For the past few days, I've been Newberied-out and Printzed-off.
It's not that I'm unhappy with the award selections -- quite the contrary. I was as excited as everyone else to see a few surprises among the winning titles. It's just that, after all the excitement and frenzy of the the past couple weeks, I needed to "step away from the book." I deliberately opted to put MOON OVER MANIFEST on hold and instead spent my time watching THE BIGGEST LOSER and TOP CHEF ALL STARS on TV, reading several books from a different genre (three old plays: THE JOYOUS SEASON by Philip Barry, JASON by Samson Raphaelson, and KNICKERBOCKER HOLIDAY by Maxwell Anderson), sorting through some paperwork, and taking a nap.
But now the latest Newbery winner is starting to call my name and I am ready to read it.
In other words: I'm back!
Today's blog corrects an error I made in last week's blog, looks at some new book covers, and -- what else? -- starts the predictions for next year's awards!
I MADE A MISTAKE -- OR, MORE GOOD NEWS FOR ERIN STEAD
Last week I wrote the following:
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.
However, in doing a little more research, I discovered that BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS was not Nicolas Sidjanov's first book. Three years before BABOUSHKA, he illustrated THE FRIENDLY BEASTS by Laura Nelson Baker.
This means that not only is Erin Stead the youngest Caldecott winner ever (she just turned 28) but she's also the ONLY artist to win for illustrating her very first book!
Every other previous winner had illustrated other books before winning the award -- and that includes Lynd Ward, who illustrated a number of adult books before winning the 1953 Caldecott for his picture book debut THE BIGGEST BEAR, and David Diaz, who had illustrated a book of children's poetry by Gary Soto before winning the 1995 Caldecott for his first picture book, Eve Bunting's SMOKY NIGHT.
CLARE VANDERPOOL ALSO JOINS SMALL POOL
While not the only author to win the Newbery for her first effort, Clare Vanderpool joins a very small group of authors who have achieved this feat.
If my research is correct, the following are the only authors who won the Newbery for their debut books:
Arthur Bowie Chrisman / SHEN OF THE SEA / 1926
Eric P. Kelly / THE TRUMPETER OF KRAKOW / 1929
Laura Adams Armer / WATERLESS MOUNTAIN / 1932
Eliabeth Lewis / YOUNG FU OF THE UPPER YANGTZE / 1933
Emily Cheney Neville / IT'S LIKE THIS, CAT / 1964
There are a handful more who won for their first juvenile novel, though they had written in other genres before that:
Charles J. Finger / TALES FROM SILVER LANDS / 1926 / had written a number of works for adults
Walter Edmonds / THE MATCHLOCK GUN / 1942 / his previous novels for adults included the classic DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK
Esther Forbes / JOHNNY TREMAIN / 1944 / had won the Pulitzer Prize for her adult biography of Paul Revere
Joseph Krumgold / ...AND NOW MIGUEL / 1954 / had published an adult mystery novel
Scott O'Dell / ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS / 1961 / published several adult works many decades earlier
Maia Wojciechowska / SHADOW OF A BULL / 1965 / had previously published a book on hairstyling, as well as a picture book
Joan Blos / A GATHERING OF DAYS / 1980 / had written a couple picture books with Betty Miles, but this was her first novel
Cynthia Kadohata / KIRA-KIRA / 2005 / had previously written adult novels
WHAT ARE CLARE VANDERPOOL'S FAVORITE BOOKS?
As the most recent Newbery winner, we'll be learning much more about Clare Vanderpool in the months and years ahead. One bit of info I found on the author’s website is this list of her favorite books. I always think we can tell a lot about a person by the books they love. Here are hers:
A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle
ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS by Scott O'Dell
CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by Lucy Maude Montgomery
HALF MAGIC by Edward Eager
THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE by C.S. Lewis
A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO and A YEAR DOWN YONDER by Richard Peck
TREASURE ISLAND and KIDNAPPED by Robert Louis Stevenson
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL by Baroness Orczy
Little House Books (especially ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK) by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hmm...three of those books are Newbery winners; perhaps it's fate that Ms. Vanderpool has joined their ranks.
But you know what really intrigues me? Her singling out ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK among Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.
Why that particular title?
If someone asked my favorite Wilder title, I'd probably choose the epic LONG WINTER. And of course LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS and THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS have a special place, as they begin and end and the series.
But PLUM CREEK (and BY THE SHORES OF SILVER LAKE) are smooshed into the middle of the pack and never seem to stand out as individual titles.
You know how there's always one of the Seven Dwarfs you forget? Well, I'm in the same way with the eight Wilder books. "Let's see there's LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE LONG WINTER, LITTLE TOWN ON THE PRAIRIE, THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS...er...um...oh, FARMER BOY...and..and...[thirty seconds pass]...oh, I know: BY THE SHORES OF SILVER LAKE and ON THE BANKS OF PLUM CREEK!"
(The dwarf I always forget is Doc.)
THE SAME GIRL, BUT OLDER?
Someone nice just gave me an advance reading copy of Judy Blundell's forthcoming young adult novel, STRINGS ATTACHED.
I was a big fan of the author's WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED. I think a lot of people were surprised when that title won the National Book Award a couple years back, but I thought it was quite good: thought-provoking, unpretentious, and hard to put down. Here's the cover:
Don't both books look an awful lot alike? I know publishers like for the books in a series to have a "uniform" look, but WHAT I SAW and STRINGS ATTACHED are not part of a series; the stories are completely unrelated. In fact, if I saw the name "Judy Blundell" and glanced at the cover of the new book, I might think I was looking at the older title and not even pick it up.
Secondly, do you think it's the same model on both covers? In the most recent book she'd be two or three years older. If it's the same girl, it again robs these titles of individuality. (And if it's not the same girl, they sure look alike!)
Speaking of uniform designs. The first book had something I've never seen in another YA book -- a photo (slightly variant from the dustjacket) was used as a frontispiece:
The new book employs a similar device:
Like it? Hate it? It's definitely something different.
PAULA FOX, PAULA FOX, PAULA FOX, PAULA FOX
Is something going on with Paula Fox?
I like to check the "keyword activity" statistics on my blog to see what brings people here. In addition to the nearly-daily search for "the book about soda pop coming out of faucets" (MR. PUDGINS), people come here looking for an amazing array of titles and authors. But what I've noticed for the past week or so is that I'm getting DOZENS of searches for information on Paula Fox every single day. I don't recall getting many searches for her in the past at all, yet every time I check my stats these days I see "Paula Fox," "Paula Fox," "Paula Fox," as a search term. Many of these requests are coming from Switzerland, the Netherlands, and other European countries. Are they running a movie based on one of her book on European TV? Or is there some kind of resurgence of her literary works going on right now?
Speaking of Ms. Fox, is anyone a REALLY big fan of her Newbery-winning novel THE SLAVE DANCER? Does anyone really LOVE it? I know the critics swooned over it when the book was published and I know that many readers respect and admire it, but it left me cold as a kid and I don't think I've still warmed up to it nearly forty years later. I think I'd probably appreciate it better today -- the author is a fine stylist -- but there is a big difference in APPRECIATING a book and LOVING a book.
Do you love this book, or merely appreciate it?
How did kids today feel about this novel?
Is it better to be appreciated or loved?
NOTABLE CHILDREN'S BOOKS
The ALA's Association for Library Services to Children has issued their list of 2011 Notable Children's Books.
It seems like I've seen the notation "An ALA Notable Children's Book" on the covers of paperbacks all my life, but it's never meant a lot to me.
However, I was intrigued to read this comment on the Horn Book blog by children's book expert K.T. Horning:
In days of yore, Notable Children's Books was a subcommittee of Newbery/Caldecott, meant to highlight books that didn't make the final cut as an award or honor, but that had been strong contenders and were worth noting. So there is a historic connection between ALSC awards and Notables.
But in the 21st century, there are so many awards I think ALSC could probably do away with Notables all together and simply compile the list of all the winners, including the CSK, American Indian, Asian/Pacific,and Stonewall and call it "ALA Notable Children's Books of the Year."
Now that's intriguing! You mean that all those old "ALA Notable Children's Books" I read had been strong contenders for the Newbery?
That makes me want to get a hold of all the old Notables lists and study them!
You always wonder what other books had a shot at the awards each year....
Maybe these lists will tell us.
BOOKS FOR THE THREE-DAY WEEKEND
Do you get tomorrow off work? My library is closed. But I'll probably spend most of the day at home working on an overdue chapter for the book I'm writing with Julie Danielson of Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast and Betsy Bird from Fuse #8 fame. However, if your library is open, you might want to check out some of the many children's books that have been published about this holiday.
Have there ever been so many books with the exact same title?
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Sheri Dean / Gareth Stevens / 2010
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Helen Frost / Capstone / 2000
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Margaret Hall / Rourke / 2010
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Lynn Hamilton / Weigl / 2010
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Linda Lowry / Carolrhoda / 2003
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Margaret McNamara / Simon / 2007
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Dianne MacMillan / Enslow / 2008
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / David F. Marx / Children's Press / 2001
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Reagan Miller / Crabtree / 2009
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Julie Murray / Buddy Books / 2005
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Robin Nelson / Lerner / 2002
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Dana Meachan Rau / Children's Press / 2000
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Rebecca Rissman / Heinemann Raintree / 2010
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Trudi Strain Trueit / Children's Press / 2006
In case you can't remember those titles, you might also try:
CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY WITH MRS. PARK'S CLASS / Alma Flor Ada / Alfaguara Infantil / 2006
CELEBRATING MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY / Joel Kupperstein / Creative Teaching / 1999
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. / Jean Marzollo / Scholastic / 2006
LET'S GET READY FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY / Lloyd G. Douglas / Children's Press / 2003
MAX CELEBRATES MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY / Adria Worsham / Picture Book Windows / 2008
WHAT IS MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY? / Margaret Friskey / Children's Press 1990
I was recently in a bookstore that was selling wobble-headed figurines, some of which had characters that originated in children's books.
There was the Wimpy Kid:
A Wild Thing:
And the "author" who usurped the Newbery spot on this week's TODAY SHOW -- Snooki!
2012 IS ONLY A YEAR AWAY
Now that 2011's award frenzy is over...
...Let's start the 2012 frenzy!
What books already sound Newberyific and Caldecottable to you?
Several people -- including a few blog readers have said that Gary D. Schmidt's forthcoming OKAY FOR NOW is the one to beat:
I'm also hearing good things about SMALL THINGS WITH WINGS by Ellen Boorman. When I first heard the title I got the dry heaves, thinking it was another of those sensitive books about an ethereal and lonely girl who, either literally or figuratively, grows a pair of wings. You've seen those books. I know you have.
But apparently it's a snarky comedy about girl whose home is overrun by fairies.
There have been two covers so far. Here's the arc:
And here's the eventual hardcover:
Which do you think is better?
(Neither. I prefer OKAY FOR NOW.)
Thanks for visiting Collecting Children's Books. Hope you'll be back.