Awards Day 2014

Monday morning I woke up to several ecstatic tweets from John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars.

Obviously at this point, I realized that it was Awards Day, and did a little happy dance in my pajamas. Why yes, dear reader, I was in pajamas at 8:40 in the morning. Because I just graduated from college. And I can do such things. Is that not an excuse? Oh, well. Feel free to judge.

But the point is, Awards Day is one of my favorite days of the year– the day on which the American Library Association (ALA) announces the the top books of 2013 for children, young adults, and adults. These awards include the Caldecott, the Newbery, the Coretta Scott King, and, my favorite, the Printz. If you are wondering what all of these awards mean, fear not! The following is a primer on book awards and the books that you should reserve at your library for your reading pleasure this year.

The Printz

The Michael L. Printz Award is probably my favorite award, and is the most applicable to this blog, as we focus on young adult fiction. The award is named for a librarian in Topeka, Kansas who was an active member in the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and dedicated his life to ensuring that his students had access to quality literature that expanded their horizons and made them think. The first award was given in 2000, and recognizes the best book written for teens based on literary merit.

This year’s Printz winner is Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick.

The description on the back:

Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.


Okay, this is the UK cover… but it is just so pretty and I like it more than the US cover.

The Printz Honor books for 2014 are:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

and Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


I have to admit that this is the only book that I read that is on the Printz Honor list… but I loved it!

I have already reserved several of these books at the library, and am so, so excited to read them!

My favorite Printz winners from the past are:

Looking for Alaska by John Green in 2006

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang in 2007

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta in 2009

and Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi in 2011.


Clare and I are huge Melina Marchetta fans– the name of our blog, Side of Wonder, comes from one of her books.

The Newbery

The Newbery Medal is familiar to many people because most of us read books with the bronze and silver foil stamps on the covers in elementary school. The award is named for an 18th century English publisher who published books for young readers. This award goes to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The first award was given in 1922, making it the oldest children’s book award in the world.

This year’s winner of the Newbery is Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.

The description on the back: It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format — a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K. G. Campbell.

Wow. Guys, I am so excited to read DiCamillo’s latest.


The Newbery Honor books for 2014 are:

Doll Bones by Holly Black

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

One Came Home by Amy Timberlake

and Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Doll-BonesMy favorite Newbery winners from the past are:

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes in 1944

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg in 1968

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George in 1973

and Maniac Maggee by Jerry Spinelli in 1991.

Though honestly, you should read every Newbery Medal-winning book out there. It was so, so hard to choose only four!


The Coretta Scott King

The Coretta Scott King Award is given to an African American authors and illustrators whose books for children demonstrate an appreciation for African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King and honors his wife, Coretta Scott King, who has continued to champion his beliefs. Awards have been given to authors and illustrators since 1974.

This year’s winners are:

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams- Garcia

The description on the back:

Eleven-year-old Brooklyn girl Delphine feels overwhelmed with worries and responsibilities. She’s just started sixth grade and is self-conscious about being the tallest girl in the class, and nervous about her first school dance. She’s supposed to be watching her sisters, but Fern and Vonetta are hard to control. Her uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam and seems different. And her pa has a girlfriend. At least Delphine can write to her mother in Oakland, California, for advice. But why does her mother tell her to “be eleven” when Delphine is now twelve?

PrintAnd Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me illustrated by Bryan Collier

The description on the back:

Every morning, I play a game with my father.

He goes knock knock on my door
and I pretend to be asleep
till he gets right next to the bed.
And my papa, he tells me, “I love you.”
But what happens when, one day, that “knock knock” doesn’t come? This powerful and inspiring book shows the love that an absent parent can leave behind, and the strength that children find in themselves as they grow up and follow their dreams.
The Coretta Scott King Honor Books from 2014 are:
16240729My favorite Coretta Scott King winners from the past:

The Caldecott

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is named after a 19th century English illustrator. The purpose of the award is to honor the most distinguished American picture book from the previous year. The ALA has been giving this award out since 1937.

This year’s winner of the Caldecott is Locomotive by Brian Floca.

The description on the back: It is the summer of 1869, and trains, crews, and family are traveling together, riding America’s brand-new transcontinental railroad. These pages come alive with the details of the trip and the sounds, speed, and strength of the mighty locomotives; the work that keeps them moving; and the thrill of travel from plains to mountain to ocean. Come hear the hiss of the steam, feel the heat of the engine, watch the landscape race by. Come ride the rails, come cross the young country!


The Caldecott Honor Books are:

Journey by Aaron Becker

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Mr. Wuffles! by David Weisner

Flora+CoverMy favorite Caldecott winners from the past years are:

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey in 1942

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak in 1964

and The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick in 2008.

12x18-max-room-where-the-wild-things-are-placemat3Happy reading!


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