And the 2011 MOCK PRINTZ AWARDS go to....After school today I met with 20 high school students for the GKHS 2nd Annual Mock Printz Workshop. After two hours of a stimulating debate, the group selected the following as their award and honor books:
Mock Printz Award Winner:
After much spirited discussion, this wonderful novel emerged as a group favorite for several reasons--most of the students admired Sachar's writing and how it got us interested in bridge, a game we had no interest in before we read the book; they felt that the main character, Alton, showed growth as a character; and they enjoyed the original whale symbol that indicates it is OK to skip some of the more detailed information about bridge without missing out on the story.
Mock Honor Books
After our first ballot Finnikin and Cardturner were tied. Several students spoke passionately of how much they like the originality of this imaginative fantasy novel. Others felt that the novel got off to such a slow start that it shouldn't be our top book. Either way they all agreed it was our top Honor book and certainly worthy of praise.
The talk about this book centered around how this book informed us about animal rights/experimentation and how much we cared about the main characters, especially Zan, as the story progressed.
Growth and development of characters, wonderful writing, and plenty of literary allusions. Some kids chuckled when they learned that the story is loosely based on Don Quixote, a book few teenagers have read but all have heard about.
#4 (Tie) Nothing by Janne Teller
Several students chafed at our inclusion of this disturbing story on our list but many others felt that the writing was so good especially how Teller evoked such strong emotions in us, even if the emotion was revulsion.
Three other books received a lot of attention but ultimately didn't rise to the top:
a. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson- students REALLY liked this book but felt it wouldn't be selected because it is predominantly a "girl" book.
b. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi- students liked this book and were impressed that this was the National Book Award winner but weren't as impressed with the symbolism within the story as I was.
c. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher-came to our attention late so only three kids had a chance to read it but one gal, Rebecca, is convinced that this book will be the winner. She says she's never read a better, more exciting book.
Now we wait.
The actual Printz Award will be announced Monday, January 10th. Stay tuned.