"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Youth Media Awards will be announced this coming Monday, how do I think the BSD Mock Printz list will fare?

We selected a laughably long reading list of books this year for the Bethel School District 2016 Mock Printz Workshop. Some of these books are likely to show up on the actual Youth Media Awards lists and others, well, we enjoyed reading but are very likely to remain awardless. Here is how I THINK the books will fare. HOPE is factored in.

1. Challenger Deep 
by Neal Shusterman
Theme: Mental Illness.
This book won the National Book Award last year. I think it is likely this book will win at least a Printz Honor, if not the winner. The approach of looking at mental illness from the inside out is very unique and disturbing. This is one of my favorite YA books of the year.

2. Alex Crow 
by Andrew Smith
Genre: Defies Categorization.
Andrew Smith won a Printz Honor last year for Grasshopper Jungle which was also very weird and defied categorization. I think the RealCommittee will pass over this one. This book should win the prize for creativity, though.

3. Cuckoo Song 
by Frances Hardinge
Genres: Horror and Fantasy
A changeling story which is completely unique, and frankly quite frightening. I think this one will be in the running for a Printz Honor, if not the top prize.

4. Truth Commission 
by Susan Juby
Theme: Dysfunctional Family; written in the narrative nonfiction style.
As much as I liked this book, especially because of the funny footnotes, I honestly don't think it has a chance to win a spot on the podium.

5. All the Bright Places
by Jennifer Nevin
Themes: Friendship, Mental Health and Depression.
This book was a favorite at the beginning of the year but as it settled its flaws started to show themselves. The biggest flaw, and I am not alone in my estimation on this point, is how poorly and inaccurately the mental health issues were handled. 

6. The Game of Love and Death
by Martha Brockenbrough
Genre: Paranormal and historical
Students are big fans of this book and it will likely get a lot of attention at the Mock Printz discussion on Monday. I think it tries to bite off more than it can chew, however, and some aspects of the book just don't work for me. 

7. Nimona
by Noelle Stevenson
Type: Graphic novel
Everyone who has read this book on my team LOVES it. I think the book would have a real chance for Printz consideration if it was any year but this year. That is because a graphic novel won an honor last year, This One Summer and it was so, so good and the illustrations really added to the story. Nimona doesn't meet that high standard.

8. Shadowshaper
by Daniel Perez Older
Genre: Urban Fantasy
I wasn't a huge fan of this book, not a favorite genre of mine. But it is getting a lot of national attention, so it may be given an honor this year. It may also end up with an honor for the Pura Belpre award, given out to books by Latino authors.

9. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
by Becky Albertalli
Theme: Friendship and LGBTQ
I love this book and so do my students. It has been named as a finalist for the Morris Award for debut authors. That alone doesn't mean it won't get a Printz award but I think there are stronger books ahead of it. I hope it will win the Morris Award, though.

10. Audacity
by Melanie Crowder
Genre: Historical fiction, written in verse
I am a fan of this book and would love for it to get an award this year. The poetry is very good, too. I will be surprised, however, if it does get a Printz honor just because I seem to be alone in my estimations of its virtues.

11. Bone Gap
by Laura Ruby
Theme: Mythology
The readers of Someday My Printz Will Come voted this book as the Pyrite winner this year, or the YA book we they thought should win the Printz this year. It has a lot to like, especially if the reader is familiar with the Greek Mythology about Persephone. I wasn't, but liked the book better after I went back and read the myth. It is a very clever book and I hope it gets a prize this year.

12. Ghosts of Heaven 
by Marcus Sedgwick
Technique: Interconnect short stories.
Segwick's book, Midwinterblood, was also made up of interconnected short stories and it was the Printz winner a few years ago. I think for that reason alone the RealCommittee will leave it off the prize list.

13. I am Princess X
by Cherie Priest
Genre: Mystery, part graphic novel.
We love this book because it is set in Seattle but to be honest that is why we put it on the list, not because we thought it was a serious contender.

14. Mosquitoland 
by David Arnold
Theme: Mental Illness and Self Acceptance
I listened to the audio version of this book and really liked it but there are flaws which I think will prevent the real committee from selecting it, most especially the inaccurate and stereotyping of Native American culture and practices. It is a pity because as I said before, I really like it.

15. The Tightrope Walkers 
by David Almond
Theme: Coming-of-age
To be honest this book has a shot at a Printz because Almond is a spectacular writer but I hope it doesn't win. Why? I honestly think this book was written for adults not young adults. I think the publisher here in America assumed it was YA because the story begins when the main characters are young. Pity.

16. The Wrath and the Dawn 
by Renee Ahdieh
Retelling: 1,001 Arabian Nights
We made a conscious decision to include books on our list which we thought our students would really like even if they weren't likely contenders. This is one of those books. It is also the first book in a series which we hope will encourage the students to read on when the next book in the series is published.

17. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B
by Teresa Toten
Theme: Mental Illness and treatment
I am hoping this book will be the outlier this year and gets a prize even though no (but me) is predicting it will receive one. This book does accurately describe the struggles of having OCD and how therapy can and does help. It is also a great favorite of my readers. This book also qualifies for the Schneider Family Book Award given to books which have a positive view of people living with disabilities.

18. I Crawl Through It 
by A.S. King
Style: Surrealism
The unique style of this book, surrealism, may at least be enough to get it to the table for discussion by the RealCommittee. It is indeed a strange book but I like it and think it has an outside shot at an honor.

19. Scorpion Rules 
by Erin Bow
Genre: Science Fiction
Last year the author Ursula LeGuin lambasted the literary award world for overlooking fantasy and science fiction books when awards are handed out each year. If anyone was listening to LeGuin and is now serving on the Real Printz committee, this book is certainly worthy of consideration.

20. Drowned City
by Don Brown
Type: Graphic History of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina
Super well done with the illustrations adding to our understanding the tragedy. It deserves recognition but I don't think it will win a Printz honor this year.

 WOW, That was a long reading list!
In summary, I think these books have a real shot at winning a Printz Award or Honor this year:
Challenger Deep
Bone Gap
Cuckoo Song

These books are outliers but may surprise us with prizes:
I Crawl Through It
Scorpion Rules
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B

These books may win other awards which are also announced on Monday:
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Morris Award)
Shadowshaper (Pura Belpre Award)
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13-B (Schneider Family Book Award)
Drowned City (Caldecortt)
Cuckoo Song (Newbery)

There are other books, which we didn't add to the Mock Printz list for a variety of reasons, that have a real chance of winning this year, two of them are nonfiction:
Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege on Leningrad by MT Anderson
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

We don't have long to wait. The Printz Award will be announced on Monday. We'll see how we did at that time.
What was your favorite YA book published in 2015? 


  1. boy you guys read a lot of books for the Mock Awards this year! I hope your predictions come true. I am sorry to say I haven't read any of those books yet! Yikes!

  2. Yes, we added WAY TOO MANY books on our list this year. Kids are asked to read at least six but then our discussions are stunted because not enough kids have read each book to properly discuss. I swear next year I won't do the same thing, but I always do.


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