I suspect this will be a short review (well, short for our usual average of 900-1000 words around these parts). But if you strongly disagree with me, I suppose the comments will make up for my brevity up here, right!? Paul Volponi’s The Final Four is an auto-contenda because it’s received four starred reviews. It’s a pleasure to read; I don’t dispute any of the stars or the reviews. But in the end, I don’t believe this will go the distance in Printzland. [Read more...]
Chopsticks is a particularly interesting item from the buzzed-about portion of our contenda list. It’s a fascinating format — available digitally and physically — full of arresting visuals and links to outside media. Although there are very few words on each page, the visual elements are all carefully chosen and placed. Analyzing the title feels like it requires a special vocabulary; it’s not quite a graphic novel; it feels most like a found scrapbook. [Read more...]
This is easily one of the biggest titles of the year — six starred reviews! Big time buzz! John Green! Previous Printz winner! Nerdfighters! — so we’ve been thinking about it for a while. Since this is a book from a former Printz winner and honoree, we knew we’d be reading it with our Printz glasses on. When you add the serious subject matter, the thoughtful treatment of said subject matter, the memorable characters, and the five-hanky tear-jerker of a plot, you know there’s a lot to talk about in terms of Printz-worthiness.
Hazel has terminal cancer. Augustus is a cancer survivor who has lost a leg to the disease. They meet in a teen cancer support group. It’s complicated and baggage-filled love almost at first sight. She doesn’t want to die on him; he wants to save everyone. It’s clearly a recipe for heartbreaking disaster. Their mutual love of (fictional) Peter Van Hauten’s (fictional) An Imperial Affliction gives the two an excuse for a road trip, but plot happens and PLOT PLOT PLOT. [Read more...]
So I’ve been writing and rewriting a post on genre bias and the Printz for — I’m not kidding you — the past two weeks. But it boils down to a very drama-less post about a lack of genre bias in Printzland and how things seem to me to be fine. Which: good news for Young Adult Literature, but bad news for an interesting post, eh? [Read more...]
We’ve done a lot of writing about contendas this year, but you may have noticed that non-fiction has been absent so far. As a matter of fact, our own Mark Flowers emailed wondering “whither the nonfiction, bloggers?” And just as we were turning his question right back on him in the form of an invitation to do a guest post, he wrote a thoughtful and astonishingly complete post about awesome nonfiction reads for The Hub.
We definitely depend on you guys for NF recommendations; Karyn and I both have our baggage, afterall, and need people to pick up our slack/keep us honest. Mark’s got a great line up there, and there’s some stuff I’m really looking forward to tracking down. Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon and Catherine Reef’s The Bronte Sisters sound fascinating (how’s that for a unique pairing?). Oooh, and Marching to the Mountaintop by Anne Bausum has a description that’s caught my eye a couple of times. Perhaps next time I’ll remember when I’m actually at a library?
What about you guys? What stellar nonfiction have you been reading?
A long time ago, we started out thinking and talking about the Printz policies and procedures. And do you know what I said? What I typed, I mean?
Yeah, but who wants to be on a committee that picks a book everyone hates, y’know? I guess this is a good opportunity to talk about POPULARITY (since the criteria are yelling…) versus APPEAL. And whether either of those concepts have any business being in the conversation that is actually all about QUALITY.
Karyn pointed out the difference between popularity and appeal, and mentioned that appeal is, in the end, a pretty subjective concept. She also pointed out that at the Printz table, you have the luxury of stepping away from the question of appeal and just focusing on questions of literary excellence.
And then I stepped in and beat on the drum a little more about teen appeal and how that’s an important part of our work as librarians and shouldn’t we think of the teens WHAT ABOUT THE TEENS?? HULK LOVE TEENS, WANT TEENS TO READ NICE BOOKS. (OK, Hulk has nothing to do with this post at all, but we just saw The Avengers and so now all I want to do is type like HULK. WITH CAPS. SMASH SMASH SMASH.) Back then, we moved on to other parts of the P&P. Because we had a lot of words to cover and more thoughts to share.
But I’m still wondering: Can something be both really excellent and really boring? And, as my notes for this blog post so eloquently said, “appeal teens reading quality what is YA anyway arg halp!”
Thursday afternoon, all three of us were lucky enough to attend the Little, Brown preview.
While all previews are fabulous, the LB preview is perhaps a bit MORE fabulous. This is entirely due to the shoes. For those who don’t know about the link between Little, Brown and shoes—sparkly shoes, high heeled shoes, shiny shoes, and this time around, tweedy with a cork-heel shoes—do yourself a favor and next time you are at a librarian conference, find the inimitable Victoria Stapleton (Associate Director, School and Library Marketing) and ask her about the shoes. [Read more...]
You guys, we made a calendar. We assigned topics. We had a schedule. And according to that schedule, my post this week was supposed to be a write up of Candlewick’s Fall ’12 preview that happened last Friday. Only, things changed, some stuff shifted…and I wasn’t able to make it.
So I’m going to do a little shifting of my own here. You can think of this post as a bridge between now and early April. Next week, we’ll be talking (a little) about what we’ve been reading. The week after that, we’ll be focusing on the differences between starred review criteria and Printz criteria. So I’ll spend this blog post looking at our starred review tracking, which may help shape your reading (Karyn did mention that we were serious about encouraging participation, right?), and may help get us started thinking about what those starred reviews mean in relation to the Printz Committee’s work. [Read more...]
If you’ve never been to a preview before: it’s a chance for the editors to tell people about upcoming, exciting titles. Editors give quick descriptions and show cover art — not quite a booktalk, but almost. Publishers are also often generous enough to pass on ARCs of some of the titles they talk about.
Karyn and I were lucky enough to see the Random House preview. They’ve got a lot of great stuff coming out this spring. When any of us are able to make it to a preview, we promise to summarize what we hear about with an eye to the Printz.
Titles we think are worth tracking down: [Read more...]