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Monday, January 27, 2014

My Son Reviews Today's Newbery Medal Winner and Other ALA Midwinter Awards Lists for Adults and Teens

I had already planned to displace the Monday Discussion today in honor of one of the biggest days in library announcements...ALA Midwinter Monday, but then another "snow day" from school for extreme cold kept me home with the kids.  So, it was good timing since many of the libraries in the Chicagoland area are closed or working on reduced hours due to the cold.

Let's start with the library world's most influential award, the Newbery Medal. It is such a big deal that all morning, the ALA's website has been having trouble handling all the traffic coming its way.

Today's winner was Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo.  You can read about the runners up and the other big youth media awards in this USA Today article.

Now DiCamillo is on my personal sure bet list as an author I know I can give any book, to any kid, and they will enjoy it.  If you have ever worked to pick leisure reading titles for children, you know this is a HUGE feat.

Back in September, when Flora & Ulysses came out, my 8 year old son read it, so I asked him for a review.  Here is what he said:
"This book was fun and funny.  A squirrel got sucked into a vacuum cleaner called the Ulysses 2000 or 3000 (he isn't sure which) and it gave him the superpowers to fly and write poetry.  Flora is a girl who names him Ulysses after the vacuum and they go on adventures together. Their adventures were great and I liked that it is told with comics and words.  I liked when they went to the restaurant with the giant donuts.  It reminded me of Diary of a Wimpy kid in the way it is written but not the story at all." (editors note: my son approved this quote as accurate.)
Here are the links to the other big awards announced today; I am trying to find alternative links that don't go through the main ALA website since it keeps crashing:

  • RUSA 2014 Awards:
    • The Reading List detailing the best of genre fiction with readalike options. This is a go-to list for me to suggest books to many of my adult patrons.  I use past lists, the runners-up and the readalikes all together on a regular basis when I am looking for a "good read" for my genre fans.
    • The Listen List with the best audiobooks for the year, also including listen-alikes.
    • Notable Books List -- "Since 1944, the goal of the Notable Books Council has been to make available to the nation’s readers a list of 25 very good, very readable, and at times very important fiction, nonfiction, and poetry books for the adult reader."
  • Here is the full list of all of the YALSA 2014 awards for books geared toward teens, including, but not limited to, my favorite award, The Alex Award for the best adult books with teen appeal. Like their adult counterparts, the YALSA awards also honor genreal fiction, nonfiction and audiobooks, as well as debut fiction and LGBTQ. Click through for all the details.
Congrats to all of the winners, and to us, the library community for drumming up such overwhelming interest about books, although I would be more proud of us if the ALA's website could keep up with the traffic.  It's not as if they didn't know people were going to be excited.

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