poetry books that got a nod at this week’s announcements of awards at ALA Midwinter.
The good news? There were several wonderful poetry (and near-poetry) books recognized. The bad news? There were woefully few. (Nonfiction books seemed to be the biggest winners.)
The biggest thrill and surprise was the Newbery winner, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, which I felt was a work of poetry—although many disagree with me. Either way, it’s a tender story beautifully rendered. Spare and thoughtful. With prose written by a gorilla of a writer. You may remember Katherine Applegate’s novel in verse, Home of the Brave—also powerful writing from an authentic (YA) point of view.
Bryan Collier won the Coretta Scott King illustrator award for his art for the classic Langston Hughes poem, “I, Too, Am America.” His graphic collages give the beautiful a fresh and slightly edgy interpretation in the picture book adaptation.
And congratulations to Lesléa Newman for garnering a Stonewall award honor for her heart-breaking novel in verse, October Mourning. That story (about Matthew Shepard’s murder) is so hard, and the poetry from multiple points of view is achingly beautiful—so well crafted.
And that’s it! As far as I saw, these were the only poetry books among the big winners—although the Notables list (released separately) did include several poetry gems. Yay! And I had a good conversation with an ALSC board member about proposing an award for poetry (finally) and he was glad to help move that idea forward. Double yay! He said the task might be “Herculean,” which I know, but we’ll keep hoping that the stars will eventually align to make that happen. That’s my dream: to see an ALA award that showcases poetry for young people every year. And just poetry. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? (I’ll keep you posted, but it will take AWHILE since many good people have been working on this for some time already, myself included!)
Happy February everyone. Watch for the sneak peek list of 2013 poetry coming soon.
And join the Poetry Friday party at Teaching Authors. See you there!
Image credit: schools.woboe.org
Posting by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2013. All rights reserved.