Finalists and Nominations
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALISTS
The National Book Award finalists are SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, MOCKINGBIRD by Kathryn Erksine, DARK WATER by Laura McNeal, LOCKDOWN by Walter Dean Myers, and ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia. While these are all eligible for the Newbery, most people would feel more comfortable with the juvenile titles (i.e. MOCKINGBIRD and ONE CRAZY SUMMER) being considered. I have not read DARK WATER, and am half way through MOCKINGBIRD, but have read the others. I’m predicting a win for ONE CRAZY SUMMER, although I think that SHIP BREAKER would also be a fine choice.
The National Book Awards have four categories, of course, three for adults–Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry–and one for children and young adults–Young People’s Literature. My eternal lament is that the Young People’s Literature category ought to do a better job of embracing nonfiction and poetry, especially with so many rich possibilities this year in either genre. I’m not sure what more the National Book Foundation can do. I mean, they did appoint Laban Carrick Hill (nonfiction, poetry) and Hope Anita Smith (poetry) as judges, after all. So, for me, as fine as the shortlist may be, it just lacks the excitement, diversity, and controversy of last year’s list. Ho hum.
What do you think about the National Book Award finalists?
While the National Book Award judges made their finalists public yesterday, the Newbery committee may have already traded their first round of October nominations. You’ll remember that three formal nominations are due in October, two in November, and still two more in December. If you read the most recent Sunday Brunch at Collecting Children’s Books, Peter Sieruta discusses how ALSC actually published the Newbery nominations for a brief period of several years in the early 1970s. The lists are fascinating and provide a glimpse of the diverse array of titles considered by the committee.
Nina has been holding her cards close to the vest, revealing that THE KNEEBONE BOY is currently in her top three, but teasing us with others (unnamed, but not fiction). I, on the other hand, announced from the beginning that KEEPER, A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS, and SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD were my top three, and they remain my choices (although I have flirted with DARK EMPEROR, BARBIE, DREAMER, and KKK), not just because they are excellent, but also because I have not had the opportunity to do much rereading yet. On the real committee, I would have read all of my potential nominations at least twice, and possibly three times. Rereading changes everything.
At this point, what are your three October nominations?
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at email@example.com
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