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Our 2012 ALA Award Winners!

January 25, 2012


Congratulations to all of our winners! If you aren’t familiar with them, please read more on each of these titles below.


A BALL FOR DAISY by Chris Raschka

Amazing reviews of this bright, colorful wordless story:

“Raschka’s genius lies in capturing the essence of situations that are deeply felt by children.”- Starred Review, School Library Journal

“A story that is noteworthy for both its artistry and its child appeal.”- Starred Review, Horn Book

“Rarely, perhaps never, has so steep an emotional arc been drawn with such utter, winning simplicity.”-Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

Rashka discusses the book and his big win with NPR here.


JASPER JONES by Craig Silvey

Life in the small mining town isn’t very exciting for Charlie Bucktin, but he never expected local outsider Jasper Jones to knock on his window one hot summer night and ask for his help. But Charlie follows him into the night and is forever linked by a shared secret, and a tragedy.

Curiosity, fear and new relationships, friends and a possible romance, are all parts of what keep Charlie going that summer, in the midst of the deterioration of his parents’ marriage. Jasper Jones is magnificently interspersed with influences from American Literature, woven seamlessly into a unique coming of age story.- Kate


NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia C. McKissack; Illustrated by Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon  

 Covering a  heartbreaking time period is the gorgeous collaboration between Patricia McKissack and Leo and Diane Dillon, Never Forgotten. This is one of the most powerful and stunning picture books we’ve published in years. Told in verse, the book is the story of a father, Dinga, and his son, Mustafa. Dinga raises his son with help from the Mother Elements, Earth Mother, Water Maiden, Fire Woman and Wind Spirit. The book follows Mustafa as he grows up, becomes an apprentice blacksmith to his father, and then, one day, is captured by slave traders and taken to America. The Elements are able to find Mustafa in America, and report back to his devastated father that he is safe, acting as a blacksmith once more.

The simple prose perfectly captures the emotional tale, such as Dinga’s celebration upon learning his son is alive, “Dinga danced and feasted far into the night With the Mother Elements by his side, Celebrating the son who was taken, But never forgotten.” The book ends with a message to children that “loved ones are never forgotten when we continue to tell their stories.” – Erin


THE LILY POND by Annika Thor; translated by Linda Schenck

This award is presented to an American publisher for the most outstanding book originally published in a country other than the United States in a language other than English and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

“A compelling look at World War II–era Sweden, this distinguished Holocaust story will resonate.”- Booklist


THE RUNNING DREAM by Wendelin Van Draanen

This award recognizes books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.

The Running Dream is full of determination and hope and, surprisingly, lots of humor. The voice is so authentic, the story reads just like a real memoir by a teen girl adjusting to adversity. This is a book you won’t soon forget.- Joanne Fritz, Chester County Book and Music Company

More rave reviews from booksellers plus a letter from Wendelin’s editor here.


PAPER COVERS ROCK by Jenny Hubbard

This award honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.

I love this book, and as a former teacher, I would use it in my classroom. I think there is so much there to discuss: the writing and the poetry are really wonderful and I love the voice–it rings so true of a high school boy. -Betsy Balyeat, Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Read Bobbie’s rave introduction and our interview with author Jenny Hubbard here.


ROTTERS by Daniel Kraus, read by Kirby Heyborne

In Rotters, Heyborne’s versatile character voicing animates the strange tale of Joey, a 16-year-old whose mother has died.  His struggle begins as he is dropped into the isolated world of his father, a grave robber.  The exquisite timing pulls us through the chilling story of the destruction and rebuilding of Joey’s personality. Odyssey Award Committee Chair, Lizette D. Hannegan, said, “Kirby Heyborne performs this visceral, grotesque and tender story with authentic emotion. The themes will appeal to teens, making this audio a gripping listening experience.”

And check out Nic’s rave review here.


OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt, read by Lincoln Hoppe

Doug’s miserable life includes a new town and a dysfunctional family until the works of Audubon help him see that his life might just be “okay.”  Narrator Hoppe wears this audiobook like Doug’s beloved baseball jacket and his empathetic performance echoes long after the last word. 

 YOUNG FREDLE by Cynthia Voigt, read by Wendy Carter

Carter captures all the curiosity, fear and delight of young Fredle, as listeners follow the mouse’s adventures both inside and outside the house.  Voigt’s gentle and heartwarming story features cats, dogs, raccoons and owls, all brought to fine characterization through Carter’s spectacular performance.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 8:25 am


  2. January 25, 2012 8:43 am

    Congratulations on so many winners. I have read about half of these, & will find the rest I’m sure. I loved Young Fredle and Okay for Now and Never Forgotten-all powerful stories for us in their special way.

  3. January 25, 2012 11:47 am

    So wonderful!

  4. January 25, 2012 7:50 pm

    Yay for Running Dream!! And congrats to all the winners. You have quite a few!

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