Friday, January 15, 2016

Poetry at the YMA

Just a week ago I was in Boston for the midwinter conference of the American Library Association. I was lucky enough to co-chair the Morris Seminar alongside the amazing Deb Taylor and we had a great day spent with a dozen leaders in our field engaging 32 participants (new-ish librarians) in talking about children's literature in deep, thoughtful ways. Of course, I started the day by sharing a poem with the group! Then on Monday, I attended the YMA (youth media awards) press conference where all the major ALA (ALSC, and YALSA) awards were announced. Such an exciting time for a book nerd like me! There were so many wonderful surprises among the awards, but I am always looking for any and all POETRY books that are getting recognized in this way. So, here's the round up of the poetry titles that received ALA awards this year.

Hurray for author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrator Ekua Holmes for Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, published by Candlewick Press. It received HEAPS of lovely recognition-- for the art and for the informative poetic content! It won:
  • Caldecott honor (for illustration)
  • Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award
  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award honor
There's a great blog post at A Rep Reading about the book here.

Congratulations to author and poet Margarita Engle and illustrator Rafael López who also garnered several awards for the poetic picture book, Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It won the Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

Interestingly, it also was selected as a Picture Book Honor book for the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) because this story is based upon the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who challenged Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers.  

You can read more about this beautiful book at Latinos in Kid Lit here and at Rhapsody in Books here.

Margarita Engle's poem memoir, Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division also received dual recognitions. 
  • Pura Belpré (Author) Award
  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honor book
Poet and author Holly Thompson interviewed Margarita Engle about Enchanted Air previously on my blog here:

Kudos to author and poet Marilyn Hilton for receiving the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature (APALA) in the "Children’s" category for her novel in verse, Full Cicada Moon published by Dial Books/Penguin Random House.

You can find an interview with Marilyn Hilton over at The Hiding Spot here.

Finally, Jacqueline Woodson was chosen to deliver the 2017 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizes an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site. Jacqueline Woodson is the 2014 National Book Award winner for her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming. The author of more than two dozen books for young readers, she is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, a two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.

Congratulations to each of these authors, poets, and illustrators for these wonderful books and worthy awards. These are some of MY favorite poetry books of the year, too and I'm so glad to see these poetry contributions receive additional recognition. You may also notice that each of these books also reflects the distinctive experiences and rich language that comes from diverse authors and stories. In addition, these works won "multicultural" awards as well as awards for art and text given across the spectrum. I've said it before and I'll say it again (over and over), some of the best poetry being published for young people today reflects the beautiful diversity of our nation and the awards that target diverse literature are often the first ones to recognize poetry specifically. That's also something to celebrate! I would even argue that this year's Newbery winner (a picture book!), Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson, is also VERY poetic in it's use of language! 

More poetry books were featured on the ALSC Notables list (hurray!), but that's a future post...

Now head on over to Keri Recommends for more poetry goodness on this Poetry Friday!


Robyn Hood Black said...

Thanks for this thoughtful roundup, Sylvia, and for all YOU do to nurture poetry!! I look forward to exploring these terrific links.

Carol Varsalona said...

Sylvia, thank you for your informative post. There are certainly so many titles to read at this point. It's wonderful to hear about your presentations as well.

Liz Steinglass said...

Yay! Thank you for sharing all this wonderful poetry news.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

This is the first year I tuned in via the live feed. SO exciting to hear the news first hand and celebrate these wonderful books gaining the recognition they deserve. Thanks for the summary, Sylvia!

Ruth said...

It's great to see so much poetry being honored!

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Sylvia. It was exciting to be at ALA, though I had to leave before the awards. To me, it was interesting that 2014 novels in verse were big award winners. Verse novels seemed to get less attention this year, but publishers seem to be excited about some of the historical novels in verse coming out in 2016.

Mary Lee said...

YAY poetry!

Sylvia Vardell said...

Hey, friends, thanks for stopping by this first post of the year and sharing my happiness with the recognition of these poetry books. Just wish there were MORE! So glad you could watch LIVE too, Michelle, it's quite an electric experience. And it IS interesting to see how verse novels fit into the poetry publishing landscape, Laura. I'm glad YOURS is out this year and I predict great things! Here's to another year discovering new poetry gems. I'll be posting my 2016 "sneak peek" list of forthcoming poetry for young people soon!

Elaine Magliaro said...

What Mary Lee said!

I watched the YMA announcements Monday morning. I have to be more selective about buying children's books these days as I already own thousands of children's books--including lots of poetry collections and anthologies--and have much less room now that we have downsized. That said, I'm planning to get a copy of "Drum Dream Girl" for my older granddaughter. The book looks gorgeous. Two of the poetry books I'm dying to get my hands on this year is Julie Fogliano's "When Green Becomes Tomatoes" and Marilyn Singer's "Echo Echo."

P.S. Happy New Year!!!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Oops! I should have written: Two of the poetry books I'm dying to get my hands on this year ARE Julie Fogliano's "When Green Becomes Tomatoes" and Marilyn Singer's "Echo Echo."

Keri said...

You are a wonderful poetry ambassador, Sylvia! Thanks for highlighting these extra special winners in the list!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Hi there Sylvia, Enchanted Air was one of my favourite verse memoirs from last year - so powerful and deeply affecting. Thank you for highlighting it here.