In February we are posting interviews with each of the 2012 Candidates for YALSA Award Committees. This week we are focusing on Michael L. Printz Award Committee. ‘ Each day this week we’ll post an interview with one of the candidates for that committee. We are posting alphabetically by candidate’s last names.

The YALSA Nominating Committee for 2012 has been working hard to select candidates for this year’s election.’  The Printz Committee is charged with selecting from the previous year’s publications the best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit) and, if the Committee so decides, as many as four Honor Books. The Committee will also have the opportunity for input into the oversight and planning of the Printz Awards Program. Committee size: 9, four to be elected, plus a consultant from the staff of Booklist, and an administrative assistant if requested.

This is your chance to get to know this year’s candidates that have been nominated to serve on the Printz Award Committee.’  Polls are open from March 19 to April 27.

Today we have an interview with Emily Dagg. Read More →

Join YALSA with LIVE streaming video of all the YMA announcement, presented jointly by the YALSA Blog and The Hub. Along with the video, we’ll also be offering quick polls and pulling Twitter hashtags like #printz and #alexawards. You can log in to the live session with your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or OpenID username (which will include your avatar), or just jump right in.

YALSA Blog manager mk Eagle (username pandanose) will be offering transcriptions of all the announcements, with live video from The Hub blogger Jessica Pryde. Coverage begins at 7:30 central on Monday, January 23.

This fall, YALSA will be making appointments to the following selection committees and taskforces! Put your passion for young adult literature to work! If you have experience in evaluating and selecting young adult materials, as well as time to volunteer your skills, please consider serving on a YALSA selection committee. The committees and taskforces are:

  • Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults
  • Fabulous Films for Young Adults
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults
  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
  • Great Graphic Novels for Teens
  • Alex Award
  • Morris Award
  • Odyssey Award
  • 2013 Midwinter Marketing & Local Arrangements Taskforce
  • 2013 Midwinter Paper Presentation Planning Taskforce
  • Readers’ Choice List Taskforce Read More →

As the Printz Award is now 12-years-old, it is the perfect time to showcase the book jackets of the winners on a calendar. The calendar will debut at Annual for the cost of $15. Members of the Financial Advancement Committee will be selling the calendars at Saturday morning’s Strategic Planning Session from 10am to noon and again that same day outside the entrance to the Edwards luncheon. Sunday you can purchase a Printz calendar at YALSA’s Membership booth from 2 to 5pm and, if you miss those opportunities, it will also be sold on Monday from 10 to 11am at the Membership Booth, then later at the Membership meeting, and that evening at the Printz Awards (if copies are still available). Read More →

When I was elected to the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award Committee, I was excited and nervous.’  I was excited to have such a great opportunity, to help recognize the book that made the highest contribution to young adult literature.’  But I was nervous because wow, that’s a big responsibility, picking the best book of the year!

At least, I told myself, I had served on another selection committee in the past and had some familarity with the process: with the YALSA nomination forms, with how the workflow would go, things like that.’  Yet even with that knowledge, I’ve been surprised at what serving on the Printz Committee is actually like.’  So here are some things to know if you’ve ever considered standing for election to the Printz Committee.
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It was just last week when Libba Bray accepted the Printz Award and spoke alongside honor book authors John Barnes, Deborah Heiligman, Adam Rapp and Rick Yancey at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

If you want to relive their speeches or if you weren’t able to make it, click through the jump to see video of all of the winning authors. Thanks to Daniel Krauss of Booklist for creating the videos!

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I like weird books.

Books like Punkzilla by Adam Rapp,
The White Darkness by Geraldine Mccaughrean, and
Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

These books have something more than their weirdness in common. They’ve all been recognized by the Printz Committee in some way.

I think this is because the committee members know something that everyone needs to know: weird books are good.

Punkzilla is a stream-of-consciousness narrative about a boy who travels across the country to be with his dying brother. It’s full of weird characters and scenes that leave your brain feeling muddy and full of fuzz. But it’s also a book about humanity and connection. Zilla says things that make you want to cry they’re so beautiful because everything else is so confusing that only the really true things make sense.

The White Darkness is about a girl following her (possibly insane) uncle to Antarctica on a mission to find a world that may or may not exist. It’s also about that same girl finding her own voice and her own sight, something that she was unable to do in her everyday life. It took a journey into nothingness, a place where her mind was stretched to the limits, for her to discover herself. And the reader gets to go there with her.

Going Bovine, the winner of the most recent Printz Award, is about a kid named Cameron who gets Mad Cow Disease and sets off on a cross country rode trip to save the world accompanied by a dwarf, a lawn gnome who may or may not be a Norse god, and a punk rock guardian angel addicted to sugar. But it’s also about a new interpretation of what reality is, and what it means to each of us individually. The most commonly accepted reality is not the only one that exists, nor is it the most important. Cameron’s hallucinations were as real to him as any of his other experiences were. Going Bovine takes you inside the mind of a sick kid, and when you come out the other side it leaves you thinking that maybe it’s okay that none of it was “real” because it was real for Cameron, and sometimes that’s enough.

The weird books can take you places that you’ve never been before, and sometimes they take you places that you never really wanted to go. But by the time the journey is over, they leave you with something new and something important. The best part is that you might not even know what it is right away. You might have to sit with your own thoughts for a while, which is one of the best things a book can do.

While I think there is a place for fluffy romance and adventure stories in every reader’s life, the weird books need to be there too because they dare you to make sense of the ludicrous and then make it impossible to leave empty-handed.

I love the Printz Awards for seeing what I see in weird books and I love them even more for pointing those books out to the people who can do the most with them-the librarians. Librarians are in the business of opening minds and I think the weird books are a vital tool of the trade. I’m so excited to know that at least the librarians are drawing people’s attention to more than just Twilight and Gossip Girl. I guess I wrote this blog post to tell them that I really appreciate what they’re doing and that I hope they aren’t planning on stopping anytime soon.

So librarians, thanks for the weird ones. I’m not sure I would have found them without you.

Join us for the 2010 Youth Media Awards! Because ALA is already streaming the Awards we won’t be providing video, but we will follow all the announcements and pull discussion from Twitter. Tweets including the hashtags #Printz, #Alex, #MAE and #yma10 will be included in the live session.

As with the BBYA Teen Session live blog, you can join the live session from the blog. You have the option of signing in with your Twitter, Facebook or MySpace ID, which will also display your avatar. Comments and discussion are always welcome! After the Awards are over the live blog replay will continue to be available on the blog.

Remember that “I’m a bad YA librarian because” meme?’  Here’s mine:’  I’m a bad YA librarian because I don’t have a pick for the 2009 Printz.

Not because there are just too many candidates and I can’t decide, but because I just didn’t spend 2008 reading literary YA books.’  I read a lot of street lit.’  I read all the titles nominated for my two Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults subcommittees.’  I read a few titles that were getting the attention of librarians and teens, and I read the titles I was asked to review. Read More →