Thursday, November 20, 2008

National Book Awards

The National Book Awards were announced yesterday!

The National Book Awards were first given in 1950, with a Children's Literature category added in 1969. In the 80s, the number of categories proliferated (Children's Fiction, Hardcover; Children's Non-Fiction; Children's Picture Books, Paperback; etc.) until 1983 when, in order to preserve the impact of the awards, the categories were reduced to only 3, with no category for youth literature.

In 1996, however, a Young People's Literature category was reinstated! This is cool because the NBAs are very highly regarded. It's great to have youth literature recognized at this level again. The NBA in this category is mostly, but not always, awarded to books for older readers...kind of in the upper-Newbery-to-Printz range. There's a fair amount of overlap between all three awards.

A short list is selected each year, from which the finalist is chosen. This year's short list was:

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now

And the winner is...Judy Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied!

The Young People’s Literature judges this year were:
Daniel Handler (Mr. Lemony Snicket to you),
Holly Black (1/2 of the Spiderwick team),
Angela Johnson (tons of awards),
Carolyn Mackler (of the esteemed The Earth, My Butt, and Other Round Things), and Cynthia Voigt (a Grand Dame of children's and YA literature).

Who's read any of these yet? Let us know what you think!

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