The Best Part is that the Title Can Be Sung to “The Monster Mash”

Yes!  This morning Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American children’s literature. 


 That small handful of readers who follow this blog may note that I have stated on more than one occasion that it was my favorite children’s book of 2008, so it’s a rather pleasant surprise to see it win the big award.  Woop!*  I went to the King’s English bookshop this morning to pick up a copy for myself, but they were all out.  However, half of the reason I went there was to be able to gush about it with the booksellers — people who were just as excited about it as I was — so it was worth the trip.

The Honor books also included some familiar faces from my previous posts: Kathi Appelt’s The Underneath, Jacqueline Woodson’s After Tupac and D Foster (what, is that her THIRD Newbery Honor?  Sheesh), Ingrid Law’s Savvy (a book which I read and enjoyed, but which I did not consider a serious Newbery contender.  More fool I, I suppose), and Margarita Engle’s The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom (otherwise known as the token book I’ve never heard of).


The Randolph Caldecott Medal for best illustration in a children’s book went to Beth Krommes for her gorgeous work in Beth Marie Swanson’s The House in the Night.  I never got around to posting my list of favorite picture books, but can you all take it in good faith that this book is on it?  Check out the pretty lil’ thing:


Caldecott Honors went to Marla Frazee’s A Couple of Boys Have The Best Week Ever! (and let me just say it’s ABOUT TIME Frazee earned some kind of shiny sticker), Uri Schulevitz’ How I Learned Geography (it’s on my unposted list of favorite non-fiction titles, okay?) and Melissa Sweet for her illustrations in Jen Bryant’s A River of Words: the Story of William Carlos Williams (also known as the book I’ve been waiting MONTHS for the library to FINISH PROCESSING and get ON the DARN SHELVES).


The Michael L. Printz award for best Young Adult literature went to Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road, which I’ve heard about but haven’t yet read.  It’s an Australian import that sounds kinda quirky but really good.  I’ve been meaning to read it for weeks, but now I REALLY need to get around to it, I guess.


Printz Honors included M.T. Anderson’s second Octavian Nothing book (such a gimme, I think everybody predicted this), E. Lockheart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (it’s a crowdpleaser), Terry Pratchett’s Nation (on my favorite books list as being the “story most likely to be told by a pirate”) and Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels (also on my favorites list for being one of the best novelizations of a folktale of the year).

Speaking of novelizations of folklore, the William C. Morris award for best first-time YA novel went to Elizabeth C. Bunce’s A Curse Dark as Gold, which was also on my favorites list.  And if Ms. Bunce reads this as she did that last post, may I just say congratulations!  The Morris committee done chose right!

There were also a bevvy of other awards for best African American works, best nonfiction, best video, etc.  But I think I’m done posting for now.  Huzzah, it’s been one heckuva day, and I am pleased.

*Although, really — did Neil Gaiman need another big award?  And just how crazy will the June ALA conference — in which Gaiman will give his acceptance speech — be?  Crazy-go-nuts kinda crazy, that’s what.

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