The American Library Association announced the winners of the Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards today. These honor the best on Children’s literature. Past winners, like Johnny Tremain, The Graveyard Book, and The Westing Game are now consider classics so it’s a big deal to win. Not to mention a boost in sales. No doubt tomorrow hundreds of parents went into bookstores all over the country asking for them.
There are a few stand outs. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson has already won the National Book Award for Young Adult, was honored with the Coretta Scott King Award and was also a Newbery Honoree. It’s Ms. Woodson’s memoir of growing up in the south and in New York, told mostly in verse. On a personal note, Ms. Woodson lives in the neighborhood that I work in and is a very nice woman. So I couldn’t be happier for her. I haven’t read it yet but it’s definitely on the to-read list.
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith was named a Printz Award honoree. I have read this and let me tell you, it’s kinda of messed up. I became interested in it since it takes place in Iowa, my home state. It’s a story of Austin, a horny teenager who struggling with his feelings for both his girlfriend Shann and his best friend Robby. If that wasn’t enough problems for a teenage boy, he and Robby accidentally unleashed six foot praying mantis’ that will destroy the world. Yeah, I know. Weird. In one way, it was refreshing to have a novel take on bisexuality in such a head on way but on the other hand, the female lead Shann, is pretty one dimensional. So it’s progressive in one way and a step back in another way. It’s still worth a read though.
Have you read any of the other winners or honorees? If so, sound off in the comments below.