Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Voting Ends March 1!

This is just a reminder to get your votes in now for the Milwaukee County Teen Book Award!


You can still vote at the ballot box in the YA section of the Library. You can also email your vote to It’s probably too late to mail your ballot in, so these two options are the only way to vote before it’s too late!

Still feel like you don’t know enough to vote? Remember, even if you only read one title, you can vote for that book! You can also check out great reviews of all 15 titles over at the MCTBA blog.

Voting ENDS Friday, March 1.


Author Spotlight: Benjamin Alire Saenz

This year saw a remarkable achievement by Hispanic author Benjamin Alire Saenz: he and his 2012 YA novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe were honored with multiple awards!

aristotle and dante

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a story that embodies multiple perspectives at once – Hispanic-American, LGBTQ, teenage loner – which is why I think it was honored with so many awards. Dante is an upper class Hispanic gay teen who becomes fast, but unexpected, friends with Aristotle (Ari) Mendoza, a lower class kid who’s a loner with a brother in prison, and a family who won’t talk about it. Both discover, as the title implies, much about their families, their home, and themselves through their friendship.

Saenz was name the 2013 Pura Belpre Author Award winner for Aristotle and Dante. The Pura Belpre Author Award is given each year to an outstanding author of Latino/a descent whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an excellent work of fiction or nonfiction written for children or teens.

Aristotle and Dante was also given the Stonewall Book Award, which was the first award for LGBTQ literature, and has become one of the most important awards in literature for young people as more and more books and authors embrace the LGBTQ experience freely and beautifully. The Stonewall Book Award is the title of a series of awards for adult fiction, adult nonfiction, and children’s and young adult literature (fiction/nonfiction). The children’s/YA award is called the Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award and has been given each year since 2010 to a children’s or young adult book of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. The name Stonewall is taken from the Stonewall Riots, a series of violent demonstrations that took place in New York City in 1970s in response to a police raid of a well-known gay club. It is considered one of the most important events in the gay liberation movement, so the award for LGBTQ lit is aptly named. (Information from,, and

And, finally, Aristotle and Dante (and Saenz) was named to the list of Printz Award Honors! The Printz award is the foremost award for books for young adults. Though it did not take the prize, getting an honor for such a prestigious award is a huge deal.

Benjamin Alire Saenz is a prolific writer of picture books, YA fiction, and novels, poetry and short stories for adults. He was born in New Mexico and resides in El Paso, Texas, and writes mostly about that area of the country, in particular the Mexican-American experience. (“Benjamin Alire Saenz.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Biography In Context. 7 Feb. 2013.)

Best Adult Fiction for Teens: 2013 Alex Award Winners

Every year, when they are determining who wins the big prizes like the Newbery Award and the Caldecott Medal and the Printz Award, the committees of readers (made up of librarians, teachers, reviewers, etc) also determine some other important lists. One of these is the Alex Awards, which is an award given to ten great books originally published for adults that have special appeal to teen audiences. Why is this important? Because you don’t just read what’s in the YA section, of course! Often, the books that win the Alex Award feature teenage protagonists or are about topics that are particularly important to teens. And they always represent a great variety of great books!

So here are this year’s (2013) 10 best adult books for teen audiences, the Alex Award Winners:

Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman – a dark story about twisted love.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman – an intricately told story of a girl growing up in poverty and hard times.

Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross – a moving photo-documentary of juvenile incarceration centers.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – a geek-tastic fantasy of sorts involving a curious bookshop and the technology wiz who finds himself unraveling its secrets while working there.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf – comics artist Backderf relates his life story, as a classmate of the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer, in this graphic novel.

One Shot at Forever by Chris Ballard – a classic and true baseball story about a small town Illinois team that made it big.

Pure by Julianna Baggott – a post-apocalyptic/dystopian title to extend your obsession with those.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich – also a National Book Award winner, and technically part of a trilogy set on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota, this is simply an incredible story.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – a story about family ties, love, and loss.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple – a funny mystery about Bee’s crazy mom, Bernadette, who goes missing.


2013 Awards for Awesome YA Books

Today is the day that the Youth Media Awards – overall term for all the awards given to books/audiobooks/films for kids and teens – are announced for the year! Every award has different criteria, and they’re all pretty interesting in their own right, but what really matters when it comes down to it is which titles and authors of great things from the last 12 months were honored this year. Here’s a look at several of the biggest YA awards, honoring literature, audiobooks, debut books, and non-fiction created with teen readers in mind.

Michael L. Printz Award For Excellence in Literature Written for Young Adultsin darkness

This year’s Printz goes to a relative underdog: In Darkness by Nick Lake. Set in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, this book is told from the point of view of Shorty, a teenager trapped under the rubble of a hospital, through flashbacks to his life growing up in the poor slums of Site Soleil. Partly historical fiction – Shorty’s visions while he is struggling to stay alive tell the story of the rebellion that freed Haiti from French rule in 1804 – and partly a socio-politically driven story of the current situation in Haiti, this is a dark and moving story worth reading.

(HONORS were given to: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Dodger by Terry Pratchett, and another not-widely-read book, The White Bicycle by Beverly Brenna.)

Odyssey Award

for best audiobook produced for children or young adults

The Odyssey is a cool award, honoring audiobooks for kids/teens that are well-produced (i.e. great sound quality) and well-narrated. How much does it suck to listen to a badly narrated book?!

This year’s winner is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, narrated by Kate Rudd (produced by Brilliance Audio). If you have not listened to this audiobook, do so immediately, even if you’ve read the book several times, because Rudd completely embodies Green’s way of storytelling. She just IS Hazel!

William C. Morris Award

for debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens

The winner of this award, which I featured last month on the blog, is Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. It’s gotten so many rave reviews, I’m not at all surprised with its win in this category!

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adultsbomb

The winner is Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – The World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin.

The only thing to say about this one is that it is an AWESOME book if you’re at all into science, spies, American history, WWII history, or just really good stories.

More on other 2013 award winners in the next few days!

Best of 2012

The new year is off to a roaring start, but there is still time to pause and think about the best of YA lit in 2012! In fact, there’s never a better time to think about the best books of the year than early January. The Youth Media Awards – a series of book awards including the Newbery and Caldecott medals – are named every January and Milwaukee County Teen Book Award voting is also underway.

If you’re like me, you might find yourself wondering what awesomeness you missed during the previous year. No matter how hard you try, you’re bound to miss some of the best books just because they’re always checked out, you’re busy finishing a series you’re in love with, or you’re on a genre kick and just can’t get out of it. It’s not too late! The wordle above is a really fun look at the most talked-about YA books published in the previous year. Take a look, see which ones you haven’t heard of, and get reading. BONUS: many of these are also nominees for the MCTBA, so the more you read, the better you can vote!

MCTBA 2013 nominees announced!

The list of 15 nominees for the 2013 Milwaukee County Teen Book Award is here! Nominees include some books that have been popular here in Shorewood, such as The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Be sure to vote for your favorite before March 1, 2013. Remember, you don’t have to read all of them to be able to vote. If you read one and you liked it, why not make it your choice for the award!

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

Alex is hiking in the woods when an electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device and killing billions. Alex must survive in this new world, learning who can be trusted and who is no longer human. For all of you post-apocalyptic fans!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Diagnosed with stage IV thyroid cancer, Hazel has always known her fate. But when she meets Augustus Waters at a cancer support group, Hazel struggles to change her outlook on life and love. This is a laugh-out-loud funny read, true to John Green’s style, yet also a deeply sad book.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

In a tale full of dragons and royal scandal, Seraphina is a strong willed young lady who uses her musical talents as a distraction for her own dark secret. Sure to become a new fantasy favorite!

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The day that Rory Deveaux arrives in London is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city. Rory is the only one who saw the prime suspect – and now Rory has become his next target. This play on the Jack the Ripper story is as thrilling as it is magical.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

17-year-old Althea must marry well in order to support her family and maintain their ancient castle. When the perfect bachelor arrives in her tiny town she thinks they may finally be saved, except that his annoying business partner keeps getting in the way!

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Tired of his parents’ fighting and being bullied at school, Lucky Linderman begins dreaming of being with his grandfather, who went missing during the Vietnam War, but a summer in Arizona with his aunt and uncle and their beautiful neighbor, Ginny, help him find a new perspective.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

In the 15th-century kingdom of Brittany, Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where she learns that the god of Death has blessed her with dangerous gifts – and a violent destiny.

Legend by Marie Lu

Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic. June is its most valuable asset. When Day is accused of killing June’s brother, she will stop at nothing to hunt him down – but what if everything she thought she knew was a lie? Bonus: the sequel, Prodigy, is coming soon!

Boy 21 by Matthew Quick

Finley’s life is basketball, so when he’s asked to befriend a nationally ranked player at the same position, he’s unsure of what to do. Events from both boys past start to surface and shape their uncertain futures.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick

Peter’s life as a baseball star is over, and now he needs to find something else to do. Of course, he can’t tell his best friend he’ll never play again, just like he can’t tell his parents about his grandfather’s forgetfulness.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

EPIC ALERT! Puck Connolly is the first girl to ever attempt the race. Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. But can they control the deadly water horses long enough to survive? Check out Stiefvater’s other 2012 release, The Raven Boys: Book 1.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Karou was raised by monsters. Her life as an art student in Prague is constantly disrupted by horned chimaera Brimstone’s mysterious errands to foreign cities. But when black handprints appear burnt into Brimstone’s doorways, coinciding with mysterious sightings of fiery angels, Karou is about to lose everything – and gain a whole new world. The sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, is now out!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A wireless operator during WWII, Verity is a spy and master of deception – and a Nazi prisoner. In exchange for Allied wireless codes, she is allowed to live one day for each new piece of the truth. But as Verity’s story, and the story of her friendship with pilot Maddie, is slowly revealed, the truth is not always what it seems.

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

In and out of hospitals for a life-threatening illness, sixteen-year-old Cam spends the summer with her family in Promise, Maine where her mother hopes the town’s mystical healing qualities will save her.

How to Save a Life by Sarah Zarr

Jill’s mother is adopting a child from a pregnant teen after the death of her father. Mandy is 19 and running away from the life she knows to give her unborn child a better life than she had. Both girls will need to face their pasts to find the family they need now.

New (awesome!) stuff happening this Winter & Spring!

Check out the Winter & Spring events page to see the newly scheduled awesomeness taking place! The Hobbit party last week was a success and lots of fun, and there is more fun to come. 2013 is nearly upon us, so take your winter break to relax, do some crafts at the Craft-A-Palooza on the 29th, and gear up for what’s happening at the library between January and April.


MCTBA voting: What the heck is a MCTBA? MCTBA stands for Milwaukee County Teen Book Award and means the ONLY local teen book award around! YOU, Milwaukee County teens get to choose the number one book of the year. Vote at Shorewood Library, or online at, or via email to, between January 1 and March 1, 2013!

Bucks Reading Challenge: Challenge yourself to meet the reading goal and win a ticket to a Bucks game! For students in grades 3-10. Register and read between January 2 and February 27.

March Madness Read-A-Thon: Get into the madness of March with a crazy day of mass reading! All ages are welcome to this four hour power read with story telling, silent reading, group reading, talking about books, and all kinds of reading-related hilarity.

Meet the Morris Award

There are so many book awards these days. Whoever says that reading is a dying art has not explored the world of book awards! There also seem to be an increasing number of awards for YA books, which is great for us YA fiends. Here’s one that you might not know about, but which is really worth exploring: The William C. Morris Award, given by the American Library Association, honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author. Looking at the award nominees for this unique award is a great way to find authors you might not have heard of yet! Here’s the list of this year’s nominees:

Wonder Show by Hannah Barnaby


Historical fiction. Set in Depression Era America, Wonder Show follows Portia Remini who is on the run from the creepy McGreavy’s Home for Wayward Girls, and on the hunt for her father.

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Romance. Amelia is 15 and her grocery store coworker crush is…a little older. Set in Australia, this is a funny story of heartbreak and love and, above all, awkwardness.

After the Snow by S.D. Crockett


Post-apocalyptic. In the year 2059 a new Ice Age took the world. Willo Blake was born into this freezing future and must search out his  family after they mysteriously disappear from their mountain home.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post


Realistic/LGBT. The early 1990s was not a great time for the plight of LGBT teens. This fictional look at that time in history tells the memorable and moving story of gay teen Cameron as she makes her way through a gay conversion center.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Fantasy. Dragons and humans co-exist – although not in total harmony – in this cool fantasy debut. Orphan Seraphina grapples with her identity in a magical world rife with scandal and secrets.

Teens’ Top Ten

Grab your library cards and get ready to place some holds: it’s time! Time for the announcement of the 2012 Teens’ Top Ten!

Each year, nominees for the Top Ten are chosen by specially elected teen advisory boards and groups in libraries across the country. From the list of nominees, teens everywhere vote for the top ten. It’s a list of the best teen books, chosen entirely by YOU!

Okay, okay, enough blabbing about details. Get to the list already!

Ahem, without further ado, this year’s winners are…

10. Abandon by Meg Cabot

9. Where She Went by Gayle Forman

8. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

6. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

5. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

3. Legend by Marie Lu

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

And the Number One Book of 2012 is (insert drum roll here)…

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth

The winners range from the realistic fiction of John Green and Sarah Dessen, to the re-imagined fairy tale, Cinder, to post-apocalyptic dystopian titles like Divergent and The Scorpio Races, to a book originally written for adults but completely adopted by teens everywhere, Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, proving that teens have diverse interests and that YA lit is where it’s at!

Winners Announced for the 2012 MCTBA

The winner and honor books have been announced for the 2012 Milwaukee County Teen Book Award!

Shine by Lauren Myracle

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Teen Vote winner)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

For reviews of these great books, along with the other nominees and close calls check out the MCTBA website.