I posted last week about a new award from The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) for young adult fiction. Here's the description of the award:
"Established in 2008 to honor the wishes of young adult author, Amelia Elizabeth Walden, the award allows for the sum of $5,000 to be presented annually to the author of a young adult title selected by the ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee as demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.
The 2009 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee was comprised of ten members representing the university, K-12 school, and library communities who considered 232 young adult titles over the duration of the process".
I must admit that, although I didn't mention this last week, the part of the criteria about "demonstrating a positive approach to life" did raise a bit of a flag for me. I'm not a fan of overt messages in books, regardless of what the message is. (Roger Sutton also commented on this aspect at ReadRoger, and said that YALSA had actually declined the award because of this requirement). But I wanted to withhold judgement until I saw what books the committee came up with. Plus I love the fact that the second and third criteria are the same ones we use for the Cybils.
Anyway, the finalists were announced today, and I have to say that it looks like a good list:
- After Tupac and D Foster, by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam)
- Graceling, by Kristin Cashore (Harcourt) (my review)
- The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins)
- Me, The Missing, and the Dead, by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
- My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park, by Steve Kluger (Dial) (my review)
Graceling and My Most Excellent Year were two of my favorite 2008 titles, so I'm thrilled to see them on the list. I'm not as big a Graveyard Book fan as some, but I did enjoy it. I haven't read the other two, but have heard good things. So, excellent list, all in all!
For more information on the award, contact Wendy Glenn, 2009 AEW Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.