Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

My newbery predictions—mostly a swing and a miss January 24, 2012

Filed under: Newbery,Newbery potential — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:51 am

The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer Holm

Inside Out and Back Again by  Thanhha Lai (the only one I was in the park with!)

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberley Bradley

Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu


Don’t Forget About the Printz Award January 19, 2012

Filed under: ALA,Caldecott,Newbery,Newbery potential,Printz — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:54 pm

It seems like every year there is quite a bit of buzz about potential Newbery and Caldecott award winners. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I’ve always loved trying to “pick” what book I think is going to be the winner– before the announcements. Some years I have been even willing to place a bet with a friend-I was that certain.

This got me thinking about the Printz award. There isn’t nearly the buzz about it as the Newbery and Caldecott awards. Why is that, I found myself wondering?

The Printz Award has only been around since 2000 as compared to 1937 for the Caldecott Award, which is awarded to the “artist who had created the most distinguished picture book of the year”. The Newbery Award is the oldest and began in 1922 and was the first children’s book award in history! .  It is awarded “for the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year”.

The Printz “honors excellence in literature written for young adults” and the “book may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or an anthology and can be a work of joint authorship or editorship. Nominated books may have been previously published in another country , but must have been in the U.S. during the preceding year. The books must be designated by their publishers as either a young adult book or one published for ages 12 through 18”.

Hmmm…. Are there other “awards” out there that are similar? What about the Cybils or the National Book Awards?

The National Book Award seems to have some overlap between those finalists and the Printz, or sometimes the Newbery. The National Book Award is given “by writers to writers” and was started in 1950.

The Cybils, on the other hand, came about in 2006 and “rewards the children’s and young adult authors (and illustrators) whose books combine the highest literary merit and “kid appeal”. Created by bloggers for bloggers, it certainly has caught on. Despite the existence of the Cybils, which is more open to participation by the non-librarian, mock Newbery and Caldecott “clubs” continue to go strong.

Here’s a short round-up of Printz predictions/contenders from the web:

Bookhenge2011 blog, which is tied to Young Adult Literature course and a library (appears to have just shy of 30 members) gave their mock awards to:

2012 Printz Winner – Paper Covers Rock, by Jenny Hubbard

2012 Honors

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
Every You, Every Me, by David Levithan
Chime, by Frannie Billingsley
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne Valente

Someday My Printz will Come  is from the School Library Journal and had votes tallied from 116 votes and gave their mock winner and honors to:

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Chime by Frannie Billingsley

 A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Steph Su Reads blog has a longer list of possibilities.

Here’s what I am thinking are possibilities based on what I have read–

Everybody Sess the Ants by A.S. King (my money is on this one-I’ll post my review this weekend)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt

Here’s my to-read pile that:

I’d like to try to complete before the award is announced, but I won’t get to AND–

I think has a shot at winning–

Paper Covers Rock

Scorpio Races

The Girl Who Circumnavigated the Earth

The Returning

Chime (started, but couldn’t get into)


Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu January 13, 2012

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

September 2011, 320 pages

Walden Pond Press

Library Copy

Anne Ursu has written an amazing book. I love the intersection of realistic fiction with a version of  The Snow Queen. The two friends Hazel and Jack each are suffering from their own family problems. Hazel doesn’t “fit” with her school and her father has recently left, doesn’t call, and is getting remarried. Jack gets teased by the boys in his class for being friends with a girl and has a mother suffering from a serious depression.

So that I can get on to other reading, instead of writing my own review, I’m going to give you a couple links to other blog reviews:

NPR December 2011 Kids’ Book Club Pick  (This is the first I’m learning of Backseat Book Club. Love it!)

Jen Robinson’s review 

Book Smugglers interview  with author in their Inspirations and Influences category.

The author’s use of language really grabbed me. I aspire to write as well as she. Here are my favorite lines:

“Everyone in the fifth grade had messenger bags, everyone but Hazel, who had not been cc’ed on that particular school-wide e-mail.” (p. 11)

“She spoke in bright, shiny words, as if that might distract Hazel from thoughts of Jack.” (p.98)

“Her heart plummeted, and her feathers fell away.” (p. 108)

“…their voices were rough and loud and had the sharp edges of crushed-up beer cans.” (p. 138)

“They were plastic flowers of words–but they looked nice on the surface.” (p. 142)

“She had stepped into the woods in the park and landed in an entirely different place. She knew this might happen. She’d been to Narnia, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Dictionopolis. She had tessered, fallen through the rabbit hole, crossed the ice bridge into the unknown world beyond. Hazel knew this world. And it should have made this easier. But it did not. (p. 160)

“There were so many Jacks she had known, and he had known so many Hazels. And maybe she wasn’t going to be able to know all the Jacks that there would be. But all the Hazels that ever would be would have Jack in them, somewhere.” (p. 247)

“The truth was he had been getting more and more scratchy and thick lately. Because sometimes when you are scratchy and thick you don’t want to be sitting in a shack with someone pretending it’s a palace, especially someone who can tell you are scratchy and thick, especially someone who tries to remind you who you really are.” (p. 248)

Brilliant don’t you think? 

I had heard about this book for a long time before it was released. I probably would have read it sooner if it wasn’t for the one thing that bothers me about it. I don’t think it’s very nice to point out a negative about such a great book, and of no fault of the author’s, but it REALLY bothers me that the girl on the cover looks so much like a Disney cartoon. In the shower this morning, I decided she looks like a cross between Lilo from Lilo and Stitch and Pocohantas. I don’t want a Newbery-worthy book to have a cartoon-like character on the cover. I know that’s probabaly dumb, but really???

That aside, teachers and parents definitely should introduce this book to your middle grade readers!