2014 Youth Media Award Winners

Only once in my 7.5 year library career have I correctly guessed an award-winning title. (I just knew Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe would be a Printz honor.) Once. So it came as no surprise that, once again, I only got one correct guess.

The 2014 Printz Award winner Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick is a book I have never even seen, nonetheless heard about. Am I a poor Teen Services librarian, or is the publisher to blame?  The Printz Honor books include Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (which I just died over) and three other titles I have never. ever. heard. of. (Again, should I be embarrassed? Because I am…)
Of the 10 Alex Award Winners, I have read one and heard of another two. Three. Three out of ten. What? 
But, oh wait…I got two correct guesses! When I first saw Brian Floca’s Locomotive I just had to buy it for my nephews (specifically the five-year old Ronan who just adores trains, and for his third birthday I bought him a conductors cap, apron, and whistle). Locomotive is the Caldecott winner – for excellence in illustrations. See why:


The entire list of winners can be found at the ALA website. Browse, peruse, check out from your library, or purchase. They are all deserving winners, and I can say that despite not reading more than a handful. Why? Because the authors, illustrators, narrators, editors, and publishers put love and care into each of them. Writing is an art that, whether or not we someday go 100% paperless, will never ever die. Writing can send us places we have never been, writing can encourage and inspire us.



Awards Season! And no…I don’t mean the Oscars

MY STREAK IS OVER!! I finally finally FINALLY guessed an award-winning novel!! YYYYYEEEESSS!!!!! This may seem trivial to you, but I truly was beginning to think that I had no idea what a “good book” looked like, because I had never read a winning book before it was announced that it won. The year 2013 has changed all that my friends, and in numerous categories! I can keep my job!* Yes!

I won’t do what every other blogger is doing and review every winning title. Who has time for that. Instead I will highlight the ones I’ve read and encourage you to read them.


I read Printz Honor book Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz last September at the recommendation of a coworker who said of the novel, “I haven’t fallen in love with a book since high school. Until this.” That brief review encouraged me to read. And read I did. This beautiful coming-of-age story also won the Pura Belpré award and the Stonewall Book Award.


Of the ten Alex Award Winners, I read 4, one of which I have yet to review. I’ll do that this week. (Maybe?) They are:
girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: a novel by Robin Sloan
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Marie Semple


The Odyssey Award winner The Fault in Our Stars was actually the fifth book (of 77) that I read in 2012 and called it possibly “my favorite book of 2012”, despite it being January. But I didn’t care.

Oh, and I totally read Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds, but this is a YA and adult book blog. Not a children’s blog. I’ll save you from a review of that fun, “scary” children’s book.

*It is not a pre-requisite to guess or even read award-winning YA literature, but it is a point of pride. For me. Probably not for many other people.

Libraries Change Lives

I am currently reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (which I am finding to be pedantic and annoying, but I like the audiobook narrator’s voice so I am going to stick with it for a bit longer), The Science of Yoga: the risks and the rewards by William J. Broad (which I am enjoying, but taking my time with), and…The Power of Habit: why we do what we do in life and business by Charles Duhigg. I am usually quite diplomatic when reading multiple books at once; I give them each their turn so as to not make the others feel bad. (Yeah, commit me…)

But The Power of Habit has successfully become my favorite child. I have turned my back on every other book piling up on my nightstand, passenger seat, desk, and coffee table…and I don’t even feel bad.

This book is so incredible that it is affecting my dear fiance. I interrupted him (while trying to read about the Navy Seals) approximately 6 times last night, in a span of only 30 minutes. I was gasping, reading passages aloud, and having full-blown conversations with a book. I have already used up half a pad of Post-It notes to mark interesting passages, and I’m only 150 pages in.

I will be posting a review once I have finished the book, but for now I want to share the 3rd coolest thing I learned while reading this book, which deals with libraries. Please forgive me, Mr. Duhigg, for any copyright law I break here.

So in the early 1970s a group of gay rights activists tried (unsuccessfully) to change people’s perceptions of homosexuals. At the time, homophobia was stronger than ever, the American Psychiatric Association defined homosexuality as a disease, and the Library of Congress cataloged books on homosexuality as “Abnormal Sexual Relations, Including Sexual Crimes”. “Then, in the early 1970’s, the American Library Association’s Task Force on Gay Liberation decided to focus on one modest goal: convincing the Library of Congress to reclassify books about the gay liberation movement…to another, less pejorative category.” So in 1972 the ALA and Gay Liberation Movement had a huge win when the LOC changed the classification to “Homosexuality, Lesbianism- Gay Liberation Movement, Homophile Movement.” The very next year, the American Psychiatric Association changed their “rewrote the definition of homosexuality so it was no longer a mental illness…”