Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reflecting on the Youth Media Awards

I was able to be in the room for the Youth Media Awards announcements for the first time a few days ago. Librarians started gathering around the venue at 6:45 a.m., and by 8:00 a.m., when the announcements began, the energy in the room was positively buzzing. Then, when the winners were announced? Pure excitement and joy.

I have to say that I am thrilled by the books that the 2013 committees recognized. Tons of outstanding non-fiction made the list, and the fact that there are so many honor books in many categories accurately reflect what I think was a year filled to the brim with wonderful books for youth. I am excited to be able to say that I have shared many of the Caldecott and Geisel winners and honorees with my outreach groups--and to their great enjoyment. The winners most definitely reflect what books children love.

The two biggest awards--the Newbery and the Caldecott, as I'm sure you know--went to two books that are, in my opinion, distinguished in every way: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen. My, do those books look wonderful with those shiny stickers on their covers! I am happy to have left Seattle knowing that these are now books that young readers will have access to for years and years to come. I, for one, will do everything in my power as a librarian to keep sharing the best books--both this year's YMA winner and others--with children.

**Thank you to all the ALA members who devoted so much of themselves to serving on the 2013 youth media awards committees. I encourage you to give yourselves a pat on the back for all your hard work--and don't forget to indulge in all the things you gave up last year so you could keep reading!

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