Sunday, January 27, 2013

Countdown to ALA: The Printz Award

The Printz Award is for is for a book that "exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature." Last year's winner, Where Things Come Back, and a 2011 honor book, Nothing were included in my favorite Morris and Batchelder awards. 2009's winner, Jellicoe Road, the 2009 honor book Tender Morsels, and the 2007 honor book The Book Thief were on yesterday's Australia Day list. The 2004 winner, The First Part Last was featured in my list of favorite Coretta Scott King winnersAngus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson was on my list for Someday We'll Laugh About This Week, and was an honor book 2001.

Here are some other of my Printz favorites:


Going Bovine by Libba Bray. In this retelling of Don Quixote, Cameron goes on a journey with his dwarf best friend, guided by an angel with pink hair. It may be the greatest road-trip ever, or it may just been a hallucination brought on by mad-cow disease. It won in 2010.

Nation by Terry Prachett. Mau's entire island village is destroyed by tsunami. He's the only one left until he comes across Daphne, a white girl shipwrecked on his island by the same deadly wave. Together they find a way to survive and move on from the tragedy, while still examining the greater questions of life. This was a 2009 honor book.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Disgusted by certain aspects of her elite boarding school, Frankie infiltrates the all-male Order of the Basset Hounds. Despite the fact her father and boyfriend are members, Frankie's supposed to pretend she doesn't know it exists. Instead, she makes it do her bidding without their knowledge. This was a 2009 honor book.


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. Told in three parts, this graphic novel's stories eventually merge into a single tale about accepting who you are. Jin Wong just wants to be an all-American kid instead of an immigrant one. Danny (a truly all-American kid) is horribly embarrassed by the antics of his cousin Chin-Kee. And Monkey wants to be the most revered of all the gods. In 2007 this became the first (and so far, only) graphic novel to win the Printz award.

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M. T. Anderson. Octavian is a slave, but one owned by a group of scientists, who give him an extensive classical education and closely monitor and document his growth and development, both phyiscal and mental. But as their expirements get more and more risky, Octavian has to admit certain hard truths about the reality of his situation. Told in a fitting and perfect 18th century voice, this was an Printz honor in 2007. The second half of the story, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves was an honor in 2009 and follows Octavians time in the Royalist army during the American Revolution.

Keesha's House by Helen Frost. This verse novel tells of a group of teens who have found a safe place living with their classmate, Keesha. Each teen has a distinct voice and a distinct poetic form as they tell of what causes them to need a safe haven and how they end up at Keesha's house. It was a 2004 honor book.


The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Caroline Mackler. Virginia feels out of place in her plus-sized body and over-achieving magazine-beautiful family. When her older brother is accused of a crime, she struggles with her own reactions, and the reactions of her parents. This was also a 2004 honor book.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Right before the start of high school, there was a party. At the party something happened, so Melinda called the cops. Because she called the cops, no one will talk to her. Because no one will talk, no one will listen, so Melinda stops talking, too. This was an honor book in 2000, the first year the Printz was awarded.

What are you hoping wins this year? What are your favorite Printz titles?

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