Remarks on 2017’s Youth Media Awards

I was rather pleased with myself for the speed with which I updated the award-winner bibliographies on my library’s website after ALA’s Youth Media Awards were announced last Monday morning. But it’s taken me a whole week to get around to commenting on the awards here.

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2017 Newbery Award Winner

For any of you who aren’t aware, the ALA Youth Media Awards include the famous Newbery and Caldecott medals, as well as some newer and somewhat less widely-known awards. You can see a full list of winners, including honor books, on this page from ALA’s website. My favorites of the Youth Media Awards (besides the Newbery and Caldecott) are the Printz for YA literature, the Geisel for beginning readers, the Sibert for nonfiction, and the Coretta Scott King for African American literature. For all of those, I wrote up a wish-list and a prediction-list ahead of time.

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2017 Caldecott Award Winner and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner

My predictions weren’t extremely accurate. The Newbery book, The Girl Who Drank the Moon was a bit of a surprise, as was the Caldecott winner, Radiant Child. Both of those were books that I had read and that I would describe as good books, but they are both books that I admittedly had basically written off as contenders for major awards. For the Printz, Geisel, and Sibert, I was so far off that most of the honor books hadn’t even been on my radar. (Although I had read both We Are Growing which won the Geisel, and March Book 3, which won both the Printz and Sibert.) My Coretta Scott King predictions were the closest. Although I didn’t correctly guess either of the winners, (March Book 3 for the author award and Radiant Child for the illustrator award) I knew that Freedom Over Me, Freedom in Congo Square, and March Book 3 would all do well. I didn’t predict, though, that they would win three honors, two honors, and three medals respectively, just out of my six favorite awards.

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2017 Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner,  Printz Award Winner, and Sibert Award Winner, as well as winning the National Book Award for books for youth last November

I would like to point out, though, that the three books that I wanted and expected to win the Printz, (The Sun is Also a Star) the Newbery, (Wolf Hollow) and the Caldecott (They All Saw a Cat) all were named honor books. And my second-favorite Newbery contender, The Inquisitor’s Tale, was also named an honor book, which I did not actually expect to happen. So, all in all, I feel like I got my way.

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2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, and Newbery Honor Book

Not that that really matters, of course; there’s a reason that these awards are determined by committees rather than individuals. So what I most want to express following these awards is gratitude for the committee members, who worked so hard reading, thinking, and discussing in order to select these award winners. And now, it’s time to start speculating about 2018’s Youth Media Awards…

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