We've had a day, almost two, to think about the awards presented yesterday. What do you think now?
Raise your hand if you were falling-out-of-your-chair shocked at the winner. Yeah, me neither. I've only had the chance to glance through The Lion and the Mouse once, and never sat down to bask in it like I think it deserves. But even that quick glance made me go, "Oh, wow." The heat of the savannah seemed to roll out from the pages. Well done, Mr. Pinkney.
Red Sings from Treetops and All the World had a lot of love in the kidlit world, so neither of those made me goggle. I do wonder why they only picked two honors this year, since I know they've done more in other years.
I was surprised at Mo Willems not winning or honoring in this category, but more because he's Mo Willems than for any particular book--which is a darn good sign that this wasn't the year for another Willems win. I don't read as many easy-readers as I should, so I wasn't too familiar with the winners.
Toon Books is doing very well for itself, I must say. Stinky last year and Benny and Penny and the Big No-No plus Little Mouse Gets Ready this year. Not bad for a fairly young imprint, especially considering that they're getting recognition for the. Methinks their catalog is one to watch.
Am I alone in being tickled that both the winner and the honor book for the Coretta Scott King illustration medal were Langston Hughes poems set to pictures? Just me then. I've only read The Negro Speaks of Rivers, but it was a lovely book to look at. I felt like sinking into every picture and sitting on the riverbank for awhile.
I always love the Pura Belpre illustrations. From almost all of the books, it's art I want to cut out and hang on my wall. That list also had some of the nonfiction that crept in throughout the awards list. It was a good year for the nonfic all around--not only did YALSA premiere an award just for nonfiction, but true stories got love in a number of the awards, including two of the three Big Ones.
What Does It All Mean?
I sat in on a really fun kidlit chat tonight (#kidlitchat, every Tuesday night on Twitter! Tell 'em I sent you, and they'll go, "Who?") and we talked about the effect of the awards. They certainly bump up sales, was the conclusion, but grown-ups buy books. Not usually kids, especially kids this age.
That said, the awards are for quality, not popularity, and they've never pretended to be otherwise. For those of us who lead, drag, and sometimes keelhaul people toward the right book, the pretty sticker is just one factor to take into account among a host of others.
If you haven't already, tell me what you thought of the winners in the comments!
If you want to see my thoughts on the YA and MG novel winners, stop in at Confessions of a Bibliovore.