Monday, May 31, 2010

Booklist: The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

Okay, its confession time. I am one of those middle-aged women that got sucked into The Twilight phenomenon. Cue the eye-rolling now, please. I am NOT a Twi-mom, mind you; but I’ve been “twilighted,” nonetheless.

Because of the success of The Twilight Saga, the Harry Potter series, and most recently, The Hunger Games trilogy, the young adult market is the hottest one in publishing today. This is clear when you visit agents’ blogs and writing communities. “YA-lit,” as they call it, is on every one’s lips.

Whenever I browse my local book store, I am astounded by the number of rows they now dedicate to this market segment. Borders has even sectioned off a space in their stores for the genre. In each “Ink” corner you’ll find all the YA-lit titles, along with all the licensed merchandise for capitalizing on the market. Romance, fantasy and dystopia (Yes, I had to look that one up too) are the successful themes in the group.

So, as an aspiring author, I am carefully looking into this market. Despite my worries about writing for children, I feel more comfortable writing in this genre. But other than the runaway hits, I want to know, what makes a novel in this market noteworthy. Do these books have to deal with romances between humans and vampires and other mystical creatures? Witches and warlocks? postapocalyptic worlds? Do they all have to be so dark and angst-ridden? Or bright and bubble-gummy, with drop-dead, swoon-worthy boys?

Surely not, right? I hope.

The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature is one of the youngest Awards for literature, with the first one given only in 2000. The Award is given to authors who exemplify literary excellence in fiction, non-fiction, or poetry for the twelve to eighteen age group. Novels, poetry collections and short-story anthologies are open for consideration to the Award committee. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), administers the nomination and selection process. The ALA is responsible for the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The Award is named after a noted member of YALSA, from Topeka, KS. The Award is sponsored by a publication of the ALA, called Booklist

The year’s winner bears the gold Printz seal on its cover, while the runners-up, also called “Honor Books” bear the silver seal.

The Books:
2000 Monster, Walter Dean Myers
2001 Kit's Wilderness, David Almond
2002 A Step From Heaven, An Na
2003 Postcards from No Man's Land, Aidan Chambers
2004 The First Part Last, Angela Johnson
2005 How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
2006 Looking for Alaska, John Green
2007 American Born Chinese, Gene Luen Ying
2008 The White Darkness, Geraldine McCaughrean
2009 Jellicoe Road, Melina Marchetta
2010 Going Bovine, Libba Bray

To reach my goal, six books will be coming from this list.

Source: “About the Printz Award.”Young Adult Association For Library Service to Children. 2010. May 31, 2010.

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