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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Liveblogging the Awards, a Stream of Consciousness

YMAGood morning! Read on for my liveblog reactions to this morning’s YMAs! Content runs from bottom to top and ends after the Printz.

Edited to add: The comments are open for debriefing and post award conversation, but please keep in mind the hard work of the RealCommittee and be respectful of their work and process.

And now the part we’ve all been waiting for, with YALSA pres Candice Mack.


Palms are sweaty. So nervous.



Out of Darkness, yes, ok, totally deserved.

And Ghosts! He did it AGAIN.


(And hey, we ALL predicted it!)

Now back to children’s. Will only update if it’s super exciting.



Joy is very very happy right now. (Almost as happy as I was for Simon.)


Stakes are going up. I have some feelings invested in this one! Mostly I am all Simon in my loving at this moment and really really want it to be recognized.

I am really happy right now.

(And I met her yesterday on the exhibit floor and she’s utterly delightful, so definitely go see her this morning.)


(I never have a prediction but it’s always so exciting to see which beloved great in our field gets this)

David! I know all I do is gush in this liveblog but oh boy does he deserve this. Boy Meets Boy alone deserves it, really. Such a seminal books for so many of my readers for so many years. And he gives his time and energy ceaselessly and is just good people. I am really happy right now.


Joy is pulling hard for Jason Reynolds, which would be awesome. But we both think X probably has it bagged.

Jerry Pinkney! YES!

And Last Stop! It’s the only one of the three honors I know but it’s a great one!

All American Boys for an honor! YAY Jason Reynolds!

AND BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT! Is this historic? Two honors in one year?

AND X, which we all predicted.

Now, the winner…

Oh wonderful! These are younger than my normal reading but I am so glad to see this get the award! Rita Williams-Garcia is a treasure and we are so lucky every time she writes a book.

Stonewall now. No guesses for this one — so many possibilities.
Oh! Christopher Barzak!
And George — no surprise but yes to this one, so perfect for the target age.
Wait, is the Konigsburg a YA? I thought that was a middle grade?

Schneider up first! I will know none of these.

Oh, Sean Qualls! Love his art.

Middle grade, another one I haven’t read but that cheer was for real! AND The War that Saved My Life! This one I have heard lots about.


Unlikely Hero is not at all unlikely for this — it’s perfect! And it’s such a great read. So happy that I read this and so happy that it’s been recognized.




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. Surprised by the results! Two honor books. And a picture book for the Newbery Medal. Very unexpected, but I’m sure they are all deserving.

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      It’s insane! It seems like it’s time to rethink the Newbery criteria…

      • More like they need to abide by the already existing Newbery criteria. The House on Market Street is a lovely picture book, but its text does not (by any stretch of the imagination) stand alone. Of course, the text wasn’t written to stand alone. Because it’s a picture book! Oh, well, at least the honor books are good this year. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that much.

        • I’m with you.

        • 100% agree with you, Emily.

          As I understand it, the text is supposed to stand alone – I know there’s been a lot of discussion about this (and some rather defensive retorts from those who think awards committees are unimpeachable in their decisions), but I find this to be an extremely disappointing selection – and I really, really love Last Stop on Market Street. Sincerely, I do. I just think, in a year marked by great distinction, it isn’t distinctive enough.

          • Thank you! I thoroughly enjoy the Heavy Medal Blog. I enjoy the spirited discussions leading up to the “big day,” and I always end up getting fantastic book recommendations that last me well into the next year. But one thing that does bother me is the way they inevitably treat the committee’s decision as sacrosanct. They’ve never once called the committee out for being, well, wrong. My favorite example is the year when Flora and Ulysses won. Earlier that fall, Flora and Ulysses had been discussed in a post and both of the blog’s main contributors (along with most of the site’s commenters) agreed that it was not DiCamillo’s best work and not distinguished enough to make that year’s short list. They were right, the book is average at best. Yet, when it won, suddenly we had to “look again with fresh eyes” or “learn to appreciate the dialogue” that we’d already agreed was clunky and unnatural. I wish they would have the chutzpah to call a spade a spade. The committee isn’t perfect; they make mistakes. This year they chose a book that fails to meet the award’s stated criteria. I’m also a bit bothered by their attitude when anyone brings up the current political climate surrounding children’s publishing and its probable impact on the ALA. I mean, we all know that’s why A Fine Dessert wasn’t recognized this year. I don’t see what’s wrong with being honest about the ALA’s fallibility.

          • Karyn Silverman says:

            What about the argument that images ARE text, particularly in a graphic novel or picture book? I hadn’t thought of it that way myself for the Newbery, but I and many colleagues do use “text” in this wider manner all the time when we are teaching.

  2. So many surprises today! Two middle grade Schneiders and two Stonewall winners (which I forgot they could do), but only 2 Printz honors and only 1 Odyssey Honor. Then there’s the Newbery having a graphic honor book again and a picture book winner with that winner receiving lots of other honors as well including the Caldecott. Jerry Pinkney getting not one, but two lifetime achievement awards! Jason Reynolds getting two King honors in the same year for two different books, the Voice of Freedom cleaning up all over the place. So fun to listen and see, but oh those minimal honors hurt. First time the Printz committee has done that, too.

    And I guess the National Book win doomed Challenger Deep after all. I can’t wait to read the wrap up here!

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      Wait, we need to do a wrap up? But we’re astounded and unsure what to say too!

      • I actually think your responses here have done the wrap-up job pretty well! Thanks as always to all three of you perceptive ladies (and all the commenters) for another fun awards season! Looking forward to Battle of the Books next and then I’m on to 2017 contenders. Yay for all the good books out there, both awarded and not, past, present and to come!

  3. I love Bone Gap and we called it! But none of our Honors. Not one. I am in shock that at least one of the nonfictions (Dangerous or Symphony) didn’t get an Honor. I could understand it IF there were lots of other Honor books hogging the podium,but only TWO? What? I am in shock. But, for what it is worth, The Pulitzer Committee didn’t give an award in 1941, the year that Hemingway wrote, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Everyone thought he was a shoo-in but nada! It would be interesting to know their rationale for onl picking two Honors.

    More tomorrow when we all get a change to digest this news.

  4. So I thought about the awards and came to the conclusion that this year’s Printz wasn’t satisfying. I respect the committee’s decisions, and they have made me aware of a book that sounds really good (“Out of Darkness”), but I wish there were more honor books. I’m shocked they shut out nonfiction, and even “Challenger Deep”. Perhaps they thought they were honored enough? Something to do with the voting process? I’m very confused, but I’m more ready to begin a new year of books and awards. At least this blog has predicted the winner for another year in a row! 🙂

    In regards to the other awards, I’m satisfied with Caldecott (although I would have preferred another book over Henkes), and I’m actually satisfied with the Newbery. It was very surprising, but I think the text really did /make/ the book. It was spare and poetic, evoking a lot of things by saying so little. (However, I do find the conversations about how the book views social injustice interesting…) And I’m happy they recognized another graphic novel. Generally, the winners this year were diverse, and I’m really pleased about that.

    On the whole, I’m more pleased with Newbery and Caldecott than with Printz, but I applaud the efforts of the committee members! 🙂

    • I feel like I’m totally alone in this, but I found Challenger Deep’s prose unsubtle and often clunky. While I’m not thrilled with Bone Gap, I thought that the sentence-level writing, at least, was extremely well-crafted.

      Reading “Out of Darkness” now and I think it was a great choice.

      • Ah, that’s interesting. I haven’t read Challenger Deep myself; I was just considering how praised it was. I’m not thrilled with Bone Gap either, but I could totally tell that it was going to get the award, considering how others received it. And I just read the Amazon sample of Out of Darkness and it really grabbed me. I’m actually considering getting it.

        • Karyn Silverman says:

          Out of Darkness is beautiful, tonal issue aside, and I can absolutely see how that would be a minor issue.

          Still bummed about several favorites and kind of heartbroken that there were only two honors, because I want more books to get love, always.

  5. Anne Bennett says:

    We, and when I say “we” I mean “me”, thought this would be the year 1. where nonfiction would finally win a Printz award and 2. a book about mental illness would reach the podium. I thought Challenger Deep would be that book but there were quite a few to pick from if the committee didn’t like that one. (I should say, I was thrilled about The Unlikely Hero getting the Schneider Family Book Award. YES!!!)

    I think my disappointment in the Printz this year is not the winner but in the TWO ONLY honor books. My crew of teen readers read and digested 20 books on the hunt for the winner, I read over 50 YA books to try and figure out the best and then the committee only honored three when they could have honored five. Sigh. I can tell you, it was a little like watching the air come out of a balloon when I made the announcement to the teenagers in my group. they felt ripped off.

    Alas, I can’t imagine how hard it is to be on the RealCommittee and I do appreciate their hard work. I think I am tired. After I read Out of Darkness, which I haven’t read yet, I think I will immerse myself in adult books for a while. I need to clear my palette.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Joy Piedmont says:

      The strength of 2015’s nonfiction convinced me that at least one of the many great examples we’ve discussed here on the blog would make it. So I was bummed when I didn’t see Most Dangerous or Symphony, but as they say in Chicago: there’s always next year. My hope is that authors and publishers continue to develop and pay attention to narrative nonfiction for teens, which is where so much of the great creative work is happening.

  6. Karyn Silverman says:

    The lack of nesting beyond five is impeding me right now.

    @Emily – I think we have to respect the committee. This doesn’t mean we can’t disagree, but if we believe in the award we have to believe in the process too, and that means we need to trust that the decision they made was made with serious thought and hard work. I think all the books they chose had flaws; every book does. In my reading, these would not have been the three I chose, but I’ve been in that room and totally trust that the conversation the Printz committee had (and this goes for all the committees) turned up strengths and weaknesses that they were able to agree on that made these three books the winners.

    A more general comment about the unprecedented only two honors: this can happen for a variety of reasons. One, the committee felt that there were two books that were truly ahead of everything else, and so it would diminish these two to add two more, given the gap in the voting. (I used to think this way, but the more I read the more I think heck, let’s have MORE honors, because the field has become both wide and deep, so why be so limiting). Two, the committee was a bit contentious or had a hung jury kind of vote, and there was not enough consensus to name more than two books; this is a theory that would make sense with Bone Gap, a consensus building book if ever there was one, but would surprise me given how happy they all were right after they came to their decision (I saw several of the RC members at the Scholastic event at Midwinter and they were BEAMING). Either way, they worked hard to come to their decision and the process works, so it was the right decision for this committee. (A different set of nine librarians would have chosen a different winner, of course, and that also would have been the right decision.)

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