Tag Archives: 2016 Youth Media Awards

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


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.

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