We’re smack dab in the middle of movie award season, and what better time to post predictions for the ALA Youth Media Awards than now? As I said last year I have little real idea of how these awards work, and my predictions come from a very limited perspective, ie, what I hear from other librarians and teachers and Mock Awards given out. But that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to try. So here we go!
Last year, the committee hit me in my blind side and came up with Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool for top award. And while they certainly could go totally off the radar again this year, there have been a few books at the top of people’s lists all year that I think will be the eventually winners. So I say, this year the medal goes to:
Okay For Now by Gary B. Schmidt
Some say it’s too happy ending could do it in, but I believe the love is still there. Schmidt won an Honor for The Wednesday Wars, a kind of prequel to Okay For Now, and I think he’ll best himself on this one. I’ve seen Mock Newbery support from across country for this title, and I believe committee members who love this book will stand behind it. It also happens to be one of my favorite books of the year, which doesn’t hurt.
Among the honors could be: The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm; Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai; Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming; Flesh and Blood So Cheap by Albert Marrin; AMonster Calls by Patrick Ness (though some may think this skews too YA) and Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. I’d like to think that Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley has a shot, but I think the title might be too divisive.
Some years there are lots of possibilities, and some years, it seems the award is wrapped up far before it’s ever announced (think Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion & the Mouse). This year, I’d like to think there’s a clear frontrunner, though there is some heady competition. I think the medal goes to:
Heart and Soul: The Story of American and African Americans by Kadir Nelson
Nelson’s book is heartbreakingly gorgeous to behold, and the art is clearly tied in with and enhances the (also very good) text. It’s been eleven years since a non-fiction book won the top prize (David Small’s So You Want to Be President? written by Judith St. George), but I believe this year will be the one to break fiction’s streak. I simply can’t imagine the committee looking at Nelson’s work, and not wanting to reward it.
Among the honors could be: Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Nelson’s main competition, I believe); Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell; Blackout by John Rocco; A Butterfly is Patient by Sylvia Long, written by Dianna Aston; Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg and A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka. I would dearly, dearly love for I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen to be among the winners, but I don’t think Klassen’s there just yet.
The Geisel Award
Mo Willems will do it again. I predict his I Broke My Trunk! will waltz away with the shiny sticker come awards morning.
The Michael L. Printz Award
This one will and should go to the lovely Ruta Sepetys for her debut work, Between Shades of Gray.