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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

In the Room Where the Livestream Happens

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 8.56.38 AMWhew! The MTA was determined to thwart me this morning, but I made it in just before Julie Todaro took the stage, and I’ve got my livestream running.

(I didn’t mind being #alaleftbehind until this morning, when I felt so frustrated that the world outside ALA doesn’t stop everything for the YMAs!)

Sarah and Joy are still en route to their workplaces, watching while commuting, but they’ll chime in if possible, and I’ll be writing while we watch. YAY YMAs!

(tl; dr: Comments are open so let’s debrief togther! The complete press release can be accessed here.)

Schneiders first, and I am sad to say this one [When We Collided, by Emery Lord] wasn’t on our radar at all; I would swear I’ve never seen this book before! Agh. Well, the to-read list only had 900 books, so now we’ll make it 901.

(Note, we only tend to share our reactions to YA, unless it’s an MG or picture book we read, which isn’t too common. But we aren’t skipping the younger stuff out of disrespect!)

Stonewall now (how is the order determined, does anyone know?), which is always a must purchase when it’s YA and not already in my collection.


When the Moon Was Ours

(So, two I had some real issues with and one nonfiction. Well, good thing we aren’t doing speculation for the Stonewall. (I a womp womp sound effect goes here.) Given the mission of the Stonewall, these are excellent choices; my issues were all Printz-specific)


Magnus Chase! YES. Rick Riordan consistently writes excellent, diverse, awesome books that I and my readers love. So glad to see him getting an award, and a gender fluid character in something this commercial and highly read by middle graders and teens is so important.

If I Was Your Girl: YES YES YES. Couldn’t be more deserving, and more buzz for this great read is a win for all of us, adults and teens alike!


Virginia Hamilton lifetime achievement: Dr. Bishop! Good golly, I remember reading and loving M.C. Higgins the Great! That’s a throwback. Obviously the scholarly work is important too (smiley face) but the books that are seminal in our childhoods never leave us, do they?

Ugh, the lag on the images and printed titles in the livestream. Makes it so much harder to keep up.

AHHHH! Radiant Child! Javaka Steptoe! He visited our LS this winter, so exciting!

Ok, author honors.

As Brave as You — Oh, I wanted Ghost, although never sad to see Jason Reynolds get accolades.

John Lewis! Even via the feed the sound is deafening! I stood up at my desk! March is such an important and powerful book, now more than ever, and it’s told really well. Definitely deserving!


(After this, I’ll be able to calm down again!)

I know the Alex awards aren’t technically YALSA awards, but I really wish they wouldn’t shove them in at the start when no one is paying attention.

Margaret A. Edwards first. I am always delighted and surprised with this one, because I never know who’s eligible and the committee always picks someone awesome.

Sarah Dessen! That’s a fantastic recognition of romantic contemporary fiction. Dessen has been a go to and must buy for so long, one of our strongest backlist circulation authors. This is so great!


Ghost! Well, I’m still hoping for Newbery love, but I’ll take this. I really loved Ghost, can you tell?

And NIMONA? An audio award for a graphic novel? I think this is unprecedented!

And for the win: Anna and the Swallow Man. Whoa. Such a tough book, I can’t even imagine the audio. It’s a book that’s stuck with me all year, though, so I’m glad to see some recognition for it.


We already knew the finalists, so no surprises here…

The Serpent King

Excellence in Nonfiction:

Again, the finalists are a known quantity, so it’s just a question of the winner. I think we’re all pulling for March to continue raking in the awards here, but I know a few people really rooting for Samurai Rising.

We got our wish! I’m starting to revise my “March will never get the Printz because it already got the NBA” statement.

Ok, here we go, the moment we’ve all been waiting for!


Honors – all FOUR.

Asking for It, Louise O’Neill: this was briefly on our longlist and none of us wanted to read it, for purely topical reasons, and there wasn’t that much buzz so we let it go. We failed. Sorry, folks. (However, Joy predicted that a book with similar thematic content would win, so she gets the prize for being most prescient.)

The Passion of Dolssa: YES YES YES! I wanted this for the win but I can live with an honor. Because it’s just so darn good.

Scythe: Can you hear us cheering from here? We didn’t really dare to hope, so this is a delightful surprise!

The Sun is Also a Star: so many of you called for this one!

And the winner is MARCH. So glad I called that 30 seconds ago!

(Three of the five made our Pyrite, which means we — not Sarah, Joy, and I, but the collective we — are getting better and better as critical readers! Go us!)


(Ok, Joy and I were too busy talking to catch the first few. It’s the Batchelder now, which only sometimes includes YA, although I have high hopes for Maresi for 2018.)

Sibert now, and we actually know some of these! It’s so not on our usual radar, but Giant Squid was awesome. And Uprooted! Great choice!

MARCH again for the win! I think we officially have a sweep.

CALDECOTT! My colleague and friend Stacy Dillon is on this committee and I can’t wait to see what they chose! (I’d be excited anyway, but that connection just makes it that much more exciting!)

Joy is cheering for Leave Me Alone! And I am thrilled for Du Iz Tak!

And another win for Radiant Child!

Ooooh, only three Newbery honors?

Freedom over Me, The Inquistor’s Tale, and Wolf Hollow were all on our Printzbery mock slate!

AND The Girl Who Drank the Moon for the WIN! It was on our Printzbery slate and won our mock, and I pulled hard for it, so I’m pretty darn ecstatic right now.

Whew! So that’s it, and the season is officially over! Debrief in the comments, and in a day or two we’ll start talking 2017 reading lists.





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 breathed a sigh of relief when they said 4 honors. Nodded my appreciation when Dolssa was named and yelped in joy for Scythe and The Sun Is Also a Star because I thought they were such long shots. Hooray for March as well – although I didn’t get to read that one because by the time I went looking for it, it was all checked out at my library which is awesome! Yay awards!

  2. Maureen S says:

    March Book 3!!!! Yay!! So happy it got the medal! I don’t know where they will fit all the medals on that book!~

    Great list of winners, although I need to read Scythe and Asking For It

  3. This year was perfect.

    If Dolssa had to lose the medal to one book this year, I’m glad it was March. This is an important book that comes at an important intersection in our nation’s history. I couldn’t be happier!

  4. What did the slide on Dr. Bishop say about MC Higgins the Great? Can anyone verify? Virginia Hamilton is the author, correct?

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      It said author from what I saw and I thought “Oh, was that the author?” It didn’t sound familiar, but I read it a long time ago and do so little kidlit work that I just assumed I hadn’t remembered the author’s name. But you are correct. Hmmm.

      • Karyn Silverman says:

        This is all the press release says:

        Dr. Bishop is a winner of numerous awards and has served as a respected member of many book awards committees over the course of her long and distinguished career. Her influential writing, speaking, and teaching articulates the history and cultural significance of African-American children’s literature. Her globally cited work, “Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors,” has inspired movements for increased diversity in books for young people, and provides the basis for the best multicultural practice and inquiry for students, teachers, writers and publishing houses.

      • That’s what I thought I read on the slide–I’m currently reading through the Newberys and am just about finished with the 1970s, so I was pretty sure that Virginia Hamilton was the author.

    • Eric Carpenter says:

      I believe the slide was pointing out that Dr. Bishop was on the Newbery committee that selected M.C. Higgins, the Great (the same committee gave Arrow to the Sun the caldecott). But i’m not certain. There was a lot of excitement all around at that moment as Dr. Bishop was just a dozen seats away from us.

      • Huh, were Newbery and Caldecott at one point determined by the *same committee*? That must’ve been a very different dynamic!

  5. Karyn Silverman says:

    Other than feeling a little embarassed that I had dismissed Asking for It unread I too am very happy! I still would have liked Dolssa for the win best of all, but I don’t feel like this was in any way the wrong decision, I just wanted my own beloved to get some gold. And Scythe! Thrilled to pieces about that honor.

  6. Spectacular, so happy for four Honor books so there was plenty of love to spread around.

  7. March Book 3! We got three titles out of five, but for some reason it feels like we came super, super close to the full slate, what with the support there was for The Female of the Species and The Sun is Also a Star.

  8. Yay!

    I love your honesty on this blog. I’m curious about your issues with some of the Stonewall books, if you’re willing to share.

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      Unbecoming I wrote a post about — and actually, for Stonewall I think it’s a solid choice, my issues were much more specific to “literary merit”. It’s readable and hugely appealing and the pieces related to Katie’s sexuality, which would have been most critical for Stonewall, were not where I saw flaws. If you read the comments on the post, you’ll see that I was something of an outlier with my concerns, too.
      When the Moon Was Ours I thought was overwritten, but that’s more a Printz-realm concern. In terms of the LGBTQ content, I was bothered by (spoiler) the magical sex change, which felt less like magic realism and more like wishful thinking, which isn’t inherently a flaw but tied deeply into questions of passing and realness. Just last week we had a student-led and -organized panel of teens under the trans umbrella (some identified as genderfluid or genderqueer) and they spoke about the use of terms like real as aggressions; the magic change seemed aligned with everything my students were putting out there as not what they want to see/read/hear. That said, the author’s note is very honest and personal and her husband is trans, and presumably he read and didn’t object to that aspect of the novel. So! Lots to chew on, and I imagine the committee must have grappled with much of the same territory and in the end felt the merits far outweighed any concerns. It may also be that for Stonewall, representation was the most important aspect, whereas I was reading with an eye towards how the elements — the genre, the content, the language, the representation, and so on — fit together; different awards have different missions and purposes, and our lens here is very narrow.

      • Thanks so much for this thoughtful, comprehensive answer. I really appreciate it.

        Having now read about all three books, I’m picking up Unbecoming and Pride. When the Moon Was Ours sounds Not My Thing. I’m picky about my magical realism/fantasy; super-lush and flowery language gets my back up in a way I can’t generally come back from.

  9. March, Book Three: Printz, CSK, Siebert, YALSA Nonfiction…is that a record?
    The Passion of Dolssa….YES, YES, YES
    Reading Scythe right now. So far, so good!
    The Sun is Also a Star…I called it for the CSK, glad to see it is also a Printz
    Asking for It…I will have to look around to see if I can find a copy!

    Great Work. Thanks for everything.

  10. If anyone wants to join me in reading the winners of the YMA I am hosting a Challenge.

    Read All the YMA Winners 2017</a?

  11. I was in the room as part of the Alex Committee (not sure why you said we technically weren’t YALSA – they sponsor the award, so de fact and de jure we are!) – the excitement around March was overwhelming. And Magnus Chase? Such love, and surprise.

    • Karyn Silverman says:

      Laura! Well done and thanks for all you and your committee-mates did!

      I totally thought Alex was a YALSA and AACRL joint endeavor, and that was why the announcements were shoved to the start and rushed every year! Is it because they aren’t youth books? Because it’s probably the list that is most critical to me in collection development terms, and I want it to be a bigger presence at the YMAs!

  12. Karen Keys says:

    I believe it’s starts before the YMAs because it’s not youth media, but rather media that *could* be for youth. And it’s dumb that it doesn’t get announced by the YALSA president.

    I also don’t understand why the APALA awards haven’t been folded in to the YMAs.

  13. Just because she is for all ages, I want to mention my Arbuthnot lecture committee’s pick — Naomi Shihab Nye. Seems to be a well-received choice:)

  14. Am I the only one who feels that March – book 3 was not the “best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit)” published in 2016? I liked it and thought a Printz honor was appropriate but the medal? The art is amazing, the history is unequivocally important particularly given the current political climate, but the writing and flow of the story left me cold. The text was only slightly more engaging than most history text books. Was this just an “easy” pick because of the books message and current political events?

    • Lou–personally, I think the second is the superior title in the series (the scenes juxtaposing Obama’s inauguration with the bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church are stunning). As a whole, the series is superb, but I’m rather surprised that the 3rd received the major recognition over the 2nd and even the 1st.

  15. Karyn Silverman says:

    This has been a crazy week, from the micro to the macro levels, so I failed to raise this on Wednesday — but I wanted to revive the conversation briefly to note that the Best Fiction for Young Adults list had all of our other favorites!
    (I think. Post YMAs I just can’t with spreadsheets and cross referencing for at least two weeks!). It’s a crisper list than in many years, too, and chock full of excellent choices! I plan to go over it in more detail this week to see if there was anything shocking, but mostly what I noticed was how all the books I wanted were there, and how tightly it correlated with the books we’ve all been most excited for this past year.

    Also, while we’re talking about the BFYA list, start thinking about what should be on the radar for 2017; before we officially go dark, we’ll do our usual looking forward thread sometime this week, and we need your suggestions!

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