Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS: YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE


This year doesn’t bring the big-ticket names of recent years (Laurie Halse Anderson, M.T. Anderson) or the buzz of a breakout novelist (Sherman Alexie) or that blockbuster book every teen wants to read (E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks). However, this year’s nominees for Young People’s Literature harkens back to the 2004 awards. Like those of five years ago, this list contains very thoughtfully crafted books that from the outside seem quiet (see Luna J.A. Peters, Godless P. Hautman).

This year’s nominations are very personal books from the exquisitely fashioned relationship in Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith to Hoose’s account of the teen who first defied bus segregation in Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, this year's winner.

Only one of this bunch could be lapelled anything close to a boys book -- David Small’s work done in graphic novel style -- Stitches, a harrowing childhood memoir.

All of these books are deserving of the recognition, and despite it being labeled a ‘down year’ for teen literature, I look forward to seeing how these books will be remembered in 5 years and beyond.

UP NEXTMy Christmas list, top books of 2009 for the naughty and nice boys on your Christmas List.

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