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25 Feb

A lot of reading of “books I missed” happens in the wake of the Youth Media Awards. This weekend I read two lovely picture books I missed earlier in the year. Each deal with sad topics in a beautiful way.

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The Rough Patch by Brian Lies, was a Caldecott Honor book. It is about love, loss, and grief.

Goodreads Summary:Evan and his dog do everything together, from eating ice cream to caring for their prize-winning garden, which grows big and beautiful. One day the unthinkable happens: Evan’s dog dies.

Heartbroken, Evan destroys the garden and everything in it. download-1

The ground becomes overgrown with prickly weeds and thorns, and Evan embraces the chaos.

But beauty grows in the darkest of places, and when a twisting vine turns into an immense pumpkin, Evan is drawn out of his isolation and back to the county fair, where friendships—old and new—await.

 

Let me just say that the two page spread that shows the day his dog passes might be one of the most poignant scenes in a picture book, ever.

The other picture book I read, The Remember Balloons, written by Jessie Oliveros and illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte, was a 2019 Schneider Family Award Honor Book.

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Publisher’s Summary: James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice!

Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

It’s the quiet voice and  little details that make this book so powerful. Depending upon how old people are, they have more or fewer balloons than others. But the dog always only has one red balloon. That touched my heart because that’s how dogs are.

Both of these books are great for young readers. They can also help parents talk to their children about these tough topics.

#alamw19 – Day 4 – AWARDS!

29 Jan

I got up early, packed, and checked out of the hotel. I swung by  Starbucks   – where I might have seen David Levithan – then went to sand in line for the Youth Media Awards (YMA).

I don’t know that I can adequately describe the energy in the air. People were buzzing about what they hoped would win, of course. Strangers in line next to you were now your new friend. We all agreed this was better than all the movie and TV awards combined.

As a short person. I really like to sit in a row where no one sits in front of me and I got one dead center.

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It also let me run into a few people I know. I was standing and chatting with an former library colleague when the ALA media approached us.

“We are doing a documentary and wondered if you two would be will to answer a few questions?”

Of course we said yes. We were asked about favorites. She said Dreamers and I said Drawn Together. They asked a few more questions and afterwards we each thought we were hopelessly inarticulate, but we didn’t care because the YMA were about to begin.

For the first time, my twin sister was watching from her home in Canada and we were able to watch together.

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Yeah, we cry over books.

Some favorites won awards. My TBR list just got longer. Waiting in line, my new friends and I had all agreed that even if our favorites didn’t win, we knew this was an opportunity to meet new books.

But before I could meet those new book, I attended YALSA’s Morris/Nonfiction Awards reception. This is my other favorite Midwinter event. Each of the awards announces five finalists in December. The winner is announced at the YMA. All ten finalists get a few minutes to speak and their speeches always touch my heart.
Afterwards, there is a book signing. This year we all got five books. I made a beeline for John Hendrix and got him to sign my copy of The Faithful Spy.

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After the reception, my five signed books in tow, I collected my luggage and headed to the train station. I thought my train was at 5, but it was at 6. I sat, knitting, watching the people around me. I finished the first sock in the pair.

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Boarding time finally rolled around. I boarded the train and was glad to be on my way home.

2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalists

13 Dec

As promised, here are the finalists for the 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. As with the Morris Award nominees, I’ve read all the titles. They, too, will be announced at the Youth Media Awards in Seattle. These authors will also present at the same ceremony as the Morris finalists.

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  • The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor written by Sonia Sotomayor
  • Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam written by Elizabeth Partridge
  • The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler written and illustrated by John Hendrix
  • Hey, Kiddo:  How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addictionwritten and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  • The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees written and illustrated by Don Brown

My heart is with Hey Kiddo,  which I wrote about here. I am also excited to see Faithful Spy on the list.

You can read more about all five finalists on the 2019 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award page.

 

2019 Morris Award Finalists Announced!

12 Dec

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first given in 2009, honors a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.  The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards with a shortlist of up to five titles named in early December.

For the first time ever, I have already read all of the Morris Award finalists before they were announced. Here they are:

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  • Blood Water Paint written by Joy McCullough
  • Check, Please! written and illustrated by Ngozi Ukazu
  • Children of Blood and Bone written by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay written by Adib Khorram
  • What the Night Sings written and illustrated by Vesper Stamper

They are all fantastic books, but my heart is leaning towards Darius the Great Is Not Okay. But I’d also love to see Blood, Water, Paint,  a novel in verse, win. It is hard to know what the discussion about these five, very different books will be like, or say who will win. I will be at the Youth Media Awards in Seattle when the winner is announced on Monday, January 28th. I will also attend the awards presentation afterwards to celebrate  all five finalists and whichever book wins. You can read more about each book on YALSA”S Morris Award page.

Stay tuned the Nonfiction finalists should be announced soon.

 

 

Longlist for the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

13 Sep

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  • Elizabeth AcevedoThe Poet X
    (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • M. T. Anderson and Eugene YelchinThe Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
    (Candlewick Press)
  • Bryan BlissWe’ll Fly Away
    (Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Leslie ConnorThe Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
    (Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Christopher Paul CurtisThe Journey of Little Charlie
    (Scholastic Press / Scholastic, Inc.)
  • Jarrett J. KrosoczkaHey, Kiddo
    (Graphix / Scholastic, Inc.)
  • Tahereh MafiA Very Large Expanse of Sea
    (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Joy McCullough, Blood Water Paint
    (Dutton Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Elizabeth PartridgeBoots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam
    (Viking Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
  • Vesper Stamper, What the Night Sings
    (Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)

#alaac18 – Day 4 in New Orleans

26 Jun

I fairly flew to the Convention Center Monday morning. Apparently my happiness was evident because, After replying “Good morning” to the same greeting from I woman I passed on the street, she added, You are awfully jolly this morning.”

Of course I was: this was the day we handed out our awards, them met the honorees for lunch! This was the final event in a process that began over a year ago.

 

 

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Sorry about that last photo – maybe I was a little excited and I couldn’t keep my hands from shaking!

It was amazing to get to finally meet everyone and we got to have some deeper conversations over lunch.

And then the good byes started. Most people left that afternoon, but a friend and I were not among them so we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening together.

Our first stop was the Odyssey Awards presentation for the best audio recordings. The most emotional moment of the event happened before the ceremony started.  A buzz spread in the room as Angie Thomas, author of The Hate You Give, arrived. As she walked up to Bahni Turpin, the narrator of the audiobook, she burst into tears and hugged her. This was the first time they’d ever met!

From there we visited the Hotel Monteleone which featured a revolving, carousel  bar, at which writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and William Faulkner passed some time. We walked on for a seafood dinner at Trenasse, where I had a delicious Crawfish pie.

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While in New Orleans, I managed to eat jambalaya, crawfish pie and gumbo. As you read this, I will probably be flying home. These two thoughts bring to mind that great Hank Williams song:

 

 

Of course I said yes

18 Mar

When the email came asking me to present at the Spring mini conference for local school librarians, of course I said yes. I’d once been the person coordinating that conference and knew how hard it could be to find someone to present on a Saturday.

When I saw the schedule I balked.

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Who would want to see my presentation when they can see a Newbery honor author? I wondered. I was half hoping and half fearing everyone would want to see her.

Regardless, I spent the week getting my presentation together. I put a link to our Sibert phone calls into my Powerpoint and then wondered about embedding the video right in the presentation. I was surprised to see there was no “download this video” button on YouTube. A quick Google search informed me I didn’t need to download an app, there was an easy way to do so. I was glad because I wanted the clip, just in case I ran out of things to say. By Friday night, I felt ready for whatever Saturday was going to throw at me.

I could have just arrived in time for my presentation, but, presenters attend the mini conference for free. As a morning person, it just made sense to show up early. I drank coffee and reconnected with some former colleagues. I attend a Makey Makey workshop for the first session to keep my nerves at bay. In the break between sessions, I set up my computer and books in the lab.

And then Saturday threw all it had at me.

“Adrienne, our author is running late. Is it OK if we start the second session later than planned?” one of the conference organizers asked me.

Of course I said yes.

And when she came to me again to explain that a communications snafu  had sent Ingrid Law to the wrong school, I was asked to present to the whole group. Of course I said yes.

Like most teachers, I am totally comfortable in front of a room full of kids. Not so for adults. I moved everything into the library and presented to the large group. I was a little nervous starting out, but was okay by the end, I think. I was maybe a little sweaty. I managed to fill the hour, and it was a good thing because although the video ran fine, the speakers didn’t work. In case you’d like to see the video, here it is.

 

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