Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Aunt's First Annual WHY NOT? Children's Book Awards

You know, it's really getting to me. Newbery awards, Caldecotts, Printz awards, Spirit awards, Academy awards, and now SLJ's Battle of the Children's Books. Not to mention things like Top Ten Literary Crushes (male and female lists) over at Amy's Library of Rock and elsewhere. I feel a sudden strange compulsion to hand out awards...

It's either that or prune the roses. So, without further ado, I give you the Pistachios (because awards are supposed to have nicknames). Naturally, I mostly ignore the 2010 thing and jump all over the place because hey, Dr. Who and I know how to get around!


Most Iconic Children's Books of All Time

—Picture Book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
—Middle Grade: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
—Young Adult: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Books That Redefined the Genre

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Books That Redefined the Market

—Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
—Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
—Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
—The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins


Authors Who Really "Get" Kids

—Picture Book: Kevin Henkes
—Middle Grade: Dav Pilkey and Jeff Kinney
—Young Adult: Sarah Dessen

Best World Builders

—Philip Reeve, most notably in the Hungry City Chronicles
—Shaun Tan: anything he writes/illustrates
—Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan and sequels

Best Weird/Cool Writers

—M.T. Anderson (with the Pals in Peril series and his Octavian Nothing books, he's got range like Mariah Carey!)
—Mac Barnett, The Brixton Brothers series and Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World (with illustrator Dan Santat, who's also pretty weird and cool)
—Barry Deutsch, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (graphic novel; orthodox Jewish girl fighting monsters)
—Neil Gaiman (obviously!), The Graveyard Book
—Adam Gidwitz, A Tale Dark and Grimm (bursting on the scene with gore and snark)
—Emily Gravett, with picture books like Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

Best of the Trillion YA Paranormal Writers

—Kelley Armstrong, The Summoning and sequels (Darkest Powers)
—Holly Black, Tithe and sequels
—Meg Cabot, The Mediator series and other titles
—Rosemary Clement-Moore, Prom Dates from Hell and sequels (Maggie Quinn books)
—Lili St. Crow, Strange Angels and sequels
—Rachel Hawkins, Hex Hall and sequel (one so far!)
—Maggie Stiefvater, Lament and Shiver

Best Newcomers of 2010

—Erin Bow, author of Plain Kate
—Adam Gidwitz, A Tale Dark and Grimm (see Weird/Cool Writers above)
—Clare Vanderpool, author of Moon Over Manifest (this year's Newbery winner)


Most Innovative PR Ever

—James Kennedy, author of the equally innovative book, The Order of Odd-Fish

Best Geek-Chic Brainiac YouTube Star

—John Green, author of Looking for Alaska and other way-intelligent books

Best Publisher's Blog

Under the Green Willow by, yes, Greenwillow (HarperCollins)

Best Kidlit Video Postings

—Betsy Bird's "Video Sunday" feature at A Fuse #8 Production


Top Ten Literary Families (revised from a mere 5!)

—The Casson family from Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel, etc.
—The Murry family from Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and sequels
—The Quimby family from Ramona the Pest and other books by Beverly Cleary
—The Ingalls family from Little House in the Big Woods, etc. by Laura Ingalls Wilder
—The Pevensie family from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
—The Logan family from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and sequels by Mildred D. Taylor
—The Tillerman family from Homecoming and sequels by Cynthia Voigt
—The Clock family from The Borrowers and sequels by Mary Norton
—The Penderwick family in Jeanne Birdsall's book by the same name and sequels
—The Melendy family in Elizabeth Enright's books, starting with The Saturdays

Top Ten Literary Couples

—Laura Chant and Sorry Carlisle in Changeover by Margaret Mahy
—Meliara and Shevraeth from Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
—Sophie and Howl in Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
—Ella and Prince Char in Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
—Amy and Perry in The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
—Dashti and Tegus in Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
—Auden and Eli in Sarah Dessen's Along for the Ride
—Dash and Lily in Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
—Kate and Thomas and Cecilia and James in Sorcery and Cecilia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
—All right, all right! Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (or Katniss and Gale if you're feeling cranky about the whole thing)

Note: The next two lists are in alphabetical order.

Top Ten Girl Characters (excluding ones already named in Best Couple!)

—Anne Shirley of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
—Beka Cooper in Terrier and sequels by Tamora Pierce
—Charlotte (the spider) from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
—Flavia de Luce from The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and sequels by Alan Bradley (I know, they're books for grown-ups, but get a load of the 11-year-old mad scientist/detective who's the narrator!)
—Frankie Landau-Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
—Harriet M. Welch from Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
—Lunch Lady from the middle grade graphic novel series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
—Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
—Rose Casson from Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel and sequels
—Tiffany Aching from The Wee Free Men and sequels by Terry Pratchett

Top Ten Guy Characters (excluding ones already named in Best Couple!)

—Bartimaeus (the genie) in The Amulet of Samarkand and sequels/prequels by Jonathan Stroud
—Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
—Christopher Chant (later Chrestomanci) in The Lives of Christopher Chant and other books by Diana Wynne Jones
—Durango from Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
—Gen (Eugenides) from the Queen's Thief books by Megan Whalen Turner
—Henry York from the 100 Cupboards trilogy by N.D. Wilson
—Moon Blake from Alabama Moon by Watt Key
—Maniac Magee from the book of the same title by Jerry Spinelli
—Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thief and sequels by Rick Riordan
—Stanley Yelnats from Holes by Louis Sachar


Best Use of Crazy Little Blue Men

The Wee Free Men and sequels by Terry Pratchett (I Shall Wear Midnight in 2010)

Best Underwear and Snot Jokes

Manners Mash-up: A Goofy Guide to Good Behavior by Tedd Arnold et al.

Best Use of Metafiction in a Picture Book

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Girliest Homage to Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline

Miss Lina's Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Christine Davenier

Best Alien Invasion

Pod by Stephen Wallenfels

Best Under-Awarded Book

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Angela Barrett


Best Writing in General

—Winner: Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner
—First Runner-up: Granny Dowdel books by Richard Peck
—Second Runner-up: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
—Third Runner-up: Dairy Queen trilogy by Catherine Murdock

Best in Show: a book that's yet to be beat; innovative, iconic, rich, and beautiful

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (see image to right)

Watch this site next March when I may (a) forget all about this or (b) hand out a whole different set of awards!

Please note your suggestions for awards in these or additional categories in the comments.
Because when it comes to the Pistachios, our motto is "Why not?"


Tabatha said...

Excellent! I hope you do the Pistachios again next year :-)

Anonymous said...

Whoooo-whee! The Pistachios: for the Book Nuts of the world.

Are you giving us solid, informed, sedate, educated opinions in these awards, or going with your own gut feelings? Because your educated opinions are quite a lot of fun if the former, and your own gut feelings are quite solid and informed if the latter. I don't know if they can always qualify as "sedate" but who wants that anyway.

There is so much awesomeness here I don't know where to begin. The picture in the New Media section is very pretty, where is it from? (When all else fails, don't even mention the actual content!)

I feel I should maybe list all my favorite characters who don't count as "crushes," because they kind of slipped through the cracks when I went and listed crushes. The Guys I love insanely but don't swoon for, the Girls who mean so much to me but I don't bow before their Awesomeness. SAM GAMGEE, who I went and named my SON after, for example. MEG MURRY. (I beg to differ, the Murrys totally beat the Cassons. Though the Melendys might beat the Murrys, come to think).

Other awards: best book for someone who [insert unusual but genuine situation here].... You could make a whole post just of Books for Someone Who...s!

alisonwonderland said...

Terrific lists!

Kate Coombs said...

Amy--"...for the Book Nuts"; perfect!

Gut meets mind = mutt? (Sedate, though? Never.)

The photo in the New Media section is from AT&T Yahoo's vast library of images. I got it by searching for "Internet." I think it's some kind of global map or at least representation of web connections, but in any case, it IS very pretty.

Murrys vs. Cassons--I can picture that as a WWF wrestling match! No, they would be more likely to go on a picnic together and mix talk of art and science. The Murrys definitely have better parents, but it's the Casson kids I like so much. Call it a tie. Hey, the Melendys are welcome to come on the picnic, too. Though perhaps I should have added the Gamgee clan to my list, if not the Baggins bunch. :)

I did notice your distinction between favorite characters and crush targets. I went more with the former, as you can see.

I like your "best book for someone who..." idea. Maybe next year, when all the rules for the Pistachios are bound to change!

Chachic said...

Awesome list! So many of my own favorites were mentioned here. I love the literary couples that you highlighted. And yay for MWT for Best Writing. She totally deserves that award.

Also, can I just say that I love pistachios?

Kate Coombs said...

Thanks, Alison and Chachic!

I should be sending the winners packages of pistachios, I suppose...

Anonymous said...

I confess to a small pang of disappointment that Taran and Eilonwy (from Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles) didn't make it onto either the Couples or the Best Characters list ... but then, I suppose I can't expect my favorites to match everybody else's. And I am so tickled that the Melendys were mentioned - I so love them, and it seems that so few others do!

Kate Coombs said...

Taran and Eilonwy--good one! I simply didn't think of them. Of course, 10 is an awfully limiting number! I suppose I leaned a bit more toward recent stuff for some of these lists, but I'm glad I included the Melendys. I sort of wanted to put the family from Half Magic, as well. Or what about the Pevensys? Yipes! I should have put them! Or the family from Jane Langton's Thoreau-ish books. Not to mention the Marches from Little Women. Or the Fossils from Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes. And so it goes, with much second guessing... :)

Anonymous said...

Overachieve much? Some of us do things like this in spurts. :)

My thoughts as I read:
Holes ♥♥♥
Kevin Henkes: definitely gets kids
Erin Bow: I'm very much looking forward to more from her.
Under the Greenwillow ♥
I love both the Penderwicks and the Murrys!
Why is Attolia not on that list of girls? (She is my absolute favorite of all time.)
Why are Gen and Irene not on that list of couples? (Am beginning to think you might have issues with Attolia. We may need to talk.)
But your Guys list is made of win. ♥♥♥♥♥

Kate Coombs said...

Brandy--Ha. Yes, I was on a roll!

Thanks for your comments. As for Gen and Irene, I made up a rule to either put people on the Couples list or the Girls/Guys list because I found I was doubling up and wanted to ensure broader coverage. I couldn't bear not putting Gen on the Guys list, as he's one of my favorite characters of all time. So there you have it. But yeah, Gen and Irene--strange yet deeply wonderful couple!

James Kennedy said...

I demand my ceremonial pistachio immediately!

Anonymous said...

A Murry/Casson family picnic would be the most awesome geeky-conversation-breeding ground EVER! That's DEFINITELY the way to do it!

Also yes, to the comments, I would put the Pevensies on my list. And the family from Archer's Goon whose name I can't remember at the moment.

Kate Coombs said...

James--Er, it's hand delivery only... Next time I'm back East, I'll be sure to stop by!

Amy--You are SO invited to the picnic. We'll let James Kennedy come too. I can serve pistachio ice cream. :)

And maybe I'll just go put the Pevensies in that list! I'm all for revising posts, especially when it comes to people like Lucy.

Bigfoot said...

Great selections. Lots of my favorites are on here.

How about a best canine character category? I'd nominate Beverly Cleary's Ribsy and the hat aficionado in P.D. Eastman's GO, DOG, GO!

Kate Coombs said...

Thanks, Bigfoot! Great idea about the dogs--Go Dog, Go! is one of the best books EVER, especially for doubtful beginning readers. And Ribsy rocks!

Mary Ann Scheuer said...

Kate, I adore your list and hope you'll do it again. What fun!
Your picnic should definitely be next to the Nasel River with the whole Jackson family from Our Only May Amelia. They're a great gang, and you'll have a blast! As long as you don't get chased by Friendly the Bull :-)

I just finished Trouble for May Amelia - a wonderful sequel by the amazing Jennifer Holm.

many thanks for a fun, creative way to visit old friends

Kate Coombs said...

Thanks, Mary Ann! You can tell I had fun. And the Jackson family will go on my picnic invitation list. (You can come, too!) Jennifer Holm is amazing--I need to read more of her books! I'm definitely a Babymouse fan, but I haven't read all the others...