Monday, January 23, 2006

Shannon Hale's Reaction to her Newbery Honor

I know Shannon Hale is a favorite in our book club so I thought that you might enjoy reading this. This is taken directly from Shannon Hale's blog at

A phone call at five a.m.
Holy cow. Holy holy cow. If there ever was a holy cow, I’m invoking said cow now.
So, at 5-something this morning, the phone rings. I was aware that today was the ALA (American Library Association) Mid-Winter meeting, where they announce the book awards. I knew my agent had left on Friday to go attend. So, phone call at 5 am, and I’m thinking, this is the meanest prank call in the world.
Me: Hello?
My editor: Shannon, can you believe it?
Me: Uh, uh… (finding myself in very vulnerable condition of believing something I haven’t heard yet and is likely impossible)
My editor: (her voice is full of smiling and she asks again, most likely unaware she’s the first to call) Can you believe it?!
Me: Uh, uh…(afraid to say it) did princess academy get a Newbery Honor?
My editor: Yes!
I began to shake. My hands and legs were shivering in a way they’ve never done before. I can’t recall anything else I said until my other line beeped. I hung up with my editor (bless her) and answered the other line.
Me: He…hello?
Barbara (I hope I’m getting her name right, I was shaking pretty hard by now and couldn’t hold the phone straight on my head): Is this Shannon Hale?
Me: Yes? (at this point, I was unsure myself)
Barbara: This is Barbara (last name? again, recall the shaking) and the entire Newbery Committee.
Me: (I’m not sure I said words at this point, perhaps some sort of primitive grunt)
Barbara: (I’m paraphrasing, I’m sure she was much more eloquent) We are calling to inform you that princess academy has been selected as a Newbery Honor Book.
Me: Oh! Thank you so much. Uh…grunt, grunt…
Barbara: Are you crying?
Me: Uh, ya, um, I have to admit I’m crying. (I was pretty slobbery, and still with the shaking.)
I could hear now that I was on speaker phone, and the entire Newbery committee really was all there, listening, and they laughed at me, which I was so grateful for.
Barbara: We’re all looking forward to meeting you this summer at the annual meeting.
Me: Oh, do I get to go?
Again, more laughter.
Me: Thank you, I just want to thank you so much.
Barbara: No, we want to thank you for such a wonderful book.
Then they applauded. They clapped for me on the phone, on speaker phone, as I sat in bed in my flannel pajamas at 5-something in the morning. That was perhaps one of the most magical and strange and ethereal moments of my life. Not as glorious and transcendental as when Max was born, but something akin to it. After the call ended, I lay down in bed, hugged my husband, and sobbed. For like ten minutes. And then I felt like I needed to throw up so I went to the bathroom and dry heaved for a while, then I returned to bed and lay there with Dean until I stopped shaking and could stop saying, “I can’t believe it…” Now we could talk about it at last. Now we could laugh.
Me: I just want to assure you, now that I’m famous and adored, I’m not going to leave you.
Strangely, that idea never seemed to have crossed his mind.
And, later,
Me: Honey, this is crazy.
Dean: Well, you’re crazy, so it fits.
Of course, we couldn’t go back to sleep. We tried for about 10 minutes until it became ridiculous. I got up, checked my email (none), to watch the webcast on, just to make sure. I was nervous as I watched, half-anticipating that they wouldn’t really give princess academy a Newbery Honor. Then when they actually really did announce princess academy, they cheered for me! As if they’d heard of my book before or of me or something. It’s so weird. I’m just some schmo.
Deb called, my friend and publicity director at Bloomsbury, and we laughed and shook together, and she told me people would be calling me (they haven’t yet. Who will they be? And how will they get my number?).
Deb: Purely from a design standpoint, the silver sticker will look better on the princess academy cover than the gold would have.
Me: Oh, I’m so glad it’s an honor and not the medal. I’m not ready for that kind of pressure.
I need to call my family and friends, as soon as it’s not too early. And I’ll spend the day with Max, of course, reading and eating oatmeal and applesauce and running around the stool. I’m going to go rewrite a scene from rapunzel’s revenge before he wakes up. Keeping my head in the game, that’s what I’m going to do.

This Year's Awards

American Library Association announces literary award winners

(SAN ANTONIO) The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books and video for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio.

A list of all the 2006 literary award winners follows:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature

“Criss Cross,” written by Lynne Rae Perkins, is the 2006 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Four Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Whittington” by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by S.D. Schindler and published by Random House; “Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow” by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and published by Scholastic Nonfiction, an imprint of Scholastic; “Princess Academy” by Shannon Hale, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books; and “Show Way” by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbott and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children

“The Hello, Goodbye Window,” illustrated by Chris Raschka, is the 2006 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Norton Juster and published by Michael di Capua Books, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Rosa,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Nikki Giovanni and published by Henry Holt and Company; “Zen Shorts,” written and illustrated by Jon J. Muth and published by Scholastic Press; “Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride,” written and illustrated by Marjorie Priceman, An Anne Schwartz Book from Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster; “Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems,” illustrated by Beckie Prange, written by Joyce Sidman and published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults

“Looking for Alaska,” written by John Green, is the 2006 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Black Juice” by Margo Lanagan, published by EOS, an imprint of HarperCollins; “I Am the Messenger” by Markus Zusak, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books; “John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, a Photographic Biography” by Elizabeth Partridge, published by Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.; and “A Wreath for Emmett Till,” written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy and published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults

“Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue,” written by Julius Lester, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children.

Three King Author Honor Books were selected: “Maritcha: A Nineteenth-Century American Girl” by Tonya Bolden, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers; “Dark Sons” by Nikki Grimes, published by Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children; and “A Wreath for Emmett Till,” written by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy and published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

“Rosa,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book was written by Nikki Giovanni and published by Henry Holt and Company.

One King Illustrator Honor Book was selected: “Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan” by R. Gregory Christie, published by Lee and Low Books.

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

“Jimi & Me,” written by Jaime Adoff, is the Steptoe winner. The book is published by Jump at the Sun, an imprint of Hyperion Books for Children.

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children's books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience

“Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart,” illustrated by Raul Colón, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Pat Mora and published by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House.

Three Belpré Illustrator Honor Books for illustration were selected: “Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games,” selected and illustrated by Lulu Delacre and published by Lee & Low Books, Inc.; “César: ¡Sí, Se Puede!Yes, We Can!” illustrated by David Diaz, written by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand and published by Marshall Cavendish; and “My Name Is Celia/Me Llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/La Vida de Celia Cruz,” illustrated by Rafael López, written by Monica Brown and published by Luna Rising, a bilingual imprint of Rising Moon.

Pura Belpré (Author) Award

“The Tequila Worm,” written by Viola Canales, is the Belpré Author Award winner. The book is published by Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House.

Three Belpré Author Honor Books were named: “César:¡Sí, Se Puede! Yes, We Can!,” by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand, “Doña Flor: A Tall Tale About a Giant Woman with a Great Big Heart” by Pat Mora, and “Becoming Naomi León” by Pam Muñoz Ryan and published by Scholastic Press.

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience

“Dad, Jackie, and Me” written by Myron Uhlberg, illustrated by Colin Bootman and published by Peachtree Press, wins the award for children ages 0 to 10.

Kimberly Newton Fusco is the winner of the middle-school (ages 11-13) award for “Tending to Grace,” published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is “Under the Wolf, Under the Dog,” written by Adam Rapp and published by Candlewick Press.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book

“Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas,” written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Suçie Stevenson is the Seuss Award winner. The book is published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Four Geisel Honor Books were named: “Hi! Fly Guy” by Tedd Arnold and published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; “A Splendid Friend, Indeed” by Suzanne Bloom and published by Boyds Mills Press; “Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa” by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Betsy Lewin and published by Harcourt, Inc.; and “Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day” by Jean Van Leeuwen, illustrated by Ann Schweninger and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2006 Edwards Award winner. Her books include: “I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This,” and its sequel, “Lena;” “From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun,” “If You Come Softly” and “Miracle’s Boys.”

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children

“Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H.L. Hunley,” written by Sally M. Walker, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Carolrhoda Books, Inc., a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

One Sibert Honor Book was named: “Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow,” written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and published by Scholastic Nonfiction, an imprint of Scholastic.

Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children's video

Michael Sporn, of Michael Sporn Animation, Inc., and Paul Gagne and Melissa Reilly, of Weston Woods Studios, producers of “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” are the Carnegie Medal winners. The video is based on the book by Mordicai Gerstein and is narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, with music by Michael Bacon.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children's book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States

Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., is the Batchelder Award winner for “An Innocent Soldier.” Originally published in German in 2002 as “Der Russländer,” the book was written by Josef Holub and translated by Michael Hofmann.

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “Nicholas,” published by Phaidon Press Limited and “When I Was a Soldier,” published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences

“Midnight at the Dragon Café,” written by Judy Fong Bates and published by Counterpoint.
“Upstate,” written by Kalisha Buckhanon and published by St Martins
“Anansi Boys,” written by Neil Gaiman and published by William Morrow & Company
“As Simple as Snow,” written by Gregory Gallaway and published by Putnam
“Never Let Me Go,” written by Kazuo Ishiguro and published by Alfred A. Knopf
“Gil’s All Fright Diner,” written by A. Lee Martinez, published by Tor
“The Necessary Beggar,” written by Susan Palwick and published by Tor
“My Jim,” written by Nancy Rawles and published by Crown
“Jesus Land: A Memoir,” written by Julia Scheeres, and published by Counterpoint
“The Glass Castle: A Memoir,” written by Jeannette Walls and published by Scribner

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children's literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site

Kevin Henkes will deliver the 2007 lecture. Henkes has published seven novels and more than 20 picture books, as well as a number of board books for young children.

Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s experts, the awards encourage original and creative work. For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visit the ALA Web site at

Monday, January 16, 2006

science fiction for girls

I thought that some of you might be interested in this article after our discussion at our last meeting.

Teen Angels A bestselling novelist on why boys aren’t the only ones who like sci-fi
By Nicole Joseph
Updated: 6:28 p.m. ET Jan. 12, 2006

Jan. 13, 2006 - Author Libba Bray has many mysteries in her life (“Why doesn’t George Clooney call me? Why do I always get mistaken for Catherine Zeta Jones?”). But there are no questions about the fact that her newest novel, “Rebel Angels” (Delacorte, 2005) is a hit in the world of young-adult fiction. Angels is the much-anticipated sequel to Bray’s 2003 bestseller, “A Great and Terrible Beauty.” The books, set in 19th century England, are an unusual mix of sci-fi, fantasy and unalloyed romance. They have a large and devoted following of teen girls who identify with the heroine Gemma Doyle—a sardonic, redheaded boarding school student. Gemma and her posse of friends battle otherworldly villains and adolescent angst in a mystical world called “The Realms.” Think “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but in corsets and with a heady infusion of historical detail.
Texas-raised Bray spent the fall on a book tour of girls’ schools, where she ran writing workshops for aspiring teen writers. Now there’s talk of turning her series into a movie, but Bray says she’s doesn’t have time to indulge in success just yet. She is back on deadline and already at work on the third and final novel in the trilogy, which will be released in the fall of 2007.

Before she settled too deeply into her own magical writing realm, NEWSWEEK’s Nicole Joseph spoke with the (terribly funny) author about learning to write and why teen girls like sci-fi lit too. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: It seems like people sometimes associate sci-fi and fantasy with boys more than girls. Do you think that’s true? Libba Bray: I do think that there has been a perception of that being the domain of boys, but I think that a lot of writers are starting to challenge that now. I didn’t necessarily set out to challenge it—I simply wrote about the things that I wanted to write about and that I love. When I was an adolescent, the girls that I hung with were somewhat feral and unsupervised… and probably behaved a lot like boys did. We wanted to start a band. You’re always writing with you own perspective, I suppose, and I was interested in sci-fi and fantasy and Victorian England. [So while] I do think [sci-fi] has been more the playground of boys, I think that it’s great that it’s being challenged and we’re saying: “Hey, you know, girls like this stuff, too.”

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

February - Children's Classics

Emily is hosting February and here are her picks!

This month I have chosen to only read two books because of the length. I want everyone to come prepared with what they think makes a classic book. There are several different opinions.

Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott: “Triumph and tragedy, romance and comedy are artfully blended in an enduring domestic drama.”

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe: “Lone survivor of a shipwreck succeeds in creating a personal kingdom on a deserted island with help from the owner of a mysterious footprint.”

Other Classical Books to consider:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson
Peter Pan by James M. Barrie
Twelve Tales: Hans Christian Anderson
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Chronicles of Narnia
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
The Call of the Wild
Red Badge of Courage

Websites with more classic