Best of the Rest

We wrote about the American Library Associations three big awards announced Monday, but there were actually 17 other awards handed out that day (and many of those awards included 2-4 honorable mentions). Its a formidable list. These are a few of our favorites.

Marcelo in the Real World was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award, honoring books that that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. Simply classifying this book as a disability book sells it short, though. It wasnt just the best book about a kid on the autism spectrum, it was one of the best young adult books of the year, period. Francisco X. Stork created a wonderfully complex and caring character in Marcelo, whos challenges with new jobs, new friends, morality, and the new-found fallibility of his family are universal, even if his challenges with Aspergers are not.

Another staff favorite that wound up in the hands of pretty much any person who wandered in and said I need a gift for a 5 [or 6, or 7, or 8]-year-old, Moonshot by Brooklyn resident Brian Floca is the beautifully-illustrated account of the Apollo 11 mission. The ALA named it a Sibert Honor Book, recognizing distinguished informational books for children, but the poetic text makes it as good a bedtime story as it is a reference. The balance of engrossing story with detailed diagrams and a more advanced history of the early space program at the back of the book make Moonshot a book that can grow with kids and wont get tossed aside as they get older.

Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson flew under our radar until it was awarded the Coretta Scott King Award honoring African American authors, but that cover demands attention. Inside its the exciting and sometimes startling story of Bass Reeves, a former slave who became a Deputy U.S. Marshall. The reading level is decidedly higher than most picture books, which makes it a great addition to the non-fiction section of middle-grade classroom libraries, but would also make a great quick read aloud for families with older kids who have graduated to reading mostly on their own. Everyone loves to be read to sometimes.

The complete list of awardees is here. With 20 different categories, theres no excuse for not being able to find something to read.

Leave a Reply