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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

The ALA Youth Media Awards are announced: Predictions and Reactions

Well THAT was exciting!  Exciting and fun and not a single winner of today’s awards made me bang my head on a table at any point.  Hooray!  That’s what constitutes a good year, in my book.  If you’re curious about what won, the press release listing the authors can be found here.  We can now officially call this The Year of the Floras (with Flora and Ulysses winning the Newbery on the one hand and Flora and the Flamingo winning a Caldecott Honor on the other).  Colleen AF Venable pointed out that if you just shorten that to The Year of the Flo’s then you could include Caldecott winner Brian Floca.  Alexander London, on the other hand, may win for his comment, “that gives me hope that next year will be all about Fauna”.

So in case you missed it, the dear Lori Ess and I had a little show before and after the award announcements.  It was to combat the usual Muzak they play each year.  This year the Muzak was a little more  . . . ah . . . vibrant than usual, let’s say.  As such you can see Lori and I rocking out to the jams here.  If ALA needs back-up dancers next year, we are available.

If you’d like to laugh at our predictions (or be wowed by the accuracy of our guest predictors) here is the Pre-Game Show:

And here is the Post-Game Show where we scream and promote and generally have a lot of fun.  If you want some commentary on trends this year, what didn’t make it, and the surprises that did, here’s the thing to watch:

I’d like to thank SLJ for this opportunity.  We had a truly marvelous time and really couldn’t have done this without them.  Thanks especially to Kathy Ishizuka and Guy Gonzalez who were kind enough to get up at an ungodly hour to walk us through the process. And thank you to my co-host Lori Ess, the best a gal could hope for.

And finally, here is a picture of our reactions when the Newbery winner was announced.  As Kathy put it this, “is what Cartier-Bresson termed ‘the decisive moment’.”

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Missed most of the post-show because the ceremony ran over, and I had to get the library ready for opening. Glad it was archived! I am satisfied with the winners–I am missing only one of the Newbery Honors (The Paperboy, which we will get ASAP). I am missing a few of the Belpre Honors and one of the CSK winners, but that’s about it. Batchelder too, but I rarely have those ahead of time (we do have My Father’s Arms Are a Boat!). Was hoping that The Boy on the Porch would have been an Honor book, at least, and it’s too bad that Boxers & Saints were shut out. However, nothing rises to the level of disappointment I felt when Candace Fleming’s Amelia Lost failed to get anything.

    So, wow…now it’s time to focus on 2014. Youth Media Awards morning is lots of fun, but a bit stressful. I’m always worried that I won’t have the Newbery/Caldecott medal books.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful commentary! I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  3. Apparently Chicago Public Library is the Nate Silver of book award predictions

  4. Loved the fantastic presentation here!! Great to see you speaking Elizabeth!!

    Well I do agree that none of the Caldecott winners can really be questioned. FOUR extraordinary books. And LOCOMOTIVE is a worthy Medal winner.

    I mourn the absence of MR. TIGER GOES WILD, which everyone under the sun had predicted, and which is unquestionably one of the year’s very best picture books, regardless of this omission by the ALA, I feel really bad for Peter Brown.

    I also mourn the absence of these books, though obviously they pick all of them. But even one or two would have been nice. THREE honor books ion a year this rich? I don’t get it:

    The Matchbox Diary
    Stardines Across the Sky
    A Splash of Red
    The Dark
    On A Bean of Light
    Parrots Over Puerto Rico
    Inside Outside
    The Mighty Lalouche
    Unicorn Thinks He’s Really Great
    The Tree Lady
    Water in the Park

    One must wonder the how and why of all of the above books being ignored with the committee balking on only going with three Honor books. Every one of them should have strongly contended.

    Still, the books did choose were wonderful.

  5. It was fun to watch you guys! What an awesome idea. I am thrilled to bits with everything that happened today. Mostly cause I picked decently and then signed up for the Super Bowl pool at work. Hoping some of my picking mojo rubs off on that thing.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Thanks, Carter. For half a moment I thought you were referring to the ALA Youth Media Awards as “the Super Bowl” and you’d made bets on it at work. Then I remembered there actually was a thing called the Super Bowl coming out soon. Clearly I need a break from these kids’ books for a while!

      • Ha! The other day, my kids were all WHO DO YOU WANT TO WIN and I launched into some tizzy about Billy Miller and a dancing flamingo, and they were like: umm, Ms. Higgins, we mean the Broncos or Seahawks.

        I get you.

  6. Thanks for the great shout outs to the kids at EMERSON SCHOOL!!! We had so much fun running our Mock Newbery this year — I was jumping up and down in my pajamas this morning (it’s really dark at 5am in California!), and then grinning all day.

    Here are the posts about our Mock Newbery discussions:

    I have to tell you, Betsy & Lori, that the reaction from kids to Flora & Ulysses was immediate and long-lasting. Right away, they came back raving about it, spreading the word to friends. But even four months later, the kids were talking about how distinct the characters each were — they especially loved William Spiver. They spoke about how the use of language really developed the tone of the novel, adding to the humor. And they argued passionately about why we should consider DiCamillo’s language, whether or not it has pictures.

    Thank you to encouraging Mock Newbery celebrations throughout the country! It’s such a fantastic experience for kids (and their librarians)!

  7. Love the post-game show!
    I was really rooting for Counting By 7’s for the Newbery, though it was great to see a funny book win the award. LOVED that One Came Home took an Honor, and wished that Boy On The Porch had one, too.

  8. Delightful! Hope this repeats in the future!

    Sad about Mr. Tiger Goes Wild 🙁