But I never heard of that book . . .

Congratulations to all the Printz honorees and winner. What a fabulous line up! Can’t wait to read ’em all!

I’m especially pleased to see Geraldine McCaughrean and Elizabeth Knox on that list. They’re two of the best writers in the world right now. Regardless of genre.

I’m a little disappointed by some of the whingeing I’ve seen from people who are upset that they’ve never heard of any of the Printz honorees. Isn’t that one of the points of literary awards? To draw our attention to books that might otherwise be overlooked? Every award jury is devoted to finding the best books they can that are eligible for their particular award. Eligibility is not determined by copies sold or size of publicity campaign. That’s a good thing!

One of the reasons there’s sometimes little overlap between the Printz and the National Book Award is that they have a different pool of eligible books. The National Book Award is restricted to books by US citizens. The Printz is restricted to books published in the US, thus this year there was an English winner (McCaughrean), a New Zealander (Knox), and an Australian (Judith Clarke). None of whose books were eligible for the National Book Award.

I like awards that surprise me. I’m thrilled that it looks like all the YA Awards this year are going to have different lists. It points to how rich and diverse our field is. The number of outstanding YA books being published goes up and up every year.

Here’s one thing that both the Printz and the National Book Award had in common this year—they both honored a book that is out-and-out, no-denying-it genre. Kathleen Duey’s Skin Hunger and A. M. Jenkins’s Repossessed and you can make a strong argument for Dreamhunter and Dreamquake as well. That makes this obsessive genre reader very happy indeed.


  1. Eric Luper on #

    What is whinging and how is it pronounced? I’ve seen the word several times this past week. I’m figuring it’s an Australian thing…

    Oh and by the way I agree that it’s good that so many underhyped books hit this year. Yay underhype!

  2. scott w on #

    Whinging (infrequently spelled “whingeing”) is the Australian and UK word for what USians call “whining.”

    To be clear, this is a classic Saussurian structure: Both Brits and Aussies use “to whine” for the high-pitched noise a small motor or a dog make, just as we do, but for carping and complaining, they use “to whinge.”

    It is pronounced “win-jing.”

  3. Eric Luper on #

    Thank you, Scott. I know I can rely on you and Justine for all things non-whingy and quokkian.

  4. Cheryl on #

    Never heard of them? Pah! I’ve been jumping up and down and enthusing about Elizabeth Knox for ages now. See here, for example.

    Knox rox, as they say (and not just because she’s a fellow Hurricanes fan).

    But you are right, having awards introduce new readers to wonderful writers is a Very Good Thing.

  5. Sarah on #

    I love Elizabeth Knox.
    Dreamhunter and Dreamquake were amazing. scrumpdiliumptous. I wish that was a real word. :/

  6. sara z on #

    I totally agree and blogged similarly. Some person on a local list I’m on was like, “Oh great, more books kids won’t want to read. Never heard of them.” Um, if you haven’t heard of them why assume kids wouldn’t want to read them? Hello? Anyone home?
    (Also, given the recent…last couple years, anyway…male dominance of such lists, I’m all yayasisterhood that it’s an all-woman sweep.)

  7. Kelly G. on #

    Wow. Big letters. It’s funny that I read this now, because I had forgotten about the Printz awards, but Dreamquake (along with The Sweet Far Thing) just arrived at my house courtesy of Barnes and Noble online. I kind of wish my copy had the sticker now.

  8. capt. cockatiel on #

    I really should check some books out from the library, shouldn’t I? Wow. I’ll go place some holds… XD

  9. stacy on #

    A.M. Jenkins’s work is very good, and I highly recommend her. I haven’t read Repossessed yet, but I have read other work of hers and think it’s well-deserved praise.

  10. Justine on #

    Stacy: I’ve heard that from lots of people. Repossessed has been in my stack of books to read for awhile now. It just moved up the pile!

  11. Midori on #

    I really love both of these books. I have been a Knox fan ever since Vintner’s Luck — and it was Colleen Mondor who introduced me to McCaughrean in her wonderful article on White Darkness for the Journal of Mythic Arts, which you can find here:

    Great to see such terrific books get a boost.

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