Friday, January 25, 2013

Countdown to ALA: Morris, Nonfiction, and Batchelder Awards

I'm on my way to Seattle! We continue our countdown to Monday morning's announcement of the Youth Media Awards by looking at a few awards. I was good and narrowed it down to three favorites in each award. These awards are all relatively new, or don't always honor teen titles.


The Morris Award started in 2009 and is an award for a debut author. A Curse Dark As Gold was the first winner and is on my list for Jacob Grimm's Birthday. Ash was on my list for Charles Perrault's Birthday and was a finalist in 2010.

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. The town of Lily, Arkansas, is taken by storm with the possible sighting of the Lazarus Woodpecker, a bird long thought to be extinct. Cullen likes to mock it. His brother, Gabriel, is a bit more zen about it. Then, Gabriel disappears without a trace. In another story, Benton Sage goes to Ethiopia on his mission trip. Mission work is more about helping and less about preaching, which Benton can't handle. He comes home obsessed with the Book of Enoch, a lost gospel. The stories alternate between chapters. You know they have to collide, but you'd never entirely sure how. This won the Morris Award in 2012.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Elisa wears the godstone that marks her as chosen by God. When she's married off to a neighboring king, she is thrust into a world of politics and intrigue that she doesn't understand. When she is kidnapped by rebels and sees the truth of the situation on her borders, she must face her destiny. The first in a trilogy, the second book, The Crown of Embers is just as good. It was a finalist in 2012.

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Freshman year, Lupita's mother gets uterine cancer. Despite the fact that she's the oldest of eight, Lupita and her mother have a close relationship and it grieves her to see her vibrant and wonderful mother struggle with the disease. This verse novel follows Lupita through high school and beyond, and we see her and her family deal with her mother's illness. This was a finalist in 2012.


The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults started in 2010. It's for the best nonfiction for teens. I am MOST anxious to see who wins this award this year, mostly because I'm on the committee, so I get to help decide. Contrary to some internet rumors I've seen, the committee DOESN'T KNOW YET. Seriously. It hasn't been decided and I'm looking at a very rough meeting, because the shortlist has been decided, and they're all really good so how can we pick just one?

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery by Steve Sheinkin. This is a rip-roaring yarn of fierce battles, crazy stunts, and incredible bravery that then goes completely wrong when Arnold does the unthinkable. Although we’re still unsure as to WHY he did it, we get a much more complete picture of the man than we usually do. This won in 2012. Sheinkin's Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon in on this year's shortlist!

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose. Rosa Parks was not the first African-American arrested in Montgomery for refusing her bus seat. Claudette Colvin was. And she was only in high school and she did it on purpose. Hoose explains why history doesn't know her name and why it should. His book, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 is also on this year's shortlist!

Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker. Walker worked with a team of forensic anthropologists to look at colonial-era remains and discover who they were, how they lived, and how they died. Heavily illustrated to clarify points, fans of shows like CSI and Bones will eat this one up.


The Batchelder Award is for the best work translated into English. It's for any book published for those under 18, so sometimes the books are too young for teens. It's been around since 1969. The Pull of the Ocean, which I covered on Charles Perrault's Birthday won in 2007.

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Marie Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet. Koumail knows that his real name is Blaise Fortune. He is a French citizen. As a baby, he was rescued from a train wreck by Gloria. Since the age of 7, they have been on the run from the rebels, from the war. He doesn't understand the war and everytime he asks, Gloria tells him that it's useless to try to understand the Caucasus. It's not the concern of a French citizen. And so they try to get from Georgia to France, finding kindness and refuge, fleeing from rebels and militias. This won in 2011.

Nothing by Janne Teller, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. One day, Pierre Anthon stands up, announces that life has no meaning, and walks out of class. His classmates know he is wrong, so to prove it, they create a pile of things that have the most meaning. But parting with what is most meaningful in your life is hard, so the other students decide what each teen must give up. This was an honor book in 2011.

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor, translated from the Swedish by Linda Schenck. After Kristellnacht, Stephie and her sister Nellie are two of 500 Jewish children that the Swedish government allows in to live with Swedish families. They're placed on a small island off the coast in a fishing village-- a far cry from their life in Vienna with their doctor father and former opera singer mother. Even worse, they're put with different families. Ok, this one isn't really a teen book, but the second book in the series is very tween-y. The final two haven't been released in English yet, but I'm pretty sure they're going to go more and more teen. Plus, it's just so good! This won in 2010. The second, The Lily Pond was an honor in 2012.

What are your favorites from these awards? What do you hope will win?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be polite. Please do not spam. Please share other titles on this topic. I reserve the right to delete any comments that are mean, harassing, or spammy.