Well, that didn't go quite as planned.
By the time I reached a town with any sort of lodging, there was a break in the storm. The roads were in much better shape, at times I could see three lanes, and I knew I could manage the rest of this drive. And so I arrived at my hotel and was just settling in to my beautiful hotel room when I got the message from my committee chair. The conference buses were stopping early. Two members can't make it in. We may need to cancel.
I arrived at the convention center by taxi in time to grab a seat for the Youth Media Award Announcements. This is one of the most exciting events to attend - to be among the first to hear the winners of the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Awards, along with the other categories that honor books, videos, and audiobooks for children and young adults. The committees who have worked so hard all year making these determinations are recognized and the audience cheers for each announcement delivered. Librarians are among the most appreciative audience to authors and illustrators and we truly share in their joy and excitement.
Click on the following link for a complete list of the winners:
Earlier, my husband planted the idea that I shouldn't try to rush home until plows had a chance to clear the roads, and the television reports showed dicey conditions, so I decided to stay another day. Nothing was on the agenda, so I took the opportunity to attend the YALSA's Morris and Nonfiction Award program, a happy accident. I picked up three of the winning books which I am eager to read: Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quinter, Popular by Maya Van Wagenen, and Scar Boys by Len Vlahos.
"Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help a shy girl become popular?
Maya Van Wagenen is about to find out.
Stuck near the bottom of the social ladder at “pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya has never been popular. But before starting eighth grade, she decides to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell.
The real-life results are hilarious, painful, and filled with unexpected surprises. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence, along with a better understanding of what it means to be popular."
A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out.
In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life.
The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality.
The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.
Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.
Jennifer's Review (Spoiler Alert)
"Nate and best friend Given determine to enlist in the Union's army, but when Nate suddenly becomes crippled following a swimming accident, he can no longer pursue his goal of earning enough money to marry his sweetheart, and Givens' sister, Lila. Younger brother, Leander, determined to prove himself a man and earn respect from his family, takes Nate's place, even though he is several years under age. Though he tried to work hard and thought he was doing his best on the farm, Leander soon realizes that his attempts at helping out were nothing compared to the workout he is getting trying to keep up with the older enlistees in the army.