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The Cafeteria-(anything else) > Michael L. Printz Award

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Jessica (thebluestocking) (jessicaesq) The ALA announced its annual book awards yesterday. Here are the winners of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

“The White Darkness,” by Geraldine McCaughrean

“Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet,” by Elizabeth Knox
“One Whole and Perfect Day,” by Judith Clarke
“Repossessed,” by A. M. Jenkins
“Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath,” by Stephanie Hemphill

Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?

message 2: by Ken (new)

Ken Whoa -- not only have I not heard of any of these books, I have not heard of any of these authors (maybe I'm just not listening hard enough?).

Anyway, I'd love to hear some feedback on them from others. The Printz Award has taken a purposeful slant toward the "adult" side of YA (older teen readers and adults) in recent years, meaning some of the books, though great, are suspect for use in classrooms (depending on the age, of course).

message 3: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra I've got the first book in the "Dreamhunter Duet" on my "maybe-read" shelf. I haven't heard of any of the others either.

Don't know about the direction of the Prinz award, I hope someone else will be able to comment on that.

message 4: by Beckie (new)

Beckie | 12 comments One possible reason for this is that the criteria for evaluation for the Printz and for BBYA are vastly different. Proven or potential teen appeal is a big part of the BBYA considerations and is not included at all in the Printz criteria, and while the Printz committee is looking for "the best young adult book ('best' being defined solely in terms of literary merit)", the BBYA committee requires only "acceptable literary quality."

I thought this was interesting. I made the BBYA list and I wondered how it all works, so this might help. I hadn't read any of the books on the Prinz award, nor heard of them, but most of the BBYA books I had heard of or at least had read other books by the author. So it is interesting.

Beckie Weinheimer

message 5: by elissa (last edited Jan 17, 2008 06:47AM) (new)

elissa (librarianbodyworkerelissa) | 16 comments I'm a librarian in Washington, DC, and I'm not that active in YALSA (the division of ALA that gives the Printz) at the moment, but I have been a member for about 18 years, and I participate on YALSA listservs (plus a yahoogroup called adbooks that includes librarians, teachers, parents, and some teens). I've heard A LOT about all of the books that won, and had already read 3 of them. I absolutely love all 3 of the ones that I've read (DREAMQUAKE, ONE WHOLE AND PERFECT DAY, and YOUR OWN, SYVLIA--you'll find 2 of them on my 2007favorites shelf, and the 3rd isn't there because I just read it at the beginning of this month), and REPOSSESSED is a book I've been interested in reading. The only reason THE WHITE DARKNESS wasn't on my TBR list is that I'm thinking it might be a little scary and/or "dark" for me (in terms of my personal taste), but I WILL read it now, as I've heard good things about it, and I like to read all of the Printz winners/honors.

Newengland~ONE WHOLE AND PERFECT DAY could definitely be used in classrooms. Since I'm not a teacher, I don't read with that in mind, but I definitely can't remember anything that would keep it out of a classroom (even middle school, I'm pretty sure). It's full of satisfying coincidences and serendipitous occurrences, it's funny & quirky, and it's in one of my favorite subgenres--magical realism. As Beckie already said, this award goes to the best books in terms of literary merit, regardless of what end of YA they appeal to. There have just been so many great books pubished on the higher end of YA in the past few years. LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY is one that was both a Newbery and a Printz honor a few years ago, though, so there's definitely some overlap.

message 6: by Ken (new)

Ken Thanks, Beckie. The straw vote was most interesting. An Iowa Caucus for YA. The highest ranker I'm familiar with is THE WEDNESDAY WARS, which I am presently enjoying.

elissa, I'll check out ONE WHOLE AND PERFECT DAY (I could use one along about now). Odd that you bring up magical realism. I recently read a soccer-related YA book, Mal Peet's KEEPER (set in Brazil), and it, too, has some MR in it. All kinds of things are happening in YA these days, no? As for LIZZIE BRIGHT, ET AL, I'm reading Schmidt's follow-up book at the moment (see above). THE WEDNESDAY WARS is a much better title, methinks. Me? Every Monday I feel like it's an uphill battle to Wednesday's wars...

message 7: by elissa (new)

elissa (librarianbodyworkerelissa) | 16 comments Newengland~I liked WEDNESDAY WARS, but didn't love it (3 stars). I think if I was a teacher I might have loved it, though! And that one will be perfect in classrooms (late elementary and middle school, probably). And yes, LOST of things are happening in YA these days!! YALSA is the fastest growing division of ALA. I read Mal Peet's TAMAR last year, and thought the writing was excellent. I didn't realize that KEEPER had magical realism in it. I've never been able to get past the cover, but I've heard lots of good things about it. Thanks for letting me know about the MR!

message 8: by Ken (new)

Ken I hope my definition of magical realism is correct. Being a pragmatist (who is abstract spatial), I just assumed it was a realistic depiction of something that cannot happen.

message 9: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 6 comments Newengland, I'd be interested in knowing what you think of Wednesday Wars when you are finished. The author, Gary Schmidt, was one of my professors in college. He's an amazing instructor (I took a children's lit class with him -- it was awesome).

I really enjoyed Lizzie Bright but have not picked up Wednesday Wars yet.

message 10: by Ken (new)

Ken Lisa -- I posted a review today. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. One novelty -- it's a YA book without a single profanity. Clearly Prof. Schmidt is anti-fanity!

message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 6 comments Thanks Newengland -- I'll go look for it! (anti-fanity -- cute!)

message 12: by Atomicgirl (new)

Atomicgirl | 6 comments I've read 2 of the books: “Repossessed,” by A. M. Jenkins and "Your Own, Sylvia."

Repossessed has an interesting premise and it held my interest until the end, but I don't know about it's "literary merit."

In comparison, "Your Own, Sylvia" is a well-written book, both in terms of literary technique and appeal. (The book uses poems to detail Sylvia Plath's life and contains interesting and intimate glimpses about the writer.) It was one of my favorite books from last year.

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