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Someday My Printz Will Come
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Pyrite Printz: Deadlines!

The Pyrite Printz* nomination period is drawing to a close!

Nominations are scheduled to close Wednesday, 11/28.

You may nominate any YA title published in the US in 2012. You may only nominate one book. Ready? Head over to the original nomination post to nominate via commenting.

Straw polling/ranking/winnowing will take place on 11/29-30, with the goal of posting the shortlist (10 titles) on 12/1. Use December wisely to read and marshal your arguments! We’ll discuss each book in early January, and the final vote will happen probably over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the weekend before the ALA Midwinter conference and the Youth Media Awards announcements.

Read on for the formal nominations thus far.

We have 18 nominations as of this moment, but we know there are a few people holding out in hopes that someone else will nominate something; hold out until the last minute if you must, but be sure to get your nomination in before they close! Here are the 18, in order of nomination. For those books we’ve already written up, I’ve linked to the post; everything else except #12 was at least on the contenda list, so a write-up is already scheduled. And we’re trying to track down a copy of #12 right now so that we can add it to the queue!

Oh! And for those keeping track of these things, 9 of these titles are from the first half of the year, and 9 from the second half. I was totally anticipating more bias towards more recent or upcoming and hotly anticipated titles, but apparently as a group we are beyond such seasonal whims. So far, anyway.

  1. Chopsticks
  2. Railsea
  3. Dodger
  4. Code Name Verity
  5. The Diviners
  6. The Brides of Rollrock Island
  7. The Disenchantments
  8. The Fault in Our Stars
  9. Keeping the Castle
  10. The Raven Boys
  11. Personal Effects
  12. Various Positions
  13. Every Day
  14. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
  15. Seraphina
  16. Ask the Passengers
  17. Days of Blood and Starlight
  18. Graffiti Moon

For straw polling purposes, we’re going to put the three 6-out-of-6-stars books onto the shortlist without opening it up for discussion. Those titles are The Fault in Our Stars, Seraphina, and Code Name Verity. In the end, we may as a group determine that they don’t deserve the Pyrite, and the RealCommittee may decide they don’t deserve the gold (or even the silver), but given our purpose in this blog it would be criminal not to discuss these titles very seriously before we decide, given the vast critical acclaim. (And although no one has actually nominated it yet, we might put add Bomb as the one serious contenda in nonfiction, which it seems to be. We’re still debating that, but we think it will be a more rousing conversation if we have a nonfiction title in the mix.)

Finally, in the interest of keeping the whole thread in one place, please make sure you post nominations on the Pyrite Post (by which I mean the post ABOUT the Pyrite, because an actually Pyrite Post would be foolish indeed); I’m leaving comments open over here for now, for any process related conversation, but I’ll close them if it gets too confusing.

Thanks for playing!

**The Pyrite Printz, or Pyrite, is the Someday My Printz Will Come mock Printz deliberation, and should not in any way be confused with YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, often referred to here as the RealPrintz or Printz. Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee.

About Karyn Silverman

Karyn Silverman is the High School Librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at LREI, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (say that ten times fast!). Karyn has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks and Best Books committees and was a member of the 2009 Printz committee. She has reviewed for Kirkus and School Library Journal. She has a lot of opinions about almost everything, as long as all the things are books. Said opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, YALSA or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @InfoWitch or e-mail her at karynsilverman at gmail dot com.


  1. I nominate Code Name Verity – an usual historical fiction with a riveting story.

  2. I don’t know how these things usually go (not a librarian, just a gaper) but are there usually that many books that go 6-for-6? Or usually more? I’m just curious about the rarity of the phenomenon.

  3. H. – I only have data on last year and this year, but last year there were only 2 books that got stars from all 6 review journals – Chime and Why We Broke Up, both in contention for Printz recognition. This year there are 7 titles so far with 6 stars, but only the 3 mentioned above seriously in contention for the Printz with maybe Moonbird (NF by Hoose) sneaking in there depending on the committee.

    Last year there were 11 books total with 5 stars (with 5 in the general Printz range) and this year there are 14 (with 7 in the general Printz range). So up a bit, but without more data from previous years, it’s hard for me to generalize. Perhaps those who have been in the business a little longer will have more of an idea.

    Here’s the link to my Starred Titles spreadsheet again if people want to see updated information:

    I’m also tracking the Best Book lists (which so far are PW’s and Kirkus’ Childrens List – the Kirkus Teen list is still to come). Nothing made all 6 Best Book lists last year. We’ll see how that goes this year. That spreadsheet can be found here:

    And here’s my usual disclaimer that I’m not tracking VOYA. Maybe next year.

  4. I’d say there are always a few. Still no guarantee that they win a medal, though. Last year, Chime by Francis Billingsley had at least 6 if not more stars and did not win anything.

  5. CHIME was an honor book for the Boston Globe-Horn Book award (BLINK AND CAUTION won the gold). But yes, otherwise it had six stars and was overlooked.

  6. CHIME was also a National Book Award nominee (Inside Out & Back Again, which is Middle Grade, got the gold.)

  7. Karyn Silverman says:

    I still think Chime was robbed. ROBBED!
    But… bygones. Letting go in 10, 9, 8… Nope, still bitter.
    Anyway, 6 out of 6 is, I think (based on lots of experience but no hard data), relatively uncommon. Not unheard of, and not necessarily an indicator that a book deserves the prize, but 6 independent reviewers awarding a star must mean something. I’m saying that what it means is that the book deserves to make it to the shortlist, because clearly it’s worth a reread and deeper discussion.
    Jen, thanks for the reminder of your incredible star counting — I’d missed the 6th for Moonbird. None of us have read it yet, but maybe that rather than Bomb should get an automatic pass forward in the process?

  8. I’ve got Moonbird checked out, but I haven’t read it yet so I can’t really offer an opinion. Maybe I’ll get to it this weekend and be able to compare and contrast the two and see which I feel is stronger for the Printz. I will say I feel Bomb has been more buzzed about and therefore more people have probably read it.

    I was surprised by how close the age ranges from the reviews are – I was thinking Moonbird skewed younger and it does just slightly, but they’re really about the same.

    Bomb’s review ages include Age 10 and up, Gr. 7-12, Gr. 5 and up, and Middle School/High School from Horn Book.
    Moonbird’s review ages include Age 10 and up, Gr. 6 and up, Gr. 7-12, Gr. 5-9, and Intermediate/Middle School/High School from Horn Book.

    So it looks like reviewers feel Moonbird is inclusive of a younger audience, but not necessarily exclusive of an older one.

  9. Hope Baugh says:

    One of my co-workers loved Bomb. She encouraged me to read it based on what she knows about me by saying it has a very narrative (i.e., storytelling rather than lecturing) style and is more about the people involved and their ethical struggles than the technology of bomb-making.

    (I’m sorry I haven’t read it yet, though.)

  10. Barb Gogan says:

    I’m mostly a lurker but just have to chime in that CHIME was robbed!
    (I have it as an audiobook and will just listen to random chapters reveling in the language.)

    I’ve read the 2 non-fic and I think Jen has it just right about MOONBIRD–includes younger but doesn’t exclude older. But BOMB has more buzz, I think.

  11. Just finished reading Moonbird today. If choosing between the two, I would personally pick Bomb, but both are solid reads.

  12. Roger Sutton just posted what will be starred in the January/February Horn Book issue and one of the titles is Ask the Passengers – moving it into the 6 star ranks! They also are giving a start to Days of Blood and Starlight moving it to 3 stars and auto-contender status although it was already being considered.

    Just thought I’d mention the AtP star since you were considering auto-including the 6 star titles!

  13. In terms of nonfiction, I’ll muddle things further with a third title! Looking at Jen J’s amazingsauce spreadsheet, for 5- and 6-star books we’ve got:

    Beyond Courage – 5 stars – age 10+ / Gr 7-12 / Gr 6+
    Bomb – 5 stars – age 10+ / Gr 7-12 / Gr 5+ / MS&HS
    Moonbird – 6 stars – age 10+ / Gr 7-12 / Gr 5-9 / Gr 6+ / Int&MS&HS

    So if we’re talking about auto-shortlisting a nonfiction book, should Beyond Courage be in that discussion, too?

    (Island has five stars, but its age ranges are decidedly younger.)

  14. Karyn Silverman says:

    Thanks, Miriam! By my own 6-star rule, it should probably be Moonbird, although actually no nonfiction has formally been nominated for the Pyrite at all. Hmmm. My bias would be towards Bomb because I actually want to read it, but that’s an unfair and not even slightly objective criteria…

  15. Jonathan Hunt says:

    I just nominated BOMB. MOONBIRD makes it on the basis of auto-shortlisting six star books.

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      The 6-star auto push forward was only intended initially for books that were actually nominated (otherwise we are using the stars to build the nomination list, when the idea was that readers would build the list). We considered pushing a nonfiction through regardless of nominations (but hadn’t decided to definitely do so) because we think it would be great to actually in-depth discuss a nonfiction title, but were still on the fence because of the above how we create the shortlist issue.

      Given that, I think it makes more sense to jerry rig by pushing through one nominated nonfiction title, although it only has five stars; unless someone nominates Moonbird, we won’t put it to poll OR push it to round 2. If Moonbird does get nominated, then it should get bumped forward like all the other 6-star books. Does that make sense? Because pushing a book forward that has no one who believes in it strongly enough to nominate it doesn’t seem to support a modeling of the RealCommittee process at ALL. Or we can drop the whole auto-forward idea and you all can give me a sharp slap on the wrist…

      Jonathan, if you were attempting to cheat the system (in the non-pejorative sense) to get two nonfiction books on the initial list and guarantee at least one moves to actual discussion, but now would rather give your support to Moonbird, let us know! But I suspect Bomb will actually move forward based on votes anyway.

      Remember when I said we were making it up as we went along?? I’m making notes for next year!

  16. NYTimes Notables is up!

    The teen books are:
    BITTERBLUE (nominated)
    CODE NAME VERITY (nominated; auto-push to shortlist)
    THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (nominated; auto-push to shortlist)
    JEPP, WHO DEFIED THE STARS (hasn’t been on the Contenda list)
    NEVER FALL DOWN (discussed)
    SON (not yet discussed but on the Contenda list)

    Iiiiiiiinteresting. Anyone read JEPP?

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      I haven’t read it (so many books!), but did pull it aside a put it in the stack that is the consideration pile. There’s been some quiet buzz about it. Sarah and I were just talking yesterday about trying to squeeze in a few more books from the dark horse pile. What are the other dark horse candidates, the books no one has really been talking loudly about, but that have some serious chops?

  17. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Karyn, I am still confused by your process, but I think you are saying that these books we are nominating right now do not automatically continue on to be voted upon. There will be a round of cuts first? Regardless, I don’t think anything should get a free pass.

  18. JEPP’s great! Was delighted to see it on the Times list.

  19. It has been a while since a Printz committee recognized a graphic novel but I would love to think that THE SILENCE OF OUR FRIENDS is a dark horse candidate. It was published way back in January so that may be an additional strike against its chances. In a year filled with good but not great civil rights related books, this one reaches closest to greatness.

  20. I agree about the excellence of THE SILENCE OF OUR FRIENDS but I’m not sure it’s eligible; I know that with graphic novels the line between adult and YA is fuzzier, but it feels like a more adult perspective to me and my library holds it as an adult GN.

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      If Sailor Twain isn’t eligible, then neither is The Silence of our Friends, as it is also listed as adult in the First Second catalog. I wish they had stuck to the no ages specified for anything policy; I loved the message it sent about fluidity of readers. But since we take publisher age recs as a standard in determining YA or not YA for Printz purposes, we need to abide by them across the board.

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