Monday, January 26, 2009

And these are my reviews of....

Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen was recognized with a Schneider Family Book Award in the teen category. I couldn't think of a better book that fits this unique award's qualifications.

Before John Was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Recognized as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for Illustration. I just love, love, love this book!!! The writing. The illustrations. It's oh-so-magical for me.

Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Recognized as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for Writing. Hope Anita Smith's poems are powerfully authentic as they examine the ins and outs, ups and downs of family life. So I was pleased to see this one honored.

Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Recognized as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book for Writing. I thought this one was wonderful--so beautiful, so powerful.

Laurie Halse Anderson won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement. I was THRILLED to see her win. I've rad most of her YA books. And I've reviewed a few too. Chains. Speak. Twisted. Fever, 1793. I've read Catalyst and her one about the prom. But those were pre-blogging days.

The Printz...
Octavian Nothing volume 2 by M.T. Anderson. Honor Book. Good novel, maybe not my favorite, favorite of the year. But a nice long book.
Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. E. Lockhart. Honor Book. I know some people just love this one. I don't love it. I don't out and out hate it. I don't feel that strongly about it. But I just didn't connect with this one.
Jellicoe Road. Melina Marchetta. The winner. I just LOVE AND ADORE this book. It is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite books. So complex, so beautiful, so haunting, so powerful. Lots of substance.

The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle. Honor Book. Pura Belpre Awards. And Newbery Honor too. The Surrender Tree is well-written, powerful, and bold.

What To Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley. is a Sibert Honor Book. I enjoyed it very much.


The Winner: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I wasn't particularly surprised that Gaiman won this one. It's been getting so much buzz and mock-love. I knew it would get an honor at least--or at least I hoped so--so I was pleased overall with the choice this year. And I think this is a book with appeal. I don't think this is one that will make readers run the other way.

Honor Books:
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. My review. My interview in two parts: day 1, day 2
I love this book. I do. And I'm happy it got an Honor. I would have loved to see it win the medal, but, I think the Graveyard Book might have more widespead appeal. Maybe? I don't know. I love The Underneath. And for it to be the author's first novel (not first book...mind you...she's done some poetry, some nonfiction, some short stories, some picture books) I think it is an amazing book.

Savvy. Ingrid Law. This was a delightful book. Funny, too. I'm glad to see it on the list.

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson. This is one of those strange books that is both about nothing and about everything.

My only regret really is that Shooting the Moon didn't make it on the list. Really. It is one of the BEST BEST BEST books. And it should have been on the Newbery list somewhere--winner, honor, whatever.

How I Learned About Geography by Uri Shulevitz. A nice picture book. But not one that screams out Caldecott Honor. Then again, the books that I feel just are the most wonderful, beautiful, oh-so-magical, incredibly amazingly illustrated picture books never win the Caldecotts or get honors. I'm used to not "getting" this award.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Staci said...

Love this list. I've read some and there are plenty listed that I still must get to!!

Ms. Yingling said...

I'm going to have to read The Underenath. It just sounds like a book written ostensibly for children that only adults like. Hmmm. Pretty happy with The Graveyard Book; would have been happier with Unwind, but that's mainly a teacher fantasy!

Sandra said...

May I ask what "mock-love" is? I've never heard this term before.

Becky said...

Sandra, I think I just invented it. Around the country some libraries have mock-Newbery awards where they read a handful of books and pick their favorites...what book they'd pick if they were choosing the I just meant the book had appeared on several mock-Newbery lists.