The Youth Media Awards

The morning of the Youth Media awards (i.e. Newbery, Caldecott, Printz) is always an anxious time for a youth services librarian. Committee members are up and out early heading to the press booth at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference. This year the conference was held in Seattle and the awards were presented on a damp and chilly morning a very early morning, too.

There is an air of anticipation as you enter the convention center. Will the titles I consider my personal favorites win? Will I agree with the committee’s choices? Will I think they’ve lost their minds? I think this year these questions were at the forefront of my mind since I proudly served as a member of last year’s Caldecott Committee.

Bleary eyed and clutching my extra large coffee I made my way to the Grand Ballroom area where the awards would be announced. Was the line this long last year? I couldn’t remember, I guess I was too focused on the phone calls are committee would be making. Fortunately for me, the line moved quickly and I was able to locate a great seat and a wide open view of the stage and the jumbotron television screens. (Did I mention this is a BIG deal in the youth services world?)

The lights dimmed, the music began, and the speeches did, too. Then the moment we were all waiting for was upon us, the awards themselves. I anxiously pulled out my cell phone and prayed I would have decent reception because I promised I would text my colleagues here at the Library with the winners as they were announced. Gee, there were so many awards. My fingers flew across my phone’s keypad. Autocorrect made my well meaning efforts almost unreadable but very laughable. 

Finally it was time for the “Big 3,”the Printz award for best Young Adult fiction, the Caldecott for best picture book illustration and the Newbery for best children’s fiction. As these titles were announced I was shocked, surprised and just plain thrilled all at the same time. I did agree with the committee’s choices, in fact I saluted their choices. I admired the direction that each committee took in selecting books that weren’t the obvious and overly blogged about favorites. They made great decisions and clearly went with their hearts and not with what the publishers and those folks in the blogosphere predicted. I’d like to thank all members of this year’s awards committees, you did a great job!  This year’s big winners are Caldecott Medal; This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, Newbery Medal; The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and the Printz Award; In Darkness by Nick Lake.

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