Tomorrow I head to Dallas for ALA, and Jonathan a little later. So here’s where our postings and comments may get a little more sporadic. You’ll hear from us at the conference, and on Monday of course.
A couple of Mock Newberies reported on the ALSC listserv:
Queens Library: Winner: OKAY FOR NOW, Honor: WONDERSTRUCK
Maryland Library Association: Winner: OKAY FOR NOW
Allen County Public Library reported online their winner: INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN, and honor: OKAY FOR NOW.
Now, compare these winners, and ours, with the Goodreads poll, and you start to get what Mark Flowers so aptly called at our gathering on Monday an “echo chamber.” While there are some very clear deserving favorites at the top of that poll (in order: OKAY, MONSTER, WONDERSTRUCK, INSIDE OUT, BREADCRUMBS, AMELIA LOST, etc.) showing up as Mock Winners, I have to remember that for all the darn work we put into this, these titles reflect only what we’ve been able to encourage many others to appreciate. These are popular contenders. Will any of them be chosen as the most distinguished by the actual committee?
To tag onto Jonathan’s “Unstarred” post, here are a few more titles that I still find strong, and “less buzzed”:
MO WREN, LOST AND FOUND: Tight prose hitting all the pertinent critieria: setting, character, and well-paced episodic plot. For a “familiar” story structure, plenty of surprises in the protagonist’s attitude. She sticks around in my memory.
SWIRL BY SWIRL: SPIRALS IN NATURE. A pitch perfect poetic informational picture book text that epitomizes distinguished text. It stands up against THE MONEY WE’LL SAVE in my book, but I felt like we could only get away with one picture book on our shortlist. Plus we did Sidman last year.
PIE. I know, I know. But I just re-read it and it stands up. Whacky, fast-paced plot. Oddball characters all vividly drawn. Maybe it doesn’t rise to the top of the heap, but it sure gives others something to shoot for in style.
NEVER FORGOTTEN. Captivating voice, giving history both a personal and a heroic tone. Nearly made our shortlist.
BOOTLEG. My favorite of the other strong nonfiction contenders this year…I’m not a natural nonfiction reader but I slurped this one up.
CHIME. Yep, when all is said and done I come back to it as still a very strong contender for the upper range. Makes a good pair with SCORPIO RACES, which perhaps had the tighter plot and character development, but which I thought had a raveling ending. Both are still on my list.
And though I probably would place them below all these, I still have soft spots for JUNONIA, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, EDDIE’S WAR and BLUEFISH. And, ok Sam, I’d probably have to put SPARROW ROAD here too.