Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Portland Authors Win Major Book Awards

Several major children's book awards were announced this week, and for a couple there's a local connection!

But first, let's start with the Caldecott Medal, which went to one of my favorite picture books of the year: The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney. This nearly wordless book set on the East African Serengeti is a retelling of the Aesop's Fable, and it is truly remarkable.

Caldecott Honors awards went to Marla Frazee for her illustration of All the World, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, and to Pamela Zagarenski for her illustration of Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, written by Joyce Sidman.

The 2010 Newbery Medal went to Rebecca Stead for her novel When You Reach Me, a remarkable second novel set in the Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood of Stead's childhood. Four Newbery Honors were awarded as well:

  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (which also won the National Book Award), by Philip Hoose
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, by Rodman Philbrick

The 2010 Michael L. Printz Award went to Libba Bray for her novel Going Bovine, about a 16-year-old diagnosed with Mad Cow disease who takes off on a road trip in search of a cure with a Sancho Panza-type sidekick he meets in the hospital. It involves parallel universes, a dwarf, and a yard gnome. Nancy Pearl raved about this book, and I can tell you from first-hand experience that Libba Bray is hysterically funny.

Four books were recognized with Printz Honors:

  • Charles and Emma: The Darwin's Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman -- this book was a finalist for a National Book award
  • The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey
  • Punkzilla, by Adam Rapp
  • Tales from the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, by John Barnes

The William C. Morris Award for best debut Young Adult novel went to Portland author L.K. Madigan, for her book Flash Burnout. L.K. -- otherwise known as Lisa Kay -- works in Portland in the operations department of Becker Capital Management. Her novel features wise-cracking, girl-crazy Blake Hewson, who provides the comic balance in a story that deals with heavy issues, including meth addiction. Madigan's next book, The Mermaid's Mirror, is due out next Fall.

The committee also named four honor books for YA debut:

  • Ash, by Malinda Lo
  • Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
  • The Everafter, by Amy Huntley
  • Hold Still, by Nina LaCour

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for "the most distinguished book for beginning readers" went to Benny and Penny in the Big No-No!, by Geoffrey Hayes, published by Toon Books, the publisher of high-quality comics for kids that was founded by Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman. The four Geisel Honor books are I Spy Fly Guy, by Tedd Arnold; Little Mouse Gets Ready, by Jeff Smith (Also a RAW Junior/Toon book), who is also the author of the popular Bone series; Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends, by Wong Herbert Yee; and Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day, by Kate McMullan and illustrated by R.W. Alley.

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal went to Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, by Tanya Lee Stone. The three Sibert honor books were The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer's Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, by Chris Barton and illustrated by Tony Persiani; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, by Brian Floca; and Philip Hoose's Claudette Colvin, mentioned earlier in this blog.

Another local author, Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, won a Pura Belpre Honor Award for her book Diego: Bigger Than Life, illustrated by David Diaz. Bernier-Grand's book was also a finalist for a 2009 Oregon Book Award.

This has been a big year for kids' books authors from Portland, as local author Laini Taylor was a finalist for the National Book Award with her book Lips Touch: Three Times. Congratulations to all!

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