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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Do You Read the Winners?

And the winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature is:

The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata!

As you may remember, my predictions were:

“What I think will win: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

What I want to win: Picture Me Gone”

From my review about The Thing About Luck: “What a perfect middle grade book. Summer, 12, is a sympathetic heroine. When she got annoyed and frustrated with her younger brother and grandparents, I was right there with her. When she was embarrassing herself in front of her crush, I blushed for her. When she figured out a way to help her family, I cheered.

One thing I love about the NBA — it makes me read books I otherwise may not have. So I’m glad that the NBA Award will bring even more readers to Kadohata’s books.

One thing I’ve sometimes heard about awards such as this — and the ALA ones — and other ones — is “but do kids care?”

Here’s the weird thing about books. The way that readers find their way to books — that books find the way to readers — would defy even the powers of Sherlock Holmes. A book recommendation is from a friend — ask that friend, and the thread goes from friend to relative to friend and ends, where? Reviews and awards. Because someone reads about the awards, reads the book, tells other people, buys it for their library, displays it in their bookstore, adds it to reading lists, booktalks it, and those people tell friends and along the way, if ever, the “I read it because it won” gets lost.

As you can see, my belief is that the awards have power, it’s just that readers don’t always realize it.

What do you think, about awards and readers?



About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Yeah, I agree with you.

    I always *want* to read so many books each year, but so many more come out than I can read, I always feel behind. Books that win awards have a much better chance that I will come back to them and read them eventually. Also, libraries tend to order more copies of award books… so then they’re available… so then they get checked out. And teachers assign them… and it helps a book last longer.