Tag Archives: Martin W. Sandler

And the winner is…

21 Nov


Yes, a nonfiction book, Martin W. Sandler’s book 1919: The Year That Changed America, won the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature!


Here’s what the National Book Award judges had to say:

Martin W. Sandler’s riveting work of nonfiction, 1919 The Year That Changed America, focuses on one year of turbulence and its far-reaching aftermath. Sandler’s evocative language brings 1919 to life for young readers, showing us the impact of that crucial year on major issues like race relations, women’s rights, and climate change. This carefully researched and curated work strikingly demonstrates the interconnected nature of history–as it happens and its rippling consequences for years to come.

I couldn’t agree more. The book opens with the Great Molasses Flood, which might seem a strange place to begin. However, Sandler recreates that event and connects it to the events he discusses in the subsequent chapters. It really is a brilliant piece of nonfiction writing for young people.

Although written for young people, I think  a lot of adults would find this book fascinating as well.


This week’s book talks 9/10-14

14 Sep


The Last Boy At St. Edith’s  by Lee Gjertsen Malone



Train I Ride by Paul Mosier



The True Meaning of  Smekday by Adam Rex



Zombie Baseball Beatdown  by Paolo Bacigalupi



The Whydah by Martin W. Sandler




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.

YALSA Morris/Nonfiction Challenge Check-in #2

28 Dec

Thank you to the  Sunset High School library for lending me the book I read this week for the YALSA Morris/Nonfiction Challenge. I couldn’t find it in the Multnomah County Library, The Washington County Cooperative Library System, or any of the Beaverton School District libraries, except for the library at Sunset High. Thanks goodness Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II written by Martin W. Sandler was worth the wait!


One of the tricks of writing nonfiction is to take a new perspective or add new information to the cannon. Sandler manages to do this, beginning his book with the immigration of Japanese to America, reactions to it, and then the backlash when Pearl Harbor was bombed.

What I found most compelling is the way Sandler portrays the ingenuity and courage of the Japanese Americans’ response. Like Courage Has No Color,  he juxtaposes the American “fight for freedom” in Europe with the plight those whose freedom has been compromised at home. He also follows the story through to the present, explain gin what Japanese Americans have done to receive apologies and restitution.

An excellent read for anyone.

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