2011 Morris Award


2011 Winner

The Freak Observer


The Freak Observer

By Blythe Woolston, published by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group

Loa, a strong, intelligent, hardworking sixteen-year-old girl experiences a year of loss.  While trying to take care of her family and make it through school, she ponders the laws of physics as she tries to understand what can never make sense.

“With insightful humor and an impressive economy of language, Woolston brings a fresh voice to teen fiction that will challenge and delight readers,” said Morris Award Chair Summer Hayes.

Read Woolston's speech (PDF) from the awards reception.

2011 Finalists

HushGuardian of the DeadHold Me Closer, NecromancerCrossing the Tracks

Hush by Eishes Chayil, published by Walker Publishing Company, a division of Bloomsbury Publishing, Inc.

Growing up in her insular Chassidic Jewish community has always made Gittel feel secure and given her a sense of belonging.  But when her best friend, Devory, hangs herself after being sexually abused, her faith in the group is challenged and only gradually does she find ways to express her desire for the community to deal with the issue.

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey, published by Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group

Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just trying to make it through her last year of high school, but a chance interaction with the school's weirdo, Mark Nolan, puts her on a very different path filled with Maori legends come to life.

Read Healey's speech (PDF) from the awards reception.

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, published by Henry Holt

Sam thinks his life working in a fast food restaurant is awful.  But when he's confronted by a powerful necromancer, he learns that everything he thought was true about his life — isn't.

Read McBride's speech (PDF) from the awards reception.

Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber, published by Margaret McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

In the 1920s, Iris' emotionally distant father sends her to rural Missouri to act as a companion to an elderly woman while he heads to Kansas City with his fiance. Iris' mother died when she was five, and it takes her some time to learn to care for Mrs. Nesbitt and see her own future with optimism.

Read Stuber's speech (PDF) from the awards reception.

2011 Committee

Members of the 2011 William C. Morris Award are: Chair Summer Hayes, King County Library System, Tukwila, Wash.; Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Carol Edwards, Denver Public Library; Alison M. Hendon, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Diana Tixier Herald, Mesa County Valley School District #51, Grand Junction, Colo.; RoseMary Honnold, Voice of Youth Advocates, Coshocton, Ohio; Kathleen Taylor Isaacs, Pasadena, Md.; Angie Manfredi, Los Alamos County (N.M.) Library System; Adela Peskorz, Metropolitan State University Library and Learning Center, St. Paul, Minn.; Amy Anderson, administrative assistant, Bellevue (Wash.) Regional Library, and Ilene Cooper, Booklist consultant, Chicago.