Saturday, October 19, 2013

Margaret Edwards Day: The Edwards Award

It's Margaret Edwards Day! Margaret Edwards was a librarian at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and revolutionized teen librarianship and getting books into the hands of teens. Every other year, Enoch Pratt hosts Margaret Edwards Day and the Books for the Beast conference. (The conference name comes from Edward's YA treatise, Fair Garden and the Swarm of Beasts: The Library and the Young Adult).

Edwards was so awesome, that YALSA has 2 (TWO!) awards named after her. Also, screw the book mobile. She had a horse-drawn book buggy.

Anyway, today is Margaret Edwards Day. We already looked at the Alex Award, so today we'll look at the Edward's Award, which is for lifetime achievement in the field of teen literature.


The Wee Free Men: The Beginning by Sir Terry Prachett. When Jenny Green-Teeth comes up from the river, Tiffany does the first thing she thinks of and bashes her with a frying pan. When the Queen of Fairies kidnaps her brother, Tiffany (along with the Nac Mac Feegles and a talking toad) venture into the darkness and nightmares of Fairie to get her back. Tiffany's resourcefulness and clear thinking are enough to get her apprenticed to a witch, even though there's never been a witch from the chalk before. This volume encompasses the first two books of the Tiffany Aching arc (The Wee Free Men and A Hat Full of Sky) in Prachett's larger Discworld series. Prachett won the award in 2011.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson. Miah is one of the few black kids at his elite private school, but when he meets Ellie (white and Jewish) their love bridges their differences and helps them deal with complicated family situations. Follow it with Behind You Woodson won in 2006.

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. Sarah and Eric have been friends for years, bonded by their outcast status. (Sarah has facial scars and Eric is fat.) But now Sarah has stopped talking and Eric has to find a way to see what's going on. Crutcher won in 2000.


Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. Richie Perry can't afford college. He's stuck in Harlem with few prospects, so he enlists and goes off the Vietnam. There are the basics of a war story-- fear, fighting, death, trying to make sense of it all, trying to stay alive. But there's more to this one-- Perry and most of his unit enlisted for their own reasons, which goes against the standard Vietnam story we tell of draftees. Myers won in 1994.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. Brian's off to spend the summer with his father, but the plane crashes over the Canadian wilderness. Brian is the only survivor. Armed with only a hatchet, he has to find a way to survive and attract someone to rescue him. Paulsen won in 1997.

Blizzard!: The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy. In March of 1888, a major blizzard struck the east coast-- New York had 21 inches fall in a matter of hours. The storm paralyzed major cities and worst natural disasters in the US. Murphy won in 2010.


Dangerous Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books by Francesco Lia Block. While not the most racially sensitive titles, this magical realism slinkster-cool love letter to LA were groundbreaking and remain a favorite for many readers. Block won in 2005.

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson. In the early days of the United States and a yellow fever epidemic is raging through Philadelphia. Mattie quickly finds herself alone in a city that's been decimated by disease. She has to protect herself not only from the yellow fever, but also the thieves that stalk the streets, taking things from deserted houses. While trying to survive, she desperately tries to find out information about her friends and family and if they still live. Anderson won in 2009.

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voight. Cheerleader Izzy is excited when a popular senior asks her out. But then he drinks to much and crashes the car, leaving Izzy with severe injuries. After having one of her legs amputated, her entire life changes. People act differently when you're in a wheelchair, especially those who knew you before. Voight won in 1995.

Who are your favorite Edwards winners? Who do you think should win an Edwards?

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  1. My question is, who do YOU think should win an Edwards?

  2. oooo... that's a good one.

    Hands down, Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot. She is my favorite and i love the way she talks about the importance of funny, light, romance and why she's made a very conscious decision to write those types of books.

    Angie Manfredi has convinced me that Stephen King needs to win. I've never read him (horror books are way too scary for me and give me nightmares) but I can't deny his popularity and longevity and importance as a teen favorite.

    I think John Green will be a major contender in about a decade (I think he needs a few more books out first.) Same with Maureen Johnson and Scott Westerfield.

    The thing about the Edwards, is I never really have someone in mind and they always pick someone I never would have thought of, and my reaction is always "oh, DUH."

  3. Ooh! Meg Cabot and Sharon Draper are great ideas of people to honor. I think Jim Murphy is the only nonfiction author who has won, and I'd love to see another nonfiction author win, but who? Steve Sheinkin? Susan Campbell Bartoletti? The great thing about the Edwards Award is that it's totally unpredictable who will be honored and every time it's a satisfying choice!


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