It is great that the National Book Foundation has broaden aspects of their National Book Award. They are now including other knowledgeable book people besides writers on the juries and introduced a 10 book long list this year. Yesterday the short lists were announced — five books from those original long lists. (Reminder: this is a very different award from the Newbery as only books submitted for a significant fee by the publishers are considered. There were under 300 of these submitted for the Young People’s award. More on the process here.)
I have to say I’m delighted with the Young People’s Literature shortlist, having read and enjoyed very much four of the five. Congratulations to all!
Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
I’ve been reading this one aloud to my 4th graders and we are having an absolutely grand time with it. Appelt is a storyteller for sure — her books just demand that you read them aloud. This one is especially fun and funny. Just one thing— I want a sugar cane pie!
Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
This feels like a slice of life story, a point in time, vividly evoked. Wonderful characters, setting, and set pieces. The last part was especially beautifully done.
Tom McNeal, Far Far Away (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)
I found this a unique read, sort of spooky, definitely creepy as it goes on. McNeal really knows how to make food sound really scrumptious and also various characters twinkly and fun until…they are not. It probably would have given me nightmares as a kid!
Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Group USA)
Need to read this one!
Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints (First Second/Macmillan)
Liked both of these tremendously. Really vivid portrayal of a difficult historical period, one that makes you think and feel.