Let me tell you something, internet! Children's and young adult authors produce some amazing books. I mean, you probably knew that already, because I already knew that, but when I'm all of a sudden drowning in what different lists have picked out as the best books of the year I think it's natural to get overwhelmed with just how awesome everything is. I'm up to reading a middle grade or YA novel a day, give or take, and every single time I'm just blown away. Since January 1- well, let's say since January 5, because that's when I stopped spending all of my time sneezing and feeling dead- I've read Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Going Bovine by Libba Bray, The Doom Machine by Mark Teague, Claudette Colvins: Twice Toward Freedom by Phillip Hoose. Upcoming books from my shelf make me giddy, although I'm thinking I may take a break from all the new books to go for a few rereads of the best from 2009.
I've been assuming some of the awards will go to the most likely candidate. Pigs Make Me Sneeze</i>, for example, will probably get the Geisel, and I'd say The Lion and the Mouse has a near lock for the Caldecott- although, of course, last year everyone said that about Wabi Sabi. When You Reach Me is my pick for the Newbery, in terms of what I think will actually happen, although I enjoyed a few other middle grade books (Confetti Girl, for one) just as much if not more. So I'm hoping Confetti Girl gets at least a Belpre honor, although I don't know how likely that is, and out of the "likely" contenders for the Newbery which I've read, WYRM is definitely my favorite. I'm reading Flygirl by Sherri Smith right now because that was my completely random pick for the CSKing award, but I want to see if I actually believe that or if I've been swayed by all the discussions on the blogosphere about what does/does not count. I think Lion and the Mouse could be a contender here for the award for illustration. I would be pretty shocked if Claudette Colvin didn't at least get a Sibert honor.
I don't really feel like there's a standout book in YA that's definitely going to be Printz material, which is why most of the books I'm reading right now are YA. I was hoping it would clarify what I think, but no. I just keep squealing over how good whatever book I happen to be in the middle of is.
In short: This field is so great. So great.
(What? One post for children's books, one for reality TV. That's how it works.)