Tag Archives: Alex Award

2015 Hub Reading Challenge Check-In #9

12 Apr

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It was a slow reading week for The Hub Challenge. I only got to one book, which I have not yet finished.

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This is just such a sad story. It isn’t sad because of the death of Lydia, with which the story opens. It is just sad to read about such a dysfunctional family.

The writing is good, which is what is keeping me going, but I am reading it in small chinks because I end up feeling dismal after reading for  a while. Don’t take that to mean that I don’t like the book. I really do, but it is sadly disturbing. In November, The Guardian published a lovely review which highlights the books strengths.

The book deals with family relationships, racism and unfulfilled aspirations. But it is Ng’s writing that s the real winner here.

2014 Hub Reading Challenge Week # 10

12 Apr

Every language seems to have a word for it:

So so

comme ci comme ça

έτσι κι έτσι
(étsi ki étsi)
así así
så som så
马马虎虎
(Mǎmǎhǔhǔ)
まずまずで
(Mazumazude)
mar sin-sin
I’m sharing this because many times I read a book and think it’s pretty good, so so, worth the time to read. And every once in a while something knocks my socks off. This week, I read two books for the HUB Reading Challenge
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and one really knocked my socks off and I highly recommend that you read it.
The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence was an Alex Award winner. Here is the Goodreads summary:
A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn’t had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing …
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world. 
That doesn’t really do it justice. It’s about Kurt Vonnegut, friendship, ethical and existential questions.I highly encourage you to read it. I will admit that I’ve never read any Kurt Vonnegut, but I’m thinking now that maybe I should. 

Coming Soon: The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge

29 Jan

Hub Reading Challenge logo

Get excited, YA lit enthusiasts! Now that the Youth Media Awards have been announced and the selected list committees are wrapping up their work, we are pleased to officially announce that the  2014 Hub Reading Challenge is almost here!

When? The 2014 Hub Reading Challenge will begin at 12:01AM EST on Monday, February 3. Once the challenge starts, you’ll have about four months (until 11:59pm on Sunday, June 22) to read as many of the following as you possibly can:

  • 2014 winner and honor books for  YALSA’S 6 Awards (Alex, Edwards, Morris, Nonfiction, Odyssey, Prinz)
  • The books on the Top Ten lists from YALSA’s 2014 Selected titles 
  • The YA titles honored by the 2014 Schneider family Award and the 2014 Stonewall Award

If you participated in the Morris/Nonfiction Challenge, you can count that reading toward your progress in The Hub Reading Challenge. Otherwise, only books that you both begin and finish within the challenge period count, so if you’ve read any of these titles before, you’ll have to re-read them to count them.

What? To complete the challenge, read or listen to 25 of the selected titles before the deadline. Everyone who completes the challenge will be invited to submit a reader response (which can be text, audio, video, graphics, or some combination) to his or her favorite (or least favorite!) challenge title, which will be published on THE HUB.. Additionally, everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a random drawing to win a grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2013 and 2014 YA lit titles! (If you’re a librarian or teacher, they’ll also toss in a couple of professional development titles.)

Not challenging enough, you say? For the speed readers out there, The Hub offers this: on top of completing the challenge, you can go on to conquer it by reading all of the eligible titles.

As you read, you’ll also be earning badges that you can post on your blog or website or include in your email signature to show off how well-read you are, and if you conquer the challenge by reading all of the eligible titles, you’ll earn a super-elite badge.

How? Keep track of what you read every week and how many titles you’ve finished. Every Sunday, the HUB will create a check-in post; comment on the post with what you’ve read or listened to that week (and what you thought of it!). If you’ve completed the challenge, fill out the form embedded in the post . The challenge runs on the honor system, so be good!

Format matters, because listening can be a very different experience from reading in print, so be sure to experience challenge-eligible titles in the format in which they were honored. For example, Scowler won the Odyssey Award, which recognizes outstanding audiobooks, so even if you’ve already enjoyed the print version, you’ll need to listen to the audiobook to count it for this challenge. Better Nate than Ever  won for print and for audio, so you can read and listen to it and it will count as 2 books.

Who? All readers of young adult literature — teachers, librarians, publishers, booksellers, bloggers, parents, teens, anyone! — are welcome to accept our reading challenge.

ALA Youth Media Awards Predictions & Musings

24 Jan

They’ll be here Monday.

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8 am ET, so 5 am here, I will be up & ready to watch before I go to work. You can, too, by clicking HERE.

What are the ALA Youth Media Awards, you might ask. My funny answer is the OSCARS of the youth book world: The Newbery, Caldecott, Prinz, to name a few. The YALSA Morris/Nonfiction Challenge I;ve been reading is about the nominees for 2 YA awards. So, let me begin with those.

1. Morris Award for a debut YA novel: I really hope Sex and Violence  by Carrie Mesrobian wins this and I think it will.

2. YALSA Nonfiction Award: This is more complicated. I want Neal Bsscomb’s  The Nazi Hunters to win

but I am pretty sure that Courage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone or Imprisoned:The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War  II by Martin W. Sandler will win.

3. The Caldecott is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.I’m torn here between The MightyLalouche and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.

4. The Newbery is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. You have to be American to win this one. As much as I’d like to say Kevin Henkes’ The Year of Billy Miller  will win this one, I think it’s intended audience is to young & the committee won’t pick it. I also wish they’s pick Flora and Ulysses  by KAte Di Camillo, but humor rarely wins. That said, I’d like it to be The Center of Everything  Linda Urban but it will probably be The Thing About Luck  by Cynthia Kadohata, which I still have not read because I can’t get into it.

5. The Prinz Award is an award for a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. I hope Reality Boy by A S King os somewhere on the list.

6. The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.My top 2 are Loteria  and  The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

7. The  Pura Belpre Award   is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. Hands down, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina should win this one. I also predict that Yuyi Morales will win for Niño Wrestle the World. 

8.The Robert F. Sibert Award goes to the the most distinguished informational book published in English. This one always overlaps with the YALSA Nonfiction award, so my prediction there also applies here. I hope to see Elizabethe Rusch’s  Eruption  as well. This list also includes informational books for younger readers so I’d like to add a  A Splash of Red by Jen Bryant or  Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909  by Michelle Markel or Who Says Women Can’t be Doctors: The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone.

¡BINGO!

8 Nov

Have you read Lotería by  Mario Alberto Zambrano?

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You really should. It is a distressing story, but so beautfully written. It is an adult book, although I did end the title to the committee responsible for selecting the Alex Awards, which are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.
With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, the young girl retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal , Luz tells the story of her family’s tragic demise using the a deck of Lotería cards.

That got me wondering about books for younger readers based on Lotería. I found 2.

The simplest is The King of Things/ El Rey de las Cosas by Artemio Rodriguez.

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In this bilingual (Spanish/English) very early reader, Little Lalo receives inspiration from the famous Mexican lotería game. Since Lalo is the King of Things and three years old besides, he plays the cards and counts as his possessions the sun, the moon, a lion, a fish, a clown, a train, the crown on his head. Each card in Lalo’s kingdom has its own page, illustrated with a playful brightly colored woodcut.

A second picture book about Lotería is Playing Lotería/El Juego de la Lotería by Rene Colato Lainez.

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This bilingual book is about the relationship between a grandmother who speaks little English and her grandson who speaks little Spanish and the game of Loteria (similar to Bingo), which is widely played in Mexico. The boy is sent to spend time with his grandmother to learn Spanish, but the boy ends up teaching his grandmother English as well.

I haven’t discovered a good middle grade novel centered around Lotería, but I’m still looking. Let me know if you know of any.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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