Tag Archives: 2016 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award

#alama16: O the joy!

12 Jan

I was awake for 23 hours yesterday, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

It was my last day in Boston at the 106 ALA Midwinter Meeting, and it was THE day: the day of the  Youth Media Awards. A year’s worth of work distilled to a moment in time.

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I got up at 5 to get ready, check out of my hotel and be at the Convention Center for our 6:20 Morris Committee photo. I can tell you now that we had called our winner Saturday afternoon, but other committees called that morning and were very excited. We were a little more subdued.

After a visit to Starbucks we went to the ballroom, where the giant line had started forming. I can’t deny that I felt a little smug that I didn’t have to line up. Committee members get reserved seating at the front.

Oh, but there was a buzz in the air. Such excitement and anticipation. Just as things got started, the emotion of it all got to me and  got a  little teary-eyed. Then, I puled myself together  as the first announcements began.

When our award came up, you cold feel the nine of us tense up. Would people like our decision? As the names of our five finalists were read, I gauged the audience reaction on the applause-o-meter in my head. And the roar of the audience when it was announced was a huge relief.It was amazing to see my name up there alongside the names of people I have come to consider friends.

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The awards ended and about an hour later, we had round 2: The Morris and YA nonfiction awards ceremony. We moseyed over to that room, so far away it felt like we should leave a trail of breadcrumbs, to get things set up.

Here is the unexpected thing. I knew the job of my committee was to pick the best YA debuts published in 2015. I knew this was important in the careers of these young writers. I didn’t realize the emotional impact t would have on all of the.

Four of the five finalists were present. Kelly Loy Gilbert is at the stage in her pregnancy when she is not allowed to fly, so she appeared by video. Ana-Marie McLemore was the first speaker up and the honesty and self-reflection she put into the few minutes of her speech had me teary-eyed. Stephanie Oakes went next and by then, there were full on tears. Leah Gilbert started off with humor, as she does in her book, then got me weepy again. By the time Becky Albertalli, got up, I felt as though I’d been through an emotional wringer.

The publishers had arranged a “champagne and canapés” party for the committee and the authors, because, although we’d spent months reading and taking their books apart, we hadn’t really met them. It was wonderful because, again, they all shared how much this genuinely meant to them.

From there, I was off to the airport. I got there early, but I was so emotionally drained by that time, I was happy to sit for a while and just watch people.  Our flight boarded on time.  When I was finally seated and ready to just reflect on the wonder and emotion of the day, the fight attendant announced that because of some soccer person (who I think might have been on our flight) every passenger over the age of 21 could get a free drink. The icing on the cake.

I arrived home around one this morning and will go pick Lucy up shortly. I go back to work tomorrow. My life is returning to its normal rhythm and hum, but the emotion and excitement of the last few days will stay with me forever.

 

 

YALSA’s 2016 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #4

7 Jan

I usually write this post on Sunday, but, I will be in Boston on Sunday, anticipating ALA’s Youth Media Awards.

I finally got a copy of First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Prize by Tim Grove.

First Flight

Publisher’s Summary:In 1924 the U.S. Army sent eight young men on a bold attempt to be the first to circumnavigate the globe by flight. Men from five other countries—Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Argentina—had the same goal. The race was on!

First Flight Around the World documents the exciting journey of four American planes—the ChicagoBostonNew Orleans, and Seattle—and their crews on a race around the world. The trip held many challenges: extreme weather, tricky navigation, unfamiliar cultures, fragile planes, and few airfields. The world fliers risked their lives for the sake of
national pride.

Based in part on the journal of one of the crew members, First Lieutenant Leslie Arnold, along with commentary, newspaper reports, and archival images, First Flight Around the World is a captivating tale about American ingenuity, gumption, and perseverance.

The first this that struck me as I was reading was that this happened only 21 years after Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight, making this, to my mind, a truly audacious plan.

To be honest, this was my least favorite of the five finalists for the 2016 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. In part, this is due to my interest in the topic, in part because it seems to skew a bit toward the younger end of YA.

My prediction is that Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  by Steve Sheinkin will win, but, having served on a committee now for a year, I know that anything could happen. I’ll have to wait until Monday to find out.

YALSA’s 2016 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in #3

3 Jan

yalsa-morris-nonfiction-seals

I’m rereading the Morris award finalists in reverse order: my favorite first, and working my way down to number 5. My logic is this: I have a favorite, but I need to give the other four an objective opportunity to convince me that they also deserve to be the winner. Reading them in this order, I will arrive in Boston with my #5 fresh in my brain and ready to discuss all five finalists well. I hope my strategy works.

I also managed to reread two nonfiction finalists this week, before I have to go back to work tomorrow . (It is a good thing I love my job!)

Symphony for the City

My first journey through Symphony for the City if the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad,  by M. T. Anderson, was via audiobook. This time through, with the hard copy in hand, I was able to enjoy the text along with the many photos included.

When I first heard that Margarita Engle’s Enchanted Air was a nonfiction finalist, I was a little surprised because, although it is a memoir, it is written in poetry. I love this bold move on the part of the committee!

Enchanted Air

I always talk to may students about the need to reread and a second reading of Enchanted Air,  was a real treat. If nonfiction isn’t your thing, this would be an excellent place to start.

I still have one more nonfiction book to go, and my hold is waiting for me to pick it up at the library this afternoon.

It is hard to believe that, in a week, I will be a in Boston and on a week and a day, we will know the winners. The 2016 Youth Media Awards will be announced at 8 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, January 11, 2016, during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition in Boston. If you can’t make it to Boston, you can watch the presentation live HERE.

YALSA’s 2016 Nonfiction Reading Challenge Check-in

20 Dec

yalsa-morris-nonfiction-seals

School ended Friday and now I have two fantastic weeks stretching out before me. I have some plans to knit myself a pair of gloves, read a stack of books and generally lounge about.

Yesterday, I started reading Steve Sheinkin’s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.

Most Dangerous

Like the other books Sheinkin has written, this is extremely readable nonfiction, which I suppose is why it is a YALSA nonfiction finalist, a National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist and on several end of the year “best” lists.

Publisher’s Summary: From Steve Sheinkin, the award-winning author of The Port Chicago 50 and Bomb comes a tense, exciting exploration of what the Times deemed “the greatest story of the century”: how Daniel Ellsberg transformed from obscure government analyst into “the most dangerous man in America,” and risked everything to expose the government’s deceit. On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicans claiming to represent their interests. A provocative book that interrogates the meanings of patriotism, freedom, and integrity, Most Dangerous further establishes Steve Sheinkin as a leader in children’s nonfiction.

I think what makes this even more compelling is the fact that  Sheinkin wraps it up by bringing the issues central to the Vietnam War crisis up to the present day story of Edward Snowden. Yeah, I peeked at the ending. But, to justify my peeking, the back of the arc I have says

“Forty years before Edward Snowden and Julain Assange were household names, Daniel Ellsberg became the first large-scale government whistleblower. He would be called a hero, a traitor, and, by some, “the most dangerous man in America”.

If you, or someone you know, enjoys nonfiction, this is an excellent choice.

YALSA’s 2016 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Begins!

13 Dec

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Let the Challenge Season begin!

This year, I’m only participating in the nonfiction portion of the challenge since I am on the Morris Committee and cannot comment on them.

I’ve read a couple of the nonfiction finalists already, but will reread them, looking at them with new lenses.

Here are the five finalists:

Symphony for the City This Strange WildernessEnchanted Air First FlightMost Dangerous

Here is how the challenge works. If it looks like fun, you can sign up for it here.

Challenge objective

Read all of the 2015 finalists for the William C. Morris Award for debut YA authors, all of the 2015 finalists for YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, or both between now and the Youth Media Awards on January 11th.

Challenge rewards

Beyond experiencing the best of the best that new YA authors and YA nonfiction have to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge may use what they read toward our 2016 Hub Reading Challenge. The Hub Reading Challenge includes prizes (!!!), so by participating in the Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge, you’re getting a head start on reading some of the best books published this year and you’re giving yourself an advantage in trying to win those prizes. 

Challenge guidelines

  • The challenge begins at 8:00 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday, December 8 and ends at 7:45 AM Eastern Time on Monday, January 11. (And in case you’re wondering, the challenge ends on Eastern Time because the awards will be announced live at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston.)
  • Participants may count the reading they have done since the finalists for each award was announced last week. If you read one of the finalists before the announcement of the shortlist for that award, you must re-read it for it to count.
  • Participants may read either all of the finalists for the Morris Award, all of the finalists for the Nonfiction Award, or both. The challenge cannot be completed simply by picking five titles between the two lists; participants must read the entire list of finalists for one or both awards.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. That means non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible! Non-US residents/citizens are eligible! (More eligibility questions?

How to participate

  • Ready to start reading? Great! Comment here announcing your intention to participate. If you’re going to be tracking what you read on your blog, Goodreads, LibraryThing, YouTube or some other site, include a link to your blog/shelf/channel/profile in your comment. If you’re not tracking your reading online, keep a list some other way.
  • Still undecided? It’s okay to take your time. You may register for the challenge by leaving a comment here and starting your reading any time during the challenge period.
  • The challenge is more fun when it’s social!  Encourage other fans of teen literature or librarians and library workers to participate. If you want to talk about the challenge on Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, use the hashtag #hubchallenge.
  • Every Sunday, we’ll publish a check-in post including a round up of blog posts, book reviews, or comments on social media using the hashtag #hubchallenge. Leave a comment letting us know what you’ve read since the last check-in post. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews! Otherwise, let us know what you thought of the books in the comments. We are eager to hear your thoughts.
  • If you’ve finished the challenge since the last check-in post, fill out the embedded form with your name and contact information. Please fill out the form only once.

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