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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Morris and Nonfiction finalists usher in the 2018 awards season!

It’s that time of year when the air is crisp and the breeze will send notes of pine and firewood past your nose. It’s also that time of year when all of the best-of-the-year lists and YALSA award nominations come out! In the past few days the 2018 Morris Award and Nonfiction Award finalists were announced. As usual, there were a few surprises with books we didn’t already have on our “official” nomination list (or the secret longlist we keep from y’all).

I’m particularly excited about these Morris finalists, so let’s start there. First, all of the finalist authors are women! Four of the five authors are women of color! In the press release, committee chair Sarah Julsonnet said, “The selected titles tackle heavy topics such as mental health, racism, violence, and privilege as well as relationships with friends and family and how they shape a person.” We’ve already reviewed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as well as S.K. Ali’s Saints and MisfitsDear Martin by Nic Stone and Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman had been on our radar lately so their Morris recognition means we’ll definitely be taking a look at them. Devils Within is a brand new title to me and the premise sounds very heavy; death and white supremacists are not exactly the topics I’m looking for at this time of the year but we’re definitely adding it to our list for consideration.

Dear MartinDevils WithinThe Hate U Give cover imagesaints and misfitsStarfish

Last year’s Nonfiction Award finalists definitely reflected the political mood of 2016, but this year’s finalists span a wider range of subjects. The 2018 Nonfiction Award finalists this year are:

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Lisa Charleyboy
Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler

#NotYourPrincessEyes of the WorldThe 57 BusVincent and TheoThe Whydah

I reviewed Vincent and Theo last month, which is particularly striking for what it does with voice and narrative structure. As for its Printz chances, I’m starting to think that the adventurous style might be too divisive to achieve the consensus it will need to make it all the way. #NotYourPrincess, Eyes of the World, and The 57 Bus were already on our (secret) longlist–personally, I can’t believe that I haven’t gotten to The 57 Bus yet because it’s been on my to-read pile for a while now. Finally, we’ll be adding The Whydah to our list. It includes some first-hand accounts; when done well, that can be great and who doesn’t love pirates?

This is the time of year when awards season starts to feel real for me so I’m excited and I can’t wait for all the other lists! How about you? Did your favorites make the cut? Which of the new-to-us titles should we rush to read first?

 

*That is, it’s like this if you live in a cold-weather place; I don’t know what December smells like in warm weather. Sorry warm-weather readers!

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers

Before we get into Vincent and Theo, I want to acknowledge that the National Book Awards were announced on Wednesday evening and the winner for Young People’s Literature was Robin Benway’s Far From the Tree. I’ll be covering that one later in the season and I’ve been intrigued since before it was longlisted for the NBA. I’m adopted and periodically grumble about the lack of contemporary YA fiction with adopted protagonists. While I’m excited for the representation I’m also cautiously optimistic, as one usually is when faced with your identity as written by someone else. If you’ve already read Far From the Tree and have thoughts about its NBA win, let us know in the comments!

Okay, now back to those Van Gogh boys. I’ll confess that I can’t think about Vincent Van Gogh without hearing Don McLean sing “starry, starry niiiight…” or seeing Tony Curran’s eyes well up with tears in his brilliant portrayal of Van Gogh on Doctor Who. He is one of the most famous painters of all time and we all think we know who he was; brilliant, depressed, and unappreciated in his time. Deborah Heiligman challenges the conventional wisdom and offers a thesis of her own about Vincent: the story of Vincent is incomplete without the story of his brother, Theo.

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