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We Ask a Book Blogger: What Are Your ALA Award Predictions?

January 11, 2013

Each month, we present a panel of book bloggers with a question relating to children’s books and we share their views here on the blog.  If you missed last month’s post on the books our bloggers most wanted to give and receive for the holidays, you can check it out here.

This month, I asked our bloggers what books they hoped or thought might win the upcoming ALA Youth Media Awards, specifically the Caldecott, Newbery and Printz awards. There were a few favorites on the lists, but some surprises as well. Stay tuned for the announcements on January 28th to see if they were correct!


For the Caldecott: Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead; Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Erin Stead’s illustrations in Bear Has a Story to Tell are beautiful. The illustrations alone tell the story and compliment the text. One of my favorite books of the year.

For the Newbery: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Well, this one is a personal favorite and may be more of a hope and a wish for a book to be recognized, but Applegate’s story of Ivan begs to be read aloud and shared.  For that reason alone, I would love to see it win.

For the Printz: Every Day by David Levithan

Levithan is an amazing writer and I believe that Every Day is his best book yet.  In lesser hands, the concept of this book would not have come together, but Levithan’s skill with words makes this a powerful and enjoyable read.

For the Coretta Scott King: Fifty Cents and a Dream: Young Booker T. Washington by Jabari Asim; Illustrated by Bryan Collier

This biographical picture book works both on the level of a wonderful story and awesome illustrations.  I can see this winning for writing or illustrations.

For the Sibert: We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson

Informative and engaging, Levinson tells the story of the children of Birmingham and the fight for Civil Rights. A must read.

– Alyson, Kid Lit Frenzy @alybee930


The Caldecott Award always flummoxes me.  It’s hard for me to separate the illustration from the story, it’s all tied up together.  I have never been able to choose the Caldecott.  So, here goes:

Unspoken by Henry Cole:  A beautifully rendered tale of the Underground Railroad.  Sepia tones, pencil drawings, the story doesn’t need words to convey the emotion and danger involved in being the runaway or the helper.

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen:  This is also a story that could be told without words.  A fish steals a bigger fish’s hat and the big fish gets his hat back.  The art in this book is not bright and happy, it’s filled with dun browns and grayed greens, the shades of underwater, but Mr. Klassen’s ability to tell a story merely with changes in eye shape is pretty amazing.


Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage:  Great characters, big drama, family issues and a murder mystery, Three Times Lucky has it all.  This was a book that feels old-fashioned in a number of ways, yet is firmly planted in the present.  The emotional depth of the characters was impressive.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio:  An underdog to cheer for!  Well-drawn characters, great story, something for everyone who reads it.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:  Stunning book.  I don’t know if there is anything else to say.  Love, friendship, loss.  It’s a book that crosses age and gender.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein:  One of the most surprising books I’ve read.  See above:  Love, friendship, loss.  I can’t get this one out of my head.  Absolutely brilliantly developed.

– Rene, Notes from the Bedside Table


I honestly don’t know that I’ve read anything this year that I think will actually get the Printz. I mean, I’ve loved a number of books but they just don’t seem to fit the Printz “profile” so to speak. Of the ones I’ve read I think The Diviners by Libba Bray and The Fault in our Stars by John Green have the best chance. I’m really interested in seeing what the committee has for us!

– Heidi, YA Bibliophile @hmz1505


For the Caldecott, I’d love to see Unspoken by Henry Cole win. This gorgeous wordless book about the underground railroad works on so many levels.

For the Newbery, I hope The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate gets the medal. It’s such a lovely, entertaining, and thought-provoking book, full of creativity and tenderness. I predict Wonder by R. J. Palacio will be at least a Newbery Honor book because it’s an “issue” book with plenty of teacher and librarian enthusiasm.

For the Printz, I want The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman to win. It’s such a page-turner, readers may not pause to take a breath, never mind stop to realize just how well-crafted it is, but I’m astonished by the history behind the mystery.

– Tegan, TSquared Blog, @ttigani


For Caldecott, I’d love to see a medal on Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead and Erin Stead (the 2011 Caldecott-winning creators of A Sick Day for Amos McGee). But I’d be just as happy if the award goes to Oh No! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, or Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.

Newbery winners are tough for me to predict this year, only because there are so many I wish could win at least an honor. Wonder by R.J. Palacio, of course (though I’m more sure that it will win the Schneider Family Award than a Newbery), The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, Keeping Safe the Stars by Sheila O’Connor, What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt, and True Colors by Natalie Kinsey Warnock. And it would be really cool if May B. by Caroline Starr Rose won an honor. (Go, Caroline!)

For Printz, there’s little doubt in my mind that John Green’s touching masterpiece The Fault in Our Stars will win. Hands down. Other books that deserve a mention: Small Damages by Beth Kephart, Ask the Passengers by A.S. King, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, and Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick, a harrowing look at the Killing Fields of Cambodia through the eyes of one young boy.

It was a great year for reading!

– Joanne, My Brain on Books @booksnbrains

Do you have any wishes or predictions for the upcoming awards? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela permalink
    January 11, 2013 12:02 pm

    Great Picks! Here’s my hopes: Each Kindness (Caldecott) Wonder (Newbery) Every Day (Printz) I agree that the artists to beat are: Illustrator Jon Klassen’s, Katherine Applegate and John Green.

  2. January 14, 2013 7:24 pm

    Joanne has a star-theme going: The Fault in Our Stars, What Came from the Stars, Keeping Safe the Stars… guess the stars were busy last year.


  1. We Ask a Book Blogger: Do You Buy Picture Books for Yourself? « Random Acts of Reading

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