Walter Dean Myers, author of "Monster," was named the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults. "Monster," illustrated by Christopher Myers and published by HarperCollins, tells the suspenseful, emotionally charged story of a 16-year-old arrested for murder.
The announcement was made January 17 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio. The annual award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of ALA, and sponsored by Booklist magazine.
The new award honors the late Michael L. Printz, a Topeka, Kan., school librarian, known for discovering and promoting quality books for young adults.
"The detached style of the screen play, juxtaposed with the anguished journal entries, reveals the struggle within Steve's conscience," said Frances B. Bradburn, chair of Printz Award Selection Committee. "Distinctive format creates narrative and moral suspense that will leave readers with questions that have no real answers."
Myers, of Jersey City, N.J., developed "Monster," edited by Phoebe Yeh, out of 600 hours of interviews with prisoners in jails and New Jersey and New York. His is the recipient of a Margaret A. Edwards Award for distinguished contribution to young adult literature. The five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and a recipient of Newbery Honor Awards for "Scorpions" and "Somewhere in the Darkness."
Three Honor Books were named: "Hard Love" by Ellen Wittlinger, edited by David Gale, published by Simon & Schuster; "Skellig" by David Almond, published by Delacorte Press, originally published in Great Britain by Hodder Children's Books; and "Speak," by Laurie Halse Anderson, edited by Elizabeth Mikesell, published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
Members of the Printz Award Committee are: Frances Bradburn, chair, Public Schools of North Carolina, Raleigh; Marie Gentle, Arlington County Department Libraries, Burke, Va.; Donald Kenney, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Christiansburg; Judy Nelson, Bellevue Regional Library, Seattle; Adela Peskorz, Metropolitan State University, Woodbury, Minn.; Hazel Rochman, ALA Books for Youth, Chicago; Pat Scales, South Carolina Governor's School of the Arts and Humanities, Greenville; Karlan Sick, New York Public Library; Roger Sutton, Horn Book Inc., Charlestown, Mass.; and Hazel Yliniemi, Fargo (N.D.) Public Schools.
2000 Honor Books
by David Almond
A boy discovers a fragile, mysterious winged being sheltered in his garage in "Skellig," edited by Lawrence David, and tries to help coping with anxiety and grief about his baby sister's critical illness. "This lyrical, richly layered tale of magical realism touches on universal themes of loneliness, friendship and grace," Bradburn said.
Almond, who grew up in northeast England's, has been a mailman, a brush salesman, editor and teacher. "Skellig" received the 1999 Great Britain Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award. Almond's latest book, "Kit's Wilderness," will be released in March.
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Farrar Straus Giroux
A trauma has silenced Melinda and caused her to be rejected by students in her high school in "Speak." "With immediacy and wit, Melinda's caustic, surprisingly funny observations capture today's high school life," Bradburn said. "This compelling, first-person narrative carries the reader from Melinda's state of isolation to the moment she finds the power to speak."
"Speak" is Anderson's first novel. She gathered her material by listening to her teenage daughter and her friends as she drove her friends to and from school.
by Ellen Wittlinger
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
"Hard Love," edited by David Gale, is about a 16-year-old who falls in love with a "rich, spoiled, lesbian, private-school-gifted-and-talented writer virgin." According to Bradburn, "With funning, fast-paced dialogue and vivid, off-beat characters, this story of love, friendship and a fractured family, is rooted in the contemporary zine scene."
Wittlinger is a former children's librarian and author of two other young adult novels – "Noticing Paradise" and "Lombardo's Law."
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