First blog post after a LONG hiatus! I’ve found that I enjoy tweeting, so please follow me on Twitter @LindaSuePark. But some thoughts just won’t fit into 140 characters, no matter how strenuously edited. Ergo…
I’m currently serving on the panel of the inaugural Kirkus Prize, Young Readers literature category. Along with John Peters and Dr. Claudette S. McLinn, we received more than 440 books, from which we had to choose six finalists.
The books we were sent had all been given a star by Kirkus Reviews, so there wasn’t a stinker in the whole pile. I’m proud of the six titles we settled on (after countless hours of individual contemplation and several marathon conference sessions). You can read about them here: www.kirkusreviews.com/prize/2014/finalists/young-readers And the winner will be announced on October 23: We have an exciting task ahead of us.
What I want to do in this post is to acknowledge how difficult it was to come up with that list of six titles. The books that were ‘in the room’ during our discussions deserve to be highlighted. These books were removed only after much kicking and screaming by one or more of the panelists. If you took the finalists along with the books below as your ‘to-read’ list, I think you’ll be set for a mighty fine stretch of reading.
Here they are, the laudable but cigar-less, alphabetical by author:
VANILLA ICE CREAM, by Bob Graham
EYE TO EYE, by Steve Jenkins
THOMAS JEFFERSON, by Maira Kalman
THE PILOT AND THE LITTLE PRICE, by Peter Sis
THE RULES OF SUMMER, by Shaun Tan
THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS, by Christopher Paul Curtis
THE GLASS SENTENCE, by S.E. Grove
NINE OPEN ARMS, by Benny Lindelauf
RAIN REIGN, by Ann M. Martin
THE GREENGLASS HOUSE, by Kate Milford
THE BOUNDLESS, by Kenneth Oppel
WEST OF THE MOON, by Margi Preus
BROWN GIRL DREAMING, by Jacqueline Woodson
SORROW’S KNOT, by Erin Bow
HEAP HOUSE, by Edward Carey
THE FAMILY ROMANOV, by Candace Fleming
EGG & SPOON, by Gregory Maguire
FRIDA & DIEGO, by Catherine Reef
BELZHAR, by Meg Wolitzer
Finally, a few more titles that I personally adored:
HERE COMES THE EASTER CAT! by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda
AT THE SAME MOMENT AROUND THE WORLD, by Clotilde Perrin
THE ANIMAL BOOK, by Steve Jenkins
EXTRAORDINARY JANE, by Hanna E. Harrison
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, by H. Chuku Lee, illustrated by Pat Cummings
OUTSIDE IN, by Sarah Ellis
ANGEL ISLAND, by Russell Freedman
FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE! by Tim Federle
SPARKERS, by Eleanor Glewwe
THE LAST FOREVER, by Deb Caletti
AS RED AS BLOOD, by Salla Simukka
GIRL DEFECTIVE, by Simmone Howell
Applause all around!
What a privilege it has been to serve on this committee. John and Claudette have been a true pleasure to work with. And Kirkus editor Vicky Smith has kept things humming along beautifully, responding thoughtfully and helpfully to our every request.
Wish us luck choosing the winner, and watch for the announcement on October 23!