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Midwinterblood-cover

This morning the American Library Association announced the top 2013 books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults.

Teen librarians focus on the Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults. After the awards are announced each year there are standard responses of joy, surprise, member committee cheerleading and puzzlement both on the listservs and Twitter by teen librarians. Most sounds of joy in the social media today tend to center on the Printz Honor winner Rowell. I along with a mass of teen librarians and teens loved Eleanor & Park.

The 2014 Printz winner is Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick, a British writer who spent sixteen years in the publishing field is a well established Young Adult Writer. He also won a Printz Honor award in 2011 for Revolver. Positively reviewed in library journals and many teen librarian blogs, Midwinterblood is structured as seven short stories that form a puzzle of part love story, mystery and horror. The Printz committee favors good writing, multi-layered structure, and complexity. Midwinterblood demands reading with effort.

The Printz Honor Books are Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal, Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, and Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool. Both  Gardner and Vanderpool tend to write middle school fiction and in fact Vanderpool won a Newbery for Moon over Manifest in 2011. What a coincidence – winner Sedgwick won a Printz Honor the same year! Rowell and Cokal entered YA literature by writing adult fiction. Rowell, Cokal and Vanderpool are American writers while Gardner is British.

As a quick assessment of the Printz winners, I wonder if the books or the authors themselves are the reason for a Printz prize. Most of the authors are established writers who are familiar with the librarians and two are former award winners. I also see some walking on the safe side rather than the risky road of new young adult authorship. The list is just so balanced with British and American writers and Youth Services and Adult writers who are writing their first Young Adult novels. The list reads all over the genre map with a little bit of romance, realistic fiction, historical fiction, dystopian, and fantasy. Interesting both Midwinterblood and Kingdom of Little Wounds are written in Scandinavian settings. Did the long cold winter or Midwestern roots on the part of the committee play a part in that striking similarity?

All the Printz winners are in the Niles Library Teen and KidSpace collections. Each book offers a unique reading experience for teen and adult readers. Click on the links above to go directly to our catalog.

Image credit: www.bookbrats.com

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