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February 2007

Posts from January 2007

January 2007 Reading List

Sherry just posted her January reading list, with links to her reviews, over at Semicolon. The Old Coot also regularly posts his monthly reading lists (see his January list here). And I thought it was something worth trying out myself. So, here is my list of books completed so far this year, broken down into 3 categories, and sorted by date. You can also find this list on my GrowingBookworms book list website.

Children's and Young Adult Books

  1. John Fardell: The 7 Professors of the Far North. Completed January 2, 2007. My review.
  2. Laura Amy Schlitz: A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama. Completed January 6, 2007. A Cybils shortlist title for Middle Grade Fiction. I plan to review after the award is announced, as I am on the judging committee. But I will say that all of the shortlist books are excellent!
  3. Heather Waldorf: Grist. Completed January 10, 2007. My review.
  4. Mike Lupica: Heat. Completed January 13, 2007. Also on the Cybils MG shortlist. Will review after the award is announced.
  5. Frank Cottrell Boyce: Framed. Completed January 13, 2007. Also on the Cybils MG shortlist. Will review after the award is announced.
  6. Cynthia Kadohata: Weedflower. Completed January 14, 2007. Also on the Cybils MG shortlist. Will review after the award is announced.
  7. Frances Hodgson Burnett: Little Lord Fauntleroy. Completed January 14, 2007. My review.
  8. Susan Cooper: King of Shadows. Completed January 24, 2007. Read this for the Scholar's Blog Book Discussion Group. Review forthcoming.
  9. Mo Willems: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Completed January 27, 2007. Wonderful, but already well known, so I didn't review it.
  10. David Wiesner: Flotsam. Completed January 27, 2007. My review.
  11. Doreen Cronin: Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type. Completed January 27, 2007. Also wonderful, and well-known, and I didn't review it. I like to give this as a baby gift to my more keyboard-attached friends.
  12. Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record. Completed January 28, 2007. My review.
  13. Katherine Paterson: Bread and Roses, Too. Completed January 31, 2007. Review forthcoming.

Adult Fiction

  1. Jacqueline Winspear: Messenger of Truth. Completed January 4, 2007. The fourth book in the wonderful Maisie Dobbs series, historical fiction set in post-World War I England.
  2. Andrea Camillieri: The Smell of the Night. Completed January 18, 2007. My latest read from the Inspector Montalbano series, set in Sicily.
  3. Harlan Coben: Promise Me. Completed January 20, 2007. This is a new Myron Bolitar book, after several year's absence. It's great to have him back!
  4. T. Jefferson Parker: The Fallen. Completed January 26, 2007. This is a standalone book about a cop who is thrown from a sixth floor window. He survives with a new ability: he sees emotions as colors, and can tell when people are lying to him.

Adult Non-Fiction

  1. Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger: Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World. Completed January 5, 2007. This book was a gift from my friend Jonathan White, who works closely with the authors as a member of Free the Children's board of directors. It's a great book that will give any reader food for thought about finding meaning and joy in life.

For those keeping score, I am on track for my goal of reading 200 books this year. But of course my available reading time varies from month to month, too. The more I read, the more I want to read. I know that much. 

Cybils Update

In case you haven't heard, the winners of the Cybils will be announced on Valentine's Day. Members of the judging committees are reading through the five books in each category, and concentrating on the discussion and ranking process. It's not easy, because so many wonderful books have been shortlisted.

Meanwhile, over at the Cybils website, Anne Boles Levy is seeking input from all interested parties. She'd like to know what you think about the Cybils processes and short lists. You're welcome to submit praise, point out omissions, and offer criticism (polite criticism, of course), etc. If you have something to say about the Cybils, please head on over to this post on the Cybils site. Thanks!

A Few More Things of Note

Continuing in my quest to catch up on the Kidlitosphere, here are a few more things for your attention:

And that's all for now! Happy Tuesday.

Monday Night Visits: January 29

The past week or so has been a bit hectic for me, work-wise, compounded by the fact that I got a new laptop, and I had to spend quite a lot of time getting it set up and working. (It is gorgeous, and only weighs 3 pounds!). But this has kept me largely absent from the kidlitosphere for a few days. And boy, you disappear for a few days, and you miss all sorts of interesting things. Here are a just a few highlights, from a very quick glance. I'll be back with more soon.

  • Jennifer discusses When to Quit over at Snapshot. She includes a list of "signs that it might be time to quit (a relationship, a job, a ministry, a committee)." Having struggled with this at times myself, I found comfort in her words, as did a variety of commenters.
  • Jennifer Schultz of The Kiddosphere at Fauquier is starting a new feature: Around the World with Your Library Card. She begins with Indiana, complete with maps, tourist information, and, of course, various children's books that take place in Indiana. It's a fun trip!
  • I am very late in reporting this, but Lisa Yee has announced the winners in her fractured book title contest (in which you change the first letter of one word of a children's book title, and come up with a short description of the resulting book). The winner is: "Billy's Purple Plastic Purse: When Billy brings his latest fashion accessory to school, Mr Slinger helps the kindergarten class understand that it's okay for Billy to march to the beat of a different drummer." If you find this funny, head on over and check out the full list of nominations. It had me giggling so much that Mheir was actually concerned for my sanity (OK, the jury's still out on that).
  • And, for another quick dose of amusement, check out Journey Woman's photos of computers that you can use while comfortably lying down. They are a bit scary, actually. But tempting. Very tempting. I don't think that my new 3-pound baby computer would hurt me.
  • On a more serious note, there's been quite a bit of discussion going on regarding the nature of awards, and of the Cybils in particular. You can read some of Colleen's thoughts at Chasing Ray, or you can find an intense discussion in the comments of this A Fuse #8 Production post. Midwestern Lodestar also has some thoughts in response to the Fuse post. For my part, I think that Cybils co-chairs, Anne and Kelly, have done a tremendous thing in a short amount of time, and with a lot of help from the Kidlitosphere. I'm equally sure that next year, with the benefit of experience, will be even better.
  • There's also a prolific discussion going on over at Read Roger about the Newbery awards, diversity, picking books that kids want to read, and more. It's all well worth thinking about, especially for those of us judging for the Cybils. Thanks to A Fuse #8 Production for the link. See also Leila's response to the Read Roger post, over at Bookshelves of Doom.
  • And as a nice counterpoint to the awards discussion, Gail Gauthier writes about Why Blog Reviews are Important. Among other excellent points, she notes that "Blog reviews bring books to the attention of readers who had never heard of them, but they also remind readers of books they'd been meaning to read but had forgotten about." She challenges blog reviewers not to replicate the print journals by always scurrying to review the newest thing, but to take time out to review other, older gems, also. Thanks to Liz B. for the link.
  • And, on the topic of what kids like to read, check out this guest article at Chicken Spaghetti, by Deborah J. Lightfoot, about the Accelerated Reader program. It's eye-opening stuff! Some of the comments are quite vehement, too.
  • What with Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading having reached their goal of finding 100 Cool Teachers of Children's Literature, Franki is proposing a new list: 100 Great Children's Books About Books and Reading. Let her know if you have anything to add.
  • Also on the scene with a new list, Wendy from Blog from the Windowsill and Lady Schrapnell from So Many Books... are compiling a list of "our favorite tough, selfish, mean, even downright rotten kids." So fun!

And oh, I know there's a lot more. But this should keep you all busy for a while.

Children's Literacy Round-Up: January 29

Today's literacy round-up begins with a host of international articles, mostly from Canada, because Canada just celebrated National Literacy Day. Worldwide, there is a lot to celebrate!

  • Start with this recent article about the Woodstock, Ontario Family Literacy Event, held in honor of Canada's National Literacy Day. Literacy specialist Janet Stephens is quoted talking about the importance of literacy: "It literally opens the door to your future," she said. "If you struggle with reading it really makes it difficult for you."
  • Another National Literacy Day article, from Regina, Saskatchewan, discusses the importance of family reading time. "It is very important that families and children read together. It creates a bonding time and it is a great way for parents and children to practise their literacy skills, according to Crystal Clark, executive director of the Regina Family Literacy Network."
  • See also this press release about a recent University of Alberta study on family literacy. The study showed that parents' completion of high school is a critical literacy factor for their children. "Despite assumptions about the benefit of literacy programs this study is the first to offer quantitative proof that parent-child literacy interventions for families of low educational and low income backgrounds do work."
  • This column in the Salem Statesman Journal touches on similar points, about the impact that parental illiteracy has on children's ability to learn to read.
  • For a more grass-roots perspective on a level of literacy that most of us take for granted, check out this article from Viet Nam News. It's about a man who took upon himself a personal crusade to teach the people in his village to read. It's been a long struggle, but thanks to the efforts of Hoang Xuan Cam, most people in the village can now read, and also know more about the outside world.
  • And, for a still more grass-roots perspective, be inspired by this article about a 9-year-old Iowa City girl who used the profits from her lemonade stand "to buy books for the children's collection in the library at University Hospitals." Her name is Lizzy. Lizzy says: "It makes me feel really good, so I am really proud that I am doing it". Kind of gives you hope for the future, doesn't it?
  • A Columbus, Ohio couple has donated 21,000 picture books to the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science. According to the article: "Columbus residents Kenneth Marantz, a professor emeritus of art education at Ohio State, and his wife, Sylvia, a retired school librarian, have collected the picture books for more than 40 years as part of their work writing books and reviewing some 10,000 children's books. Publishers gave them free review copies and, at first, the couple stored them in their basement." What do you think, Cybils nominating committee member? Can you imagine storing up 20,000 books to donate somewhere? 
  • This article in the Arizona Daily Star urges people to start getting ready for National Love of Reading Week (Feb. 12-16). Author Rosalie Robles Crowe got my attention by starting with "Imagine grabbing a favorite read-aloud book and cuddling up on a soft sofa with (take your pick) your child, a grandchild, niece or nephew or offspring of close friends. Now that's living." I agree! It's a wonderful column.
  • I learned from the First Book Blog (one of my favorites) that National Literacy Action week begins today. First Book also reports that their 2006 holiday campaign with Borders Books raised more than $780,000 for First Book. "First Book provides the funds in the form of Borders gift cards to incredible community and literacy programs across the country, and in many cases Borders stores hold fun events for the kids when they come to pick out their brand new books."
  • Finally, some of you librarians out there may be interested in this article that (despite a distressing headline) concludes that there remains considerable demand for local libraries in Southern Oregon.

Happy Reading to you all!

Alas, No Sunday Visits Today

I've had a hectic week at work, and have been trying to catch up on my much-delinquent book reviews when I have time to spare. I'm happy about the reviews (four written this weekend!), but alas, this has left me with less time than usual to visit the kidlitosphere. Thus I have no Sunday visits for you today. But I hope to be back within the next couple of days with some highlights.

Hope that you're all having a great weekend!

Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record: Annie Barrows

I recently received a review copy of Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record, the third book in the Ivy and Bean series, written by Annie Barrows, and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Although this book won't be published until July, I wanted to bring it to your attention now, because I know that a lot of parents out there are looking for good series books for beginning readers. You'll have time to read the first two books in the series (Ivy and Bean and Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go), and be ready for this one when it comes out.

I think that Ivy and Bean are perfect for first to third graders. Although the protagonists are both girls (two unlikely best friends), I found Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record to be quite boy-friendly in its content. The book is a chapter book, with plenty of dialog, and amusing illustrations on nearly every page.

The main characters are in second grade. Bean is a tomboy, happy to be digging around in dirt, and the bane of her older sister's existence. Her hair flies about, and she has a hard time sitting still for Drop Everything and Read in school. Ivy seems an unlikely best friend for Bean at first, clad in cute little outfits, and so readily immersed in her book that she barely looks up when pestered. But both girls share spunk and determination, and a willingness to work hard to meet their goals.

In this book, Ivy and Bean's class gets caught up in World Record Fever, after reading a book on the subject. Bean tries to shove 257 straws into her mouth, another friend tries to hang sixteen spoons on her face, etc. Eventually, this leads Bean and Ivy to try to set a world record by becoming the youngest paleontologists in the world to discover a dinosaur fossil. Things don't go quite as expected, of course, but fun is had all around.

I like the interactions between the kids in this book, and the varied kids in Ivy and Bean's class. I also liked the way that the author brought Bean's dad into the book, as a worried parent, but one who backs up his daughter when needed, and needs a certain amount of attention from her, too. There's a scene in which Bean screams, to try to see if she can break a glass with her voice.

But even through her scream, Bean could hear another sound. It was the sound of her father running up the stairs, very, very fast.

A second later he burst through the door. "What?! What's the matter?!" he shouted. His face was whitish gray.

Bean and Ivy end up outside in the playhouse, a metaphorical doghouse. But they recover quickly, and are off to find other world records to break.

I think that kids will like this book. The language is fun and accessible ("easy-peasy", for example). There is mischief, and realistic teasing among the kids, but also some subtle positive messages. For instance, there's a point where Bean is tempted to brag about finding a "dinosaur".

There was a silence. Bean didn't want want to be a braggy kid. Everyone hates braggy kids. She would wait to tell about the dinosaur bones until someone else told about breaking a record.

The illustrations definitely add to the story. Bean looks particularly mischievous, and her older sister is the perfect vision of snooty adolescence. The kids all have big, expressive eyes, and frequently made me giggle. All in all, I think that this is a great new series for early readers, both boys and girls. I highly recommend it, and will certainly be picking up copies of the books for kids I know in this age range.

Book: Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record
Author: Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Original Publication Date: July 2007
Pages: 132
Age Range: 7-10
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews of this series: Not a full review, but Franki lists the series in her list of "5 must-have books for classroom teachers" over at A Year of Reading. You can also find Ivy and Bean on HipWriterMama's latest list of Strong Girl Role Models.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle: Catherine Webb

The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb was nominated for the Cybils award in Young Adult Fiction, but we ended up transferring it to the Fantasy and Science Fiction category, where it was well-liked, but didn't quite make the shortlist. The book was published in the UK, and has not been published in the US yet. However, the publisher was kind enough to send me a review copy. This book has received a certain amount of acclaim because the author, who wrote her first novel at 14, was only 19 when she wrote this one. I find this mind-boggling.

Horatio Lyle is an extraordinary and unusual book. It's a combination of historical fiction (1864 London) and science fiction (dangerous, green-eyed aliens), with a heady mix of scientific experimentation, class consciousness, and witty banter. The protagonist, in an atypical fashion for a young adult book, is a grown man, though admittedly somewhat youthful in his habits. Horatio Lyle has two younger sidekicks: Tess, a female pickpocket "still young enough to get away with pretending to be innocent, but old enough to be very, very guilty indeed" and Thomas, aka "bigwig", the 15-year-old son of the wealthy Lord Elwick. He also has a faithful dog, Tate. Together, Lyle, Tess, Thomas, and Tate, with a bit of timely assistance from Lyle's redoubtable mother, embark on a dangerous mission.

Lyle, a well-off young inventor and scientist, is hired as a Special Constable by an agent of Buckingham Palace, to solve the mystery of the stolen Funyan Plate, "believed by the natives of Tibet to have been forged in the making of the world by and for the 'Tseiqin', an ancient and powerful race, some call demons, some angels." He and his team soon find themselves competing with two other dangerous factions, both of whom want the plate for their own purposes. Explosions and ambushes, mind control and betrayal all ensue. But despite the rapidity of the plot, Catherine Webb takes time for lyrical writing, too. For example:

Clouds raced along like frightened fish, trying to pretend they hadn't been there, spreading out in wisps that faded into the night. Behind them, the stars were wetly visible, made larger and more twinkling by the water still hanging heavy in the air.

Overall, it's a fantastic romp with a nice historical atmosphere. The interaction between Lyle, Tess, and Thomas, as they gradually come to trust and value one another, makes the story more than a mere adventure novel. I'm intrigued to see how their relationships continue to evolve, and what trouble they get into next. The next book in the series is called The Obsidian Dagger, but I haven't seen it yet.

Book: The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle
Author: Catherine Webb
Publisher: Atom (Little, Brown)
Original Publication Date: 2006 (UK)
Pages: 311
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: Once Upon a Bookshelf (Courtney), Readers' Rants (TadMack), Scholar's Blog (Michele). Also, this is not a review, precisely, but Gail Gauthier discusses the adult protagonist of this book over at Original Content.   

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

The 7 Professors of the Far North: John Fardell

The 7 Professors of the Far North by John Fardell book is pure, escapist fun, perfect for older elementary school kids looking for a spy adventure. Originally published in England, the book does contain some British terminology, but nothing that will unfamiliar to Harry Potter fans. The story begins when Sam's parents send him to spend his vacation week with their old friend Professor Ampersand. Eleven-year-old Sam quickly becomes friends with the professor's great-niece and nephew, Zara and Ben, and finds the professor unusual, but wonderful. Professor Ampersand and Sam share a love of scientific inventions (automatic cooking machines, for example, and a motorcycle with a three-passenger enclosed sidecar). Here's a passage from when Sam first visits the professor's house:

The professor was right, Sam decided. He did feel at home here. There was something about the sparkle of the fairy lights reflecting magically on glass test tubes; something about the warm glow of the lamps casting mysterious shadows of still more mysterious inventions; something that made Sam's stomach tingle the way it had when he'd first breathed in the smell of the motorbike and sidecar.

Sam doesn't get much time to enjoy the professor's house, however. His first night is interrupted by the arrival of a colleague of the professor's, Eric Gauntraker, exhausted and ill and bearing a mysterious message. The children learn that the two professors were part of a team of "Seven Professors of the Far North", founding members of a university on the remote, icy island country of Nordbergen. Before the university could really get off the ground, one of their members, Professor Murdo, betrayed the team, and the local community, and destroyed the university. And now, years later, Murdo has reappeared on the island. Professors Ampersand and Gauntraker convene their other four colleagues to discuss a plan of action. Before they can get very far, however, all six professors are kidnapped by mysterious intruders.

The children are left on their own, hidden away upstairs with a clue that the professors have left them. And, being intrepid and loyal children, they set out to search for, and rescue, the professors. They discover a hidden means of transportation up to the far north (it's very cool!) and make a few friends along the way. They also, with the help of another child who has been kidnapped by Professor Murdo, uncover Murdo's heinous plot, and encounter many dangers. None of it is very plausible. But it is suspenseful, fun, fast-paced, and filled with likable characters. Personally, I can't wait to read the sequel, The Flight of the Silver Turtle.

Book: The 7 Professors of the Far North
Author: John Fardell
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (American edition, originally published in the UK by Faber and Faber)
Original Publication Date: October 2004
Pages: 144
Age Range: 9-12
Source of Book: Bought it in paperback, at an airport, somewhere, after reading a review by Camille at Book Moot.
Other Blog Reviews: Mister K Reads, Book Moot, Roselle Public Library Kid's World

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Flotsam: David Wiesner

I received a copy of Flotsam from Clarion Books a couple of weeks ago. I had been wanting to read it ever since reading A Fuse #8 Production's review last summer, and finally requested a review copy from the publisher. Flotsam was also a Cybils nominee in Fiction Picture Books, though it wasn't short-listed. Before I had a chance to read it, the book was awarded the 2007 Caldecott Medal, thus moving it up even further on my "to read" stack.

Flotsam is a wordless picture book, with detailed illustrations that reward close examination. A young boy is at the beach with his parents, with no other kids to play with. He entertains himself by examining crabs with his magnifying glass. Venturing too close to the water, he's toppled by a large wave. In its wake, the wave leaves a boxy, old-fashioned, underwater camera. As any right-minded child would do, he takes the film from the camera to a one-hour photo store, and also replaces it with a new roll of film. Returning to the beach, he examines the photos, and finds documentation of a fantastic underwater world filled with surprises.

The illustrations of the underwater world are different in tone from the illustrations of the boy on the beach. The beachside pages have an old-fashioned look about them, and are fairly sparse. They are frequently framed as a series of smaller pictures set on the same larger page. The scene where the boy is waiting for the one-hour photo captures perfectly his impatience, through a series of small images.

The underwater photos are more colorful, more whimsical, and very detailed. The boy finds photos of mechanical fish, octopuses who sit in armchairs and read to their children, tiny underwater aliens wearing bubble helmets, gigantic starfish with islands on their backs, and giant turtles bearing shell cities. Some of the details will make the reader laugh aloud, like the underwater fishbowl, with fish casually swimming in and out, the blowfish as open-air balloon, the electric eels working as light bulbs, and the spotted fish wearing a collar around its non-neck, with the name-tag Spot.

The last picture that the boy finds is of a girl, who is holding a picture of a boy, who in turn is holding a picture of a girl, and so on. Turning to his trusty microscope, the boy finds that this nesting of photos continues through several levels. Going back far enough, the pictures start to be in black and white, then in sepia, the clothing old fashioned. It's a perfect chain of all of the people who have found the camera.

Realizing what he has to do, the boy takes his own picture, while holding the photo of the girl holding a photo. Then he tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it embarks on another journey, this time with the reader traveling along. In the end, we see the camera swept up onto another beach, where a lonely girl is waiting.

It's amazing what David Wiesner is able to accomplish in this book without any words at all. We see the boy's curiosity and wonder. We follow all of his movements as he finds the camera, shows it to his parents, and checks with the lifeguard to make sure no one has reported it missing. We see vignettes of a hidden underwater world, one that any child would like to imagine really exists. And we see the camera transported by a series of sea creatures, to end up in the lap of another child.

I think that what makes this book work so well is the juxtaposition of the realistic beach scenes with the whimsical deep sea snapshots. The idea of a hidden world just out of view captures the imagination. The chain of photos going back in time gives the story depth, with the child as part of a larger cycle of people, and the camera a constant as time passes. I highly recommend this book for older pre-schoolers and early elementary school children.

Book: Flotsam
Author: David Wiesner
Publisher: Clarion Books for Children (Houghton Mifflin)
Original Publication Date: September 2006
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8
Source of Book: Review copy from Clarion
Other Blog Reviews: A Fuse #8 Production and Bec's Book Reports

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

Cynthia Lord's Response to Her Book Awards

If you want to feel, vicariously, true joy and gratitude, check out Cynthia Lord's post about her Newbery Honor and Schneider Family Book awards. She refers to it as a life-changing day, and recounts her emotional responses to the whole process. She also thanks everyone involved in the process of publishing RULES, and laments for the books that she loved that didn't win. Her remarks are from the heart, and illustrate why it's so wonderful that Rules won these awards. Head on over and check out Cindy's post.

The Envelope, Please

The ALA announced the annual award winners in various categories this morning. I'm a bit late with the news, but here it is, for your enjoyment (with text from the ALA release, and links added by me).

SEATTLE – The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books and video for children and young adults - including the Caldecott, King, Newbery and Printz awards - at its Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

A list of all the 2007 literary award winners follows:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature

The Higher Power of Lucky,” written by Susan Patron, is the 2007 Newbery Medal winner. The book is illustrated by Matt Phelan and published by Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: “Penny from Heaven,” written by Jennifer L. Holm and published by Random House; “Hattie Big Sky,” by Kirby Larson, published by Delacorte Press; and “Rules,” by Cynthia Lord, published by Scholastic.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children

Flotsam,” illustrated by David Wiesner, is the 2007 Caldecott Medal winner. The wordless book is published by Clarion.

Two Caldecott Honor Books were named: “Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet,” written and illustrated by David McLimans, and published by Walker, and “Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom,” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Hyperion/Jump at the Sun.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults

American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang is the 2007 Printz Award winner. The book is published by First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

Four Printz Honor Books were named:  “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; v. 1: The Pox Party” by M. T. Anderson, published by Candlewick; “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.; “Surrender” by Sonya Hartnett, published by Candlewick Press; and “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults

Lois Lowry, author of “The Giver,” is the 2007 Edwards Award winner. “The Giver” is published by Walter Lorraine Books/Houghton Mifflin Company.

And lots of other awards, listed at the ALA website. Personally, I'm not familiar with the Newbery winner, but I LOVED all three of the honor books. I even have signed copies of all three books that I received from the authors. I'm so lucky! And I'm so happy for Kirby, Jenni, and Cindy, who are all class acts, and who certainly deserve the honors. I'm also pretty happy that none of the winners are on the Cybils Middle Grade Fiction shortlist, so I won't be influenced by that all (though Hattie is on the Young Adult Fiction shortlist).

Regarding the Printz awards, I really liked The Book Thief and An Abundance of Katherines. I didn't personally care for Octavian Nothing, but I understand why it won. I haven't read the others. I received a copy of Caldecott winner Flotsam just a few days ago from the publisher, and will look forward to reading it even more than I was already.

All in all, a fun day for awards. Happy reading to all!