Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mock YALSA Voting Results / YALSA Official Shortlist Announced

I just came from the mock discussion and vote for the YALSA nonfiction award. It was held at National-Louis University's Center for Teaching Through Children's Books. I sat in a room with 9 other lovely librarians and discussed the nonfiction titles that I had picked (somewhat subjectively) as being among the best of the year. The titles we discussed are:

Borrowed Names by Jeannine Atkins
Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery
Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World by Sid Fleischman
They Called Themselves the KKK by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The War to End All Wars: World War I by Russell Freedman
The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone
Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

There was a lot of great discussion on the books, as well as related topics including how to categorize poetry, whether "appeal" could be considered to fit within the definition of "presentation" and how much white space is too much white space. In regards to poetry, someone made the point that a majority of poetry could be considered nonfiction, because it is intended to present Truth (with a capital T). After the discussion, a vote was taken. The War to End All Wars and They Called Themselves the KKK were tied at 3 votes apiece, with Sir Charlie and Kakapo Rescue also garnering votes. A runoff vote between the top two vote-getters resulted in a win for They Called Themselves the KKK with 6 votes.

So, congrats to Susan Campbell Bartoletti for They Called Themselves the KKK! There is no prize associated with this mock award, other than perhaps it will inspire a librarian somewhere to put the book on display, or it to hand it to a teen and say, "Try this book, it's really good!" Which really should be the point of having these awards, right?

The five official finalists were also announced by YALSA earlier this week. Here is the OFFICIAL list:

Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel

They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers

The Dark Game: True Spy Stories by Paul Janeczko

Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw

I'm not at all surprised to see They Called Themselves the K.K.K. on the list. I've read two of the other finalists. I thought that Spies of Mississippi was really good, but it didn't stand out for me like several books did. I enjoyed Janis Joplin (more extensive comments are coming soon) and I love the design.

The Dark Game also has a definite cool factor. I haven't even had a chance to see it since it arrived at the library, as it's been checked out the entire time. Every Bone Tells a Story is probably the biggest surprise, simply because it's been off my radar. I'm going to have to get a hold of it, now.

The official winner will be announced during the MidWinter meeting of ALA in San Diego.

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