Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Middle Grade Monday – Award Day!

In case you missed it, today was the day that the American Library Association announced its 2014 Youth Media Awards. Also known as ‘Youth Librarian Christmas,” among other titles. It’s so exciting!

I want to start off by saying that the dedicated committee members who basically sacrifice a year or more of their lives to read these books and discuss them have done an amazing job! Every one of them is deserving of our gratitude.

Today, I just want to highlight a few of the winners that I am especially excited to see on this year’s lists. Let’s start with the big list for Middle Grade, The Newbery Medal. This year’s winner is Kate DiCamillo for Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures. DiCamillo has won the Newbery Award previously, in 2004, for The Tale of Despereaux, and in 2001 her novel Because of Winn Dixie was recognized with a Newbery Honor. I’m not sure how well this would go over in a middle school, but it looks like a perfect elementary title. Kate DiCamillo is also currently serving as our National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (looks like they made a good choice!)

The 2014 Newbery Honor Books are The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes, One Came Home by Amy Timberlake, Paperboy by Vince Vawter, and Doll Bones by Holly Black. I haven’t had the opportunity to read the first three (although I am a super fan of Henkes’ picture books) but I think I scared the students who were using the library when Doll Bones was announced! I was so excited I started jumping up and down. All of her novels are fabulous, but I think Doll Bones is particularly genius. It’s so fun to see someone you’re really invested in as an author be recognized for all of their hard work! Yay! (Read Heather’s review here.)

On to the Coretta Scott King Award. I have to say I was even MORE excited when I found out that Rita Williams-Garcia had won for P.S. Be Eleven! If you want to know what I really think about it – read my review here. I had hopes that it would also be recognized by the Newbery committee, but win some, lose some…

Most of the other awards I got excited about fit more into the YA category than Middle Grades, but I guess that what I get for working in a Middle School. Although I think I might be able to justify a copy of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass for our collection now.

For a list of all the award winners, click here.