Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sleeping with the Newbery

Some people sleep with husbands or wives.

Some sleep with dolls or teddy bears.

Me? I sleep with books.

It's not intentional. It's just that I like to read before going to sleep each night and, over time, the one or two books on my pillow becomes three or four. Or ten or twelve. On Sunday night -- the night before the prize announcements -- there were twenty books beside me as I slept. Here they are:


Let's zoom in for a closer view. (You can click on the image to enlarge it even more.) It's a mix of new hardcovers I purchased, a couple ARCS I received free, and several library books. Recognize any of these titles? Let's see...


Isn't that the Morris winner, THE FREAK OBSERVER by Blythe Woolston?

And there's SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi, which won this year's Printz.

Plus TWO Printz Honors -- REVOLVER by Marcus Sedgwick and PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King.

Finally, what's that book down on the far left side?

Let me flip it over:


Yep, MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, the winner of this year's Newbery Medal!

MOON OVER MANIFEST was very much a surprise winner, but I'd heard the title mentioned several times as a possible under-the-radar contender over the past few weeks, so on Friday evening I picked up a copy of the novel on the way home from work. How lucky was that? Sunday night I slept beside it (and SHIP BREAKER and THE FREAK OBSERVER) and all three won major awards. Not to mention Honors for my bedmates VERA DIETZ and REVOLVER.

Coincidence?

Of course.

But still.... I think next January, on The Night Before the Awards -- I'll take all my special favorites for the year and tuck them in beside me to see if lightning strikes twice!

Today's blog is a very random mix of facts and opinions about this year's book awards.


FIRST THE FACTS

The 2011 Newbery Medal went to MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool.


There were four Honor Books:

TURTLE IN PARADISE by Jennifer L. Holm
HEART OF A SAMURAI by Margi Preus
DARK EMPEROR AND OTHER POEMS OF THE NIGHT by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen
ONE CRAZY SUMMER by Rita Williams-Garcia

The 2011 Caldecott Medal went to Erin E. Stead for A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE, written by Philip C. Stead.


There were two Honor Books:

DAVE THE POTTER : ARTIST, POET, SLAVE, illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Laban Carrick Hill
INTERRUPTING CHICKEN, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

The 2011 Printz Award went to SHIP BREAKER by Paolo Bacigalupi.


The four Honor Books are:

STOLEN by Lucy Christopher
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King
REVOLVER by Marcus Sedgwick
NOTHING by Janne Teller

The 2011 Sibert Prize went to KAKAPO RESCUE : SAVING THE WORLD'S STRANGEST BIRD, written by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Nic Bishop.


There were two Honor Books:

BALLET FOR MARTHA : MAKING APPALACHIAN SPRING, written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan and illustrated by Brian Floca
LAFAYETTE AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Russell Freedman


WATCHING THE AWARDS

I've only had a fast internet connection for a few months, so this was the first time I was able to watch the award ceremony live.

Wow, it was exciting to hear the events in real time and listen to the audience response to each winning title. It was just like being there!

However, before the presentation began, the internet feed began playing LAST YEAR'S AWARDS. I thought it was funny that all the winning books were titles from 2009! Luckily I caught on just before the 2011 feed began. Did this happen to anyone else?

And how many people were unable to get online or had the feed go out on them halfway through the program? Several of my friends told me this happened to them.


DID ERIN STEAD SET A RECORD?

A couple years ago I wrote a blog about the comparative ages of each Caldecott winner. The oldest winner was Mordicai Gerstein (THE MAN WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE TOWERS) who received the award at age 69.

The youngest was Robert McCloskey, who won for MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS at age 28.

Now along comes Erin E. Stead, who is also 28 years old.

At the very least, she has tied Mr. McCloskey for youngest Caldecott winner ever. Depending on her birthdate, she may actually have set a new record. Robert McCloskey was about six months into his twenty-eighth year when he won (back then the awards were usually announced in March), so if Ms. Stead is less than six months from her last birthday, she has established a new Caldecott record!

UPDATE : Philip C. Stead, the author of A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE and husband of newly-crowned Caldecott winner Erin E. Stead wrote in to say that Erin just turned twenty-eight on December 27.

This officially makes her the youngest Caldecott winner EVER -- beating out previous record holder Robert McCloskey by several months.

Thanks for the info -- and congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Stead on their winning book!


HOMETOWN PRIDE

Erin Stead is originally from Farmington Hills, Michigan (hey, that's where I live!) and her husband, who wrote A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE and both wrote and illustrated CREAMED TUNA FISH & PEAS ON TOAST, hails from nearby Dearborn. Now they live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Erin joins other Michigan-born Caldecott winners Gerald McDermott (ARROW TO THE SUN), Chris Van Allsburg (JUMANJI; THE POLAR EXPRESS), and David Small (SO YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT.)


IN-STEAD OF ME TELLING YOU ABOUT THE STEADS...

You might want to check out this newspaper article from the Detroit Free Press or this wonderfully in-depth blog entry from the Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog.


THE ONLY MISTAKE I HEARD ON ALA WEBCAST

Anyone notice that the Morris Award winner THE FREAK OBSERVER was mistakenly announced as FREAK THE OBSERVER?

Now several other websites and blogs have recorded it incorrectly.

...And I'm counting down the minutes till someone asks if FREAK THE OBSERVER is a sequel to Rodman Philbrick's FREAK THE MIGHTY....


EMILY LITELLA STRIKES AGAIN

In Beverly Cleary's 1984 Newbery winner, DEAR MR. HENSHAW, the eponymous character is a children's book writer whose works include WAYS TO AMUSE A DOG.

Ms. Cleary, a former bookseller, came up with that fictional title because she'd heard the possibly-apocryphal story about a bookstore customer who wanted a copy of Franz Werfer's big old serious novel FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH and instead asked for "Forty Ways to Amuse a Dog."

Do you think anyone will now try to seek out MOON OVER MANIFEST and instead get this 2008 children's book:


Or how about those who want this year's Sibert Honor, BALLET FOR MARTHA and instead end up with:



THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS

Two books.

Both historical novels for young readers.

Both published in 2010.

One's nominated for the Morris Award, the other wins the Newbery.



And both cover girls need to watch where they're walking.


DUAL NEWBIES?

A blog-reader just asked me if this was the first year in which both the Newbery and Caldecott were given to debut creators.

I believe it is!

The closest example I can find is 1961 when Nicolas Sidjanov won the Caldecott for the first book he illustrated, BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS, and Scott O'Dell won for ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS, which was his first work for young readers. However, Mr. O'Dell had previously published a few books for adults, so he was not truly a first-time author.

Incidentally, many authors have received the Newbery for their first book, but I'm hard-pressed to think of many illustrators who have won the Caldecott for their first book.

Let's see, there's Sidjanov and Stead.... Who else?


WILL THIS YEAR'S WINNERS BE HARD FOR COLLECTORS TO FIND?

MOON OVER MANIFEST was published October 12, 2010.

I've heard that this novel had a first printing of 15,000 copies.

By the time the award was announced on January 10, the book was already in its second printing.

Based on my own experience, I think this winner may be similar to the 1995 Newbery WALK TWO MOONS in terms of collectability. That is, the book was released recently enough that all the copies haven't been snapped by libraries -- which is what happened with some other winners such as KIRA-KIRA and A SINGLE SHARD. Right now, just a couple days after the announcement, copies may be hard to find (it's currently #10 on the Amazon bestseller list) but when things calm down, I think first editions will trickle onto the market and be available for a moderate-to-high price.

A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE was published May 25, 2010.

I do not know the size of the first printing.

By the time the award was announced on January 10, the book was in at least its sixth printing.

Time will tell whether this becomes a classic, impossible-to-find Caldecott, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is selling very well, with some booksellers reporting it a hand-selling success long before the award was bestowed. The book is currently #8 on Amazon's bestseller list. Considering its early date of publication and its subsequent multiple printings, this is a difficult book to find in first edition at present and may remain so. Expect to pay a high price for a first edition in the coming years.


NUMBER CRUNCHING

Some fun facts and figures about this year's prizes:

All of this year's Newbery titles were written by women.

This is the twentieth time that the entire Newbery slate (winner and Honors) have been won by all females: 1930 (winner plus six Honors!), 1932 (winner plus six Honors!), 1933, 1935, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1951, 1956, 1963, 1965, 1970, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1995, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2011.

The number of female Newbery winners is now exactly double that of men, with sixty women winners vs. thirty men.

There have been complaints that Newbery novels tend to feature young girls with absent and/or bad mothers. This year's list reinforces those complaints, with three of the five books: MOON OVER MANIFEST, ONE CRAZY SUMMER, and TURTLE IN PARADISE following that trend.

This year's Newbery winner and honorees are all newcomers to the award, except for Jennifer Holm. This is her third Newbery Honor in eleven years. She joins the following group of "three-peaters" who have won three Honors without having won the gold:

Mary and Conrad Buff : BIG TREE (1947), THE APPLE AND THE ARROW (1952) and MAGIC MAIZE (1954.)

Padraic Colum : THE GOLDEN FLEECE (1922), THE VOYAGERS (1926), and BIG TREE OF BUNLAHY (1934.)

Alice Dalgliesh : THE SILVER PENCIL (1945), THE BEARS ON HEMLOCK MOUNTAIN (1953) and THE COURAGE OF SARAH NOBLE (1955.)

Nancy Farmer : THE EAR, THE EYE, AND THE ARM (1995), A GIRL NAMED DISASTER (1997), and THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION (2003.)

Agnes Hewes : SPICE AND THE DEVIL’S CAVE (1931), GLORY OF THE SEAS (1934), and THE CODFISH MUSKET (1937.)

Clara Ingram : ABRAHAM LINCOLN, FRIEND OF THE PEOPLE (1951), THEODORE ROOSEVELT, FIGHTING PATRIOT (1954), AND MR. JUSTICE HOLMES (1957.)

Eloise Jarvis McGraw : MOCCASIN TRAIL (1953), THE GOLDEN GOBLET (1962) and THE MOORCHILD (1997.) The forty-four years between her first and last Honors represents the longest stretch of time between honored books in an author’s career.

Anne Parrish : THE DREAM COACH (1925), FLOATING ISLAND (1931), and THE STORY OF APPLEBY CAPPLE (1951.)

Gary Paulsen : DOGSONG (1986), HATCHET (1988), and THE WINTER ROOM (1990.)

Isaac Bashevis Singer : ZLATEH THE GOAT (1967), THE FEARSOME INN (1968), and WHEN SHLEMIEL WENT TO WARSAW (1969.)

Zilpha Keatley Snyder : THE EGYPT GAME (1968), THE HEADLESS CUPID (1972), and THE WITCHES OF WORM (1973.)

Jacqueline Woodson : SHOW WAY (2006), FEATHERS (2008), and AFTER TUPAC & D FOSTER (2009.)

Something tells me that Jennifer Holm will eventually win the Big N.

MOON OVER MANIFEST is one of the lenghiest Newberys to date. At 351 pages, it ranks only behind the first winner, THE STORY OF MANKIND (489 pages) and the second year's winner, THE VOYAGES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE (364 pages.)

This year's winner is the fourth Newbery title to have the word "moon" in its title, following last year's Honor Book WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, winner WALK TWO MOONS, and Honor Book SING DOWN THE MOON

As of this year there are 53 male Caldecott winners and 27 female.

DAVE THE POTTER marks the third time Bryan Collier has received a Caldecott Honor, after ROSA and MARTIN'S BIG WORDS. He joins a select club of illustrators who have won three Caldecott Honors without winning the gold:

Molly Bang : TH GREY LADY AND THE STRAWBERRY SNATCHER (1981), TEN, NINE, EIGHT (1984), and WHEN SOPHIE GETS ANGRY -- REALLY REALLY ANGRY (2000.)

Peter Parnall : THE DESERT IS THEIRS (1976), HAWK, I’M YOUR BROTHER (1977), and THE WAY TO START A DAY (1978.)

Dr. Seuss : MCELLIGOT’S POOL (1948), BARTHOLEMEW AND THE OOBLECK (1950), IF I RAN THE ZOO (1951.)

Peter Sis : STARRY MESSENGER (1997), TIBET THROUGH THE RED BOX (1999) and THE WALL (2008.)

Mo Williems : DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS (2004), KNUFFLE BUNNY (2005), and KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO (2008.)

Taro Yashima : CROW BOY (1956), UMBRELLA (1959), and SEASHORE STORY (1968.)

I also think that Bryan Collier will eventually receive the gold medal -- sooner rather than later.

KAKAPO RESCUE was the third Sy Montgomery/Nic Bishop collaboration to be recognized by the Sibert committee after Honors THE TARANTULA SCIENTIST and QUEST FOR THE TREE KANGAROO. Mr. Bishop was also honored for his solo work, SPIDERS.

This year's two Sibert Honorees, Russell Freedman and Jan Greenberg/Sandra Jordan are not strangers to this award. Both have been cited before, with Mr. Freedman winning the 2005 Medal for THE VOICE THAT CHALLENGED A NATION and Greenberg/Jordan being Honored for ACTION JACKSON.


KUDOS

On Saturday I asked if anyone had any Newbery or Printz predictions to share.

Kudos to Sherry for getting the Printz winner right -- it was SHIP BREAKER!

And Kristen actually got the Newbery correct!

Plus I must give retro-props to Harper who predicted GOING BOVINE and TALES OF A MADMAN UNDERGROUND for the Printz last year. I only know one other person who predicted BOVINE and I don't think anyone (but Harper!) saw MADMAN coming.


PERSONAL STATS

When the awards were announced, I already owned all the Newbery books, except for HEART OF A SAMURAI. Fortunately, I was able to find a copy at a local store within minutes of hearing the announcement.

I'm especially pleased that my copies of TURTLE IN PARADISE are signed. Here is the ARC (advance reader's copy):



And here is the eventual hardcover:



Which cover do you prefer?

I have not yet read either MOON OVER MANIFEST or HEART OF A SAMURAI, but hope to read them soon and review them in this blog.

When the awards were announced, I already owned all the Printz books, except for STOLEN, which I hurried out to purchase.

Unfortunately, my copy of NOTHING is a second printing, so I am scrounging around trying to find a first. Has anyone ever seen one?

I have yet to read STOLEN, but hope to read it soon and review that here as well. And I'm very anxious to write about both REVOLVER and NOTHING -- REVOLVER because, while I enjoyed the book's fast-paced suspense, I felt the story centered on a somewhat sticky moral crisis that led to a rather unsatisfying conclusion; I'll explain more -- with spoilers -- in a future blog. And I must say I didn't like NOTHING (how could anyone like this deeply disturbing novel?) but I do think it's rather brilliant and almost impossible to forget. Why aren't more people talking about it?


SUPERSTITIONS

As mentioned earlier, Erin and Philip Stead live fairly nearby and on Saturday my bookstore friend called them and asked if she could meet them to sign her store's copies of A SICK DAY FOR AMOS MCGEE. (I'm always amaazed at the ease with which other people can simply telephone or even meet famous authors and illustrators. I'd be way too shy (and way too in awe of their talent) to ever meet them. When my friend got back from Ann Arbor, I asked if she'd told Erin Stead that she wanted AMOS MCGEE to win the Caldecott. She said she hadn't. I said, "But you thought that book deserved the Caldecott since the first time you saw it! For months you've been saying it's your number one choice for the prize! Why in the world didn't you mention that?"

She said, "I didn't want to jinx the book's chances by saying anything."

Jinx?

I've never heard of anything so silly and superstious!

How could a few sentences uttered in Ann Arbor, Michigan affect the committee's deliberations all the way out in San Diego, California?

Besides the whole concept of jinxes and good luck charms and superstitions is positively medieval!

Some people need to wake-up and enter the twenty-first century.

I hope my friend dispels herself of such antiquated thinking -- and fast!

In the meantime, what 2011 books should I put in my bed next year at Newbery time? I know, I know it sounds crazy, but this thing really works!

15 comments:

Jess said...

Last year's news - but I went to a Mock Printz last year that had Tales of the Madman Underground on the list (and if I remember correctly, it ended up as one of our honor book). So it was getting some attention (at least from Oregon librarians)!

My coworkers were watching from the library and said they watched part of last year's webcast (realized their mistake when The Lion and the Mouse was announced).

And I'm curious to hear how many debut authors have won the Newbery & Caldecott - I'm sensing a post in the works!

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to change FREAK THE OBSERVER all day, but you've now given me the impetus.

Joanne Fritz said...

Peter, I'm probably the only one who would notice this, but her name is Joyce Sidman. Your post calls her "Dark Joyce Sidman." Ha! (Funny - combining part of her title with her name!)

Re: Do you think anyone will now try to seek out MOON OVER MANIFEST and instead get this 2008 children's book: (The Moon Over Star) -- I'm a bookseller and on Tuesday a customer asked me for "The Moon and Mars, you know, the one that just won the Newbery."

Philip Christian Stead said...

Hi Peter,
I'm proud to say that Erin just turned 28 about two weeks ago, December 27. So I think that makes her the youngest ever. Nicely done, Erin!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jess,

I didn't know MADMAN UNDERGROUND got any pre-award attention last year. Thanks for letting me know. I guess I'd better pay more attention to Mock Printz lists from Oregon! Thanks for visiting Collecting Children's Books!

Peter

Hi Anonymous,

I knew you'd fix it. I removed the (joking) comment from my blog as soon as you did. :)

Peter

Hi Joanne,

Thanks for correction. I fixed it! I wonder when someone will come into your store and ask for GOODNIGHT MOON OVER MANIFEST. Thanks for your note.

Peter

Hi Philip,

Thanks for the info. Yes, that definitely makes your wife the youngest Caldecott EVER! Congratulations to Erin on winning and to you for writing the book! I'm honored you stopped by my blog.

Peter

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend Gary Schmidt's OKAY FOR NOW for next year!! It will be released this Spring. I had a chance to read the ARC...amazing!

Sharon Creech said...

Fascinating!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

I second the "fascinating"s.

Not to push my own blog, but actually, my favorite post is this one from 2009, in which Erin first visited and AMOS McGEE was just a baby. My readers and I got to see her tools, see early sketches, etc.: http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1723. I knew then that the book screamed SPECIALNESS.

Nicole said...

This is awesome!! Thanks for the collection of random award stats that I will probably never need to know, but will nonetheless be reciting for customers and fellow booksellers in the weeks to come...
And I was not superstitious in the least about voicing my opinion that Amos McGee should win the Caldecott...however, I honestly didn't think that it had a shot. There were several previously decorated illustrators who put out books in 2010 (Muth, Wiesner, etc.) and I am so excited that Erin Stead was recognized this year!!!

Kristin McIlhagga said...

Thanks for sharing all of the fascinating facts. After talking with friends and family this week who tolerate all my award talk, it's lovely to read your post (and all of the other blogs) by people who are as interested and excited about it as I am. Love the photos of the books in your bed, while I often have a stack on the bedside table this has far more personality.
And YAY for Michigan authors!!!

Sondy at Sonderbooks said...

These are totally cool facts! As a former college math teacher, I love the part about superstition! What a lovely coincidence about the books in your bed! You definitely need to give it another try next year! :)

Anonymous said...

I was thrown for a minute when I saw the former webcast, but I figured it out just before the real one started!
I didn't think I was superstitious, but oh my gosh, I was promoting Crossing the Tracks for the Morris, whooping it up on facebook. Should I have kept my mouth shut (just joking).
Weird coincidence on those two covers. That was the first thing I thought. Then I realized how near they both are to me geographically, and that is just so cool! Both the settings as well as the authors.
Jeanne K. in Olathe, KS

Jana in Bama said...

I just finished "Okay for Now" also and agree that it deserves some special attention, It was a wonderful and gripping read!
Jana

Liz B said...

I read REVOLVER on the flight back from ALA. Writing, characterization, setting, all stellar. But the ending didn't sit well with me, and I'm curious if it's for the same reasons. My post is going up either the 20th or 21st -- haven't made up my mind yet.

Nina said...

Peter, I'm so glad we can always count on you for this sort of analysis!