Ah, January 2010. New year, new decade—and the last chance to lay odds on which books from 2009 will be slapped with the gold and silver seals that come with the annual awarding of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, the Printz Award, and all the other prestigious prizes handed out by the ALA's ASLC and YALSA divisions next Monday.
A tour of various book- and librarian-centric Web sites, blogs and listservs turns up countless confident souls eager to champion their favorite titles via early predictions (and perhaps mind-meld with the voting committees).
Librarians have been steadily posting results of mock Newbery discussions/events on the ALSC listserv. Consensus there appears to give the nod to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead as the winner, with a variety of honors going to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice and All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg. Calpurnia Tate and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon received a couple of first-place votes, too. Multnomah County Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Chicago Public Library, the public library of Eastern Shore, Md., and the Bank Street College of Education are among those sharing their results on this list.
Also on the Newbery front, California librarians and former Newbery committee members Nina Lindsay and Jonathan Hunt of Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog, offered their take on winners and honor books as chosen by 25 people who joined in two lively discussion sessions at the Oakland Public Library. Hunt’s group selected Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as the winner, and eliminated one of his personal faves—The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman—early on. Conversely, Lindsay's group had first-place votes that “were all over the place” initially, but eventually shook out for WhenYou Reach Me as the winner, with The Dunderheads as an Honor Hook.
When it comes to picturing a Caldecott winner, it’s hard to tune out the very loud buzz that’s been accompanying any mention of Jerry Pinkney’s rendition of The Lion & the Mouse. Librarian Elizabeth Bird, author of the blog A Fuse #8 Production has served up her annual “predict-o-rama” post about the awards and, like many others, she’s hoping that five-time Caldecott honoree Pinkney finally gets his due. She notes that typically the awards are influenced by the times we live in and that in the era of Barack Obama, Pinkney may well become the first African-American winner since 1977, when Leo Dillon won the award with his wife and illustrating partner Diane.
Looking at the teen scene, Marcelo in the Real World and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson are racking up either wins or honors on a number of blogs, including My Head Is Full of Books and the youth services corner blog.
Over at BookEnvy, blogger librarian HydroJen revealed her library’s choice of The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey for the Printz, and Allen County Public Library named When You Reach Me as its Printz winner (the book was ACPL’s Newbery winner, too).
A few bloggers, such as NYC teacher Monica Edinger, don’t go so far as to single out a winner, but, rather, praise a short list of their favorite Newbery or Caldecott contenders.
So, based on our virtual tour, here are some of the blogosphere's predictions for the 2010 winners.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Random/Wendy Lamb)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown)
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (FSG/Kroupa)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Henry Holt)
Other potential honors:
Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking)
Written in Bone by Sally Walker (Carolrhoda)
Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin (S&S)
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff (HarperCollins)
The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (HarperCollins/Bowen)
Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry (Random House)
The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick)
The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman (Candlewick)
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (Little, Brown)
Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca (S&S/Atheneum)
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld (Chronicle)
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Marla Frazee (S&S/Beach Lane)
Other potential honors:
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick)
Otis by Loren Long (Philomel)
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Thomas Gozalez (Peachtree)
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (Scholastic/Levine)
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Dutton)
Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Delacorte)
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman (Henry Holt)
Other Potential Honors:
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Scholastic/Levine)
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor (Scholastic/Levine)
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost (FSG)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (Dial)
The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (S&S)
Liar by Justine Larbalestier (Bloomsbury)
All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg (Scholastic)
For a closer look at some of these discussions, here are some additional links.
Other chatter—no true predictions:
And for those who won’t be in Boston for ALA’s midwinter meeting but want to see the awards live, watch the webcast starting at 7:45 AM on Monday, January 18; go to alawebcast.unikron.com.
May the best books win!