Tomorrow morning at 8 AM, librarians, authors, publishing folks–really, all variants of book nerds will be tuning in to the ALA Youth Media Awards. I am no exception. Honestly, as fun as everything at ALA Midwinter was yesterday, I think my favorite part will always be Monday morning. There’s a palpable energy in the room when they announce the winners. Gasps! Cheers! Shrieks of joy! (And again, this is usually the librarians that love these books. They aren’t even winning anything!) Love it, love it, love it. Bah! LOVE IT!
Okay, so as I read picture books and MG and YA novels this year — as well as lots of blog posts and reviews about them — in the back of my head, I’ve been working on my list. Now, these aren’t the books I would necessarily want to win (though there is often an overlap) but this is who I think will win. Having served on the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults committee, I know what it’s like to intensely discuss books with librarians. Everything really comes down to the makeup of the committee and how the discussions go down — as well as how a book holds up over multiple re-reads. We’ll never know what happened behind the closed doors of those committee meetings. Oh, but the thrill of it. Okay, okay, time for the predictions.
Winner: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Honor: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Winner: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena, illus. Christian Robinson
Honor: Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick, illus. Sophie Blackall; Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley, The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
Winner: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Honor: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia, Echo by Pam Munoz, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Will any of these win? Who will actually win? I don’t know! But I will definitely be tuning in bright and early (not an early riser here) on Monday morning to find out.