate locations for many of the Printz winners. Can you guess which books are set in the different locations? The answers are below.
*Only one section of the book is set in this location.