105 Ways to Give a Book

Newbery, Caldecott, Printz 2010

I put my awards predictions on Booklights this year, and boy did I nail it! Not that it was a particularly hard year to predict, but you never know when a surprise is going to slip through. Well, actually it did in the Printz award, but I’ll get to that later. There will be helpful lists of winners all over the place, but here are my personal reactions.

Newbery Medal


When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
One of my most horrifying blogger moments was realizing that I had this book as an ARC, but didn’t get around to reviewing it until it seemed like everybody had talked about it already. Still kicking myself. I did profile it on Booklights as a very strong contender to win, and was right there. It also was a book that got some of the most engaged and passionate discussion at the DC Kidlit Book Club, which was telling right there. Awesome choice for the win. (Edited to add Booklights text: Miranda is comfortable with her friends, family, and generally her New York City life. But it feels as if things start to shift when her best friend Sal pulls away from her. Left adrift in sixth grade, she meets new people and tries new things - but is most intrigued by the strange notes appearing for her eyes only. The story is clever, layered, interesting, and intelligent. The buzz is big, the hype is high, and the love is loyal for this title. I won't be surprised to see it somewhere on the list, and maybe even as the winner.)


Where the Mountain Meets the MoonWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
On the other hand, I’ve been talking about this book a lot. Like crazy a lot. I fell in love from the moment Grace posted the cover art, was delighted to get the ARC, was happy to be part of the blog tour, gave it to my daughter for Christmas, and will be talking about it on Wednesday at my Mother/Daughter book club. I didn’t think that it would win, because it doesn’t have that dark edge that the Newbery goes for, but am so happy to see it take a medal. (Edited to add Booklights text: Seeped in her father's fairy tales and pushed by her mother's sighs, Minli leaves home to search for the Old Man of the Moon to change her family's fortune. Along the way her kindness makes her many friends, who turn out to provide the help she needs. Incorporating Asian fairy tales with her own adventure, this is a beautiful book of love, friendship, and gratitude. The full color panel illustrations throughout add to the astonishing beauty of the book. And just look at the cover! Lots of people are hoping for a Newbery for the delightful book and author too, but it may be too light and happy for another award that tends towards death and calamity.)

The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline Kelly
So I didn’t write about this book either until recently, but I was late to the party on discovering it. I did read it, loved it, and thought that it had a good chance of making the Newbery list for its strong writing and story. And hey, a historical fiction winner without death or dismemberment! It’s a new day for Newbery. (Edited to add Booklights text: The hardest thing about this book is making the one sentence description sound gripping. It's the story of a girl in 1899 who discovers the world of science under the tutorage of her grandfather. Calpurnia Tate is the youngest of a bunch of brothers, and can sometimes get lost in the shuffle to spend time at the creek looking at plant specimens or holed up in Grandfather's lab, testing the fermentation of pecans to wine. But for all this exposure to science, she's still growing into a woman at the turn of century and wonders when she'll have to put away her magnifying glass for a mop. Wonderful historical fiction that doesn't focus on death, dismemberment, or abject poverty - which is why it may not be taken seriously enough to win the Newbery.)

Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice
by Phillip Hoose
Didn’t read it, but have it on hold because I was pretty sure it would make the list. Some list, at least.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
by Rodman Philbrick
Never heard of this title, so here’s our Newbery surprise.

Caldecott Medal


The Lion and the MouseThe Lion & the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
Seriously, no one is surprised here. The book is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. By taking the old tale and making it wordless, Pinkney gave the story new life and interpretation. I’m only concerned where the gold medal will go on this breathtaking cover. I’m glad I have a copy without the medal, frankly.


All the WorldAll the World
written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Another beautiful book that could have won had it not been published the same year as Pinkney’s book. Guess those are the breaks. Like The Lion & the Mouse, it’s on the Cybils Fiction Picture Book shortlist.

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
I haven’t seen this book yet, but it did make the shortlist for Cybils Poetry.

A complete list of the ALSC winners in a variety of categories is available at the ALSC site.

Printz Award (Known this year as “Where’s Marcelo?”)


Going BovineGoing Bovine
by Libba Bray
Read it, liked it, recommended it as a must-read of 2009. Did not think it would win because it seemed to get a love it/hate it reaction from people, and I figured that the reactions would cancel each other out and knock this off the list.


Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman, The Monstrumologist, by Richard Yancey, Punkzilla, by Adam Raff, and Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance 1973, by John Barnes
I’m running these together, because I haven’t read any of them and have only even heard of Charles and Emma. It seems like an odd batch of mostly quirky or unusual books, and with a glaring omission of Marcelo in the Real World.

A complete list of the YALSA winners in a variety of categories is available at the YALSA site.

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Sarah N. said...

Thanks for the update. I loved When You Reach Me and Calpurnia Tate. I haven't read the other honor books but I plan to check them out soon. I may be only lover of picture books who hasn't read The Lion and the MOuse but I've got it on request :) Charles and Emma is definitely worth a read, I found it fascinating.

Anonymous said...

I have to read When You Reach Me. Looks like a good crop of winners this year. Our own PTown author, Lisa Madigan won the Morris Award for Flash Burnout.

Lisa Nowak said...

I loved When You Reach Me. Haven't read the others.

Elaine Magliaro said...

I love all of the Caldecott picks this year!

I am so excited for Grace--and so happy that she got a Newbery Honor Award for "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon."

Paige Y. said...

I love it when something completely unexpected makes the an award or honor list. I too haven't heard of the Philbrick book but it sounds wonderful. I don't know how I missed it when I was ordering books

I watched the awards on ALA's site. It's the first time I've done that and it was really fun. I loved the gasp when Going Bovine won.

Carmela Martino said...

Did you read IF I STAY by Gayle Forman? The children's/YA book club I'm a member of expected it to at least be a Printz honor.

madelyn said...

When I am in the company of kidlit bloggers I am always ashamed by the number of books I HAVEN'T read/intimidated by the number of books other people HAVE read. So actually I was kind of glad to hear you hadn't read every single one of these. And glad that I had at least read (and loved) When You Reach Me!

MissA said...

I'm really sad that Marcelo didn't even get an honor. I need to read When You Reach Me, asap as well as When the Mountain Meets the Moon. Must get on that :D

Trisha said...

I think the Printz committee was hording all the surprise picks.

Bill said...

I reviewed Homer P. Figg early and liked it a lot, but in the end didn't pick it. Kicking myself now!

Terry Doherty said...

Does it make you feel any better that I have an ARC but still haven't read it?

Caroline said...

I am so excited by this year's winners. I loved When You Reach Me and really enjoyed Calpurnia Tate. I'm really pleased with The Lion and the Mouse...but I hope they can find a place to put the medal on the cover without ruining the picture!

Kristi said...

The Printz award is somewhat confusing to me - it always seems like the books I pick to win or place never show up, and something I would never have guessed ends up taking top honors. I was surprised by Going Bovine's win this year - the thought of it winning had never even crossed my mind, even though I loved the book. I know a lot of people are lamenting the shut out of Marcelo in the Real World, which makes me sort of ashamed to admit I haven't even read it yet. I loved Charles and Emma and I'm glad to see it pick up an Honor, but I haven't seen it go out much at my library at all. The Monstrumologist has been popular here, but again, I haven't read it, nor the other Honor books. I'm not at all surprised and quite happy to see When You Reach Me take the Newbery. At any rate, I have a lot of books to add to my to-be-read pile!

beth said...

We have The Lion and the Mouse out from the library right now, so I'm please to say I've read it. And my 3rd grader spent his Xmas money on Grace Lin's book because he loved it so much.

Ms. Yingling said...

If it makes you feel better, I disliked Homer Figg so much I gave away a copy someone had given me. You did a great job at predicting!

Tricia said...

I'm failing miserably at the comment challenge, but I'm here today with a call to arms. Whoopi Goldberg got loads of time before 9 am to talk about her new children's book (ick!) while the Caldecott and Newebery winners got less than 3 minutes and little time to talk. Where's BACA when you need it?! Waiting to hear a rant ...

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

You know, this was lovely - I really enjoyed your "color commentary" because it helped contextualize the winners for me. Thanks, MotherReader!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I predicted WHEN YOU REACH ME would win and CALPURNIA would be get an honor. HOMER P. FIGG surprised me, though it was entertaining.

Richard Hanks said...

Seen this all over the web, but I like yor write upbest, Thanks.

Melissa said...

I'm kicking myself for not reading Where the Mountain Meets the Moon sooner. Everyone has raved about it, and I didn't listen. Correcting that mistake now, though...

Andromeda Jazmon said...

I'm reading Calpurnia Tate right now and love it. Buddy's piano teacher had to come out to find out what I was laughing about during a break in the lesson yesterday because I got to the part where she was hiccuping during dinner after sampling Grandfather's pecan experiment. *grin*

Thanks for the summaries here. I can see several more I need to read!