The National Book Awards were announced last night in New York. I'm happy to say that we already own three out of the four winners!
For Fiction: Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnson [F JOH].
For Nonfiction: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner [327.1273 WEI].
For Poetry: Time and Materials by Robert Hass [on order].
For Young People's Literature: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie [YA ALE].
Just a few random thoughts:
Three of the four winners have been released within the last three months, the fourth was released in June. It makes me wonder if a book has a better chance of winning the award if it is fresh in the minds of the judges?
In three of the four winners, the cover art is quite catching. Might cover art have any influence? I'm sure it does for sales!
I was browsing the list of past winners for Young People's Literature and I don't believe any of the winners are picture books. As a writer of picture books, I find this to be distressing. Picture books texts are distilled writing, and as anyone who writes knows, it is often more difficult to write something short than it is to write long. To write an outstanding picture book is definitely an accomplishment! Picture book writers are generally ignored--the Caldecott Medal is given "to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children." The New York Times releases a list of Best Illustrated Books. C'mon guys--it's not fair!