Yesterday, the ALA announced the winners of the Youth Media Awards. It's the children's and teen lit version of the Oscars, but with jeans instead of ballgowns. So, what won for teens?
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Well, this was the big teen winner of the day! It won the Stonewall Award, the Pura BelPre author award, and was a Printz honor. Take a good look at that beautiful cover while you can-- it will soon be overwhelmed with medals! Ari and Dante seem to be opposites, but become best friends as they deal with family drama and figuring out the secrets of identity and the universe.
Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin. This was the day's other big winner, winning the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction (full disclosure-- I was on that committee), the Siebert Award (also for nonfiction) and a Newbery Honor. Sheinkin weaves together tales of scientific discovery, partisan sabotage, and spies as the US, Nazi Germany, and the USSR race to build a nuclear weapon while trying to keep the others from being able to do the same.
Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am by Harry Mazer. This won the teen catagory of the Schneider Family Award, an award that recognizes the best book to " embody an artistic expression of the disability experience." After his convoy is rocked by explosion, Ben is in a coma. When he finally awakes, he has no memory of anything. Ben, his friends, and his family have to find a way to deal with this new normal.
In Darkness by Nick Lake. This was this year's Printz winner. Shorty is trapped by rubble after the Haitian earthquake. With no food or water, and rescue being slow in coming, he's unsure if he will survive. In weakened delirium, he sees Haitian independance leader Touissant l’Ouverture, and tries to make sense of the life that's led him to this point.
No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. This won a Coretta Scott King author honor. Told in monologues, newspaper articles, and ephemera, Micheaux Nelson recreates the life of her great-uncle, legendary Harlem bookseller Lewis Michaux.
My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoevre, translated from the German by Tammi Reichel. This was this year's Batchelder Winner. Franziska Mangold escapes Nazi Germany through the Kinderstransport program, but when the war ends, she must decide to stay in England with her new family or return to see if anyone's left in her actual family.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This won the Morris Award. On the eve of the peace treaty's anniversary, the murder of a prince threatens an fresh outbreak of war between humans and dragons. Caught in the middle is Seraphina, a court musician who is secretly half dragon.
Alanna: The First Adventure (The Song of the Lioness, Book 1) by Tamora Pierce. Pierce is this year's Margaret Edward's Award winner, the lifetime achievement award for writing for young adults. Alanna is her first book, about a girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can realize her dream of becoming a knight.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This was a Printz Honor title. A spy caught behind enemy lines, Verity writes her confession for the Gestapo, hoping it will save her life.
Dodger by Terry Prachett. This was a Printz honor. Galavanting around London, rubbing elbows with the famous and infamous characters of the time (both real and fictional), Prachett gives us Oliver Twist's Artful Dodger as we have never seen him before.
The White Bicycle by Beverly Brenna. Taylor has Asperger's and is spending the summer babysitting in Southern France. Interweaving scenes from her life with those from this summer, the reader gets to see the world through Taylor's eyes. The third in a series, White Bicyle stands alone, but as it was a surprise win, it's seriously backordered. While you wait, check out Wild Orchid, Brenna's first book about Taylor.
A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return by Zeina Abirached, translated from the Lebanese by Edward Gauvin. This was a Batchelder honor. In this graphic novel memoir, Zeina is used to the civil war, as it has been raging her entire life. But, one night, her parents don't return and the violence comes closer and closer to home. Her neighbors wait up with Zeina and her brother as they wait for morning.
The Revolution of Evelyn Serranoby Sonia Manzano. This was a Pura BelPre author honor. In 1969, The Young Lords create in uprising in Evelyn's Spanish Harlem neighborhood. The fight spills into her own home, as Evelyn's grandmother supports the Young Lords, but her mother does not, with Evelyn caught in the middle. (Also, Manzano is probably BEST known as Maria from Sesame Street.)
Drama by Raina Telgemeier. This was a Stonewall honor book. Callie loves working backstage, even when it means trying to create a world-class set on a budget of nothing. Her theater friends sometimes offer an escape from the confusing world of boys, but sometimes just make it that much more confusing.
Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moscowitz. This is a Stonewall honor book. Told in alternating between Craig and Lio, the boys deal with family issues, the aftermath of 9/11, and the sniper shootings terrorizing Washington, DC. They can find solace and happiness in each other, but only if they allow themselves to open up to someone new.
October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman. This was a Stonewall honor book. The author of Heather Has Two Mommies, Newman was on campus to speak at Gay Awareness week at the University of Wyoming when Matthew Shephard was brutally attacked and murdered. This novel tells the story in verse from many perspectives.
Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie by S. J. Adams. This was a Stonewall honor. In this madcap adventure, Debbie joins Emma and Tim in their made-up religion, the Church of Blue. Each is given a Holy Quest to fulfill. Debbie's is to confess her true feelings (love) to her best friend, Lisa, and to do it before Lisa and her boring boyfriend go too far.
What were your favorite winners? Which ones were you sad to see not get recognized? Which ones surprised you?
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