One Writer’s Journey

September 19, 2019

National Book Award: Long List for 2019 Award for Young People’s Literature Released

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:20 am
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If you write for teens and you often find yourself inspired by what is making headline news, you need to check out the National Book Awards.  In my experience, the National Book Foundation gravitates towards books that could be ripped from today’s headlines.  The long list for 2019 has just been announced.  These are the books from which the finalists and ultimately the winner will be chosen.  They are:

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrations by Kadir Nelson (Versify/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Originally a poem, this title is an ode to the strength of Black Americans in the past and today.

SHOUTby Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House). A memoir in verse.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Make Me a World/Penguin Random House). A fantasy story about about what the world is like after the school shooting, police brutality and prison crazy modern age.

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata (With illustrations by Julia Kuo Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Simon & Schuster). The story of a Japanese American family repatriated to Japan after World War II.

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Simon & Schuster). A collection of short stories about the after school activities of a group of middle school students.

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Kokila/Penguin Random House). When Jay’s drug addicted cousin, Jun, is murdered, he journeys to the Philippines where he was born to find out what happened.

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Publishers) is based on the author’s mother-in-law’s experience growing up in a World War II era Chicago orphanage.

1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler (Bloomsbury Children’s Books/Bloomsbury Publishing). Each chapter deals with a different pivotal event from the Great Molasses Flood to the onset of Prohibition.

Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve (Triangle Square/Seven Stories Press). A fantasy about a gender-queer character who becomes a zombie in a fatal car accident.

Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (First Second Books/Macmillan Publishers). A graphic novel that deals with transphobia and sexuality and well as hypocrisy as the main character grows up in a conservative household and school.

Admittedly, I only have one of these books, Patron Saints of Nothing, on my shelf at the moment but I’m eager to request others.  So many fascinating stories, many of which combine history with today’s headlines, to explore.


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