The finalists for the 2018 Nebula Awards have been announced by The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Winners will be announced in May. The awards are given in several categories, one of which is focused on youth adult science fiction and fantasy. Here are the finalists in that category:
THE ANDRE NORTON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING YOUNG ADULT SCIENCE FICTION OR FANTASY BOOK
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
A Light in the Dark by A.K. DuBoff
Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien
Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar (9781338283372)
Celi loves to dance, especially when her best friend is drumming. She’s danced since she was a toddler, but now everything else seems to be changing. Her body is changing into a woman’s body. She has a crush on a boy. She has to figure out how to support her best friend being genderfluid. Meanwhile, her mother is pressuring her to have a moon ceremony when Celi gets her first period. Celi can’t imagine anything more embarrassing. Celi has some difficult decisions to make, and she makes mistakes along the way. As Celi pushes people she loves most away, she will need to figure out how to be the person she wants to be before she loses her best friend forever.
Written in verse, this novel is dazzling. Salazar combines themes of feminism, connection to one’s culture, self expression, and gender fluidity into one amazing novel. Her verse is well written and just right for young readers without being overly simplistic. Comparisons to Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret are apt with its focus on menstruation and growing up as a young girl.
Celi is a marvelous character. She is a character who makes mistakes that are bad enough that readers will get angry at her as she makes certain decisions in the novel. Still, she is always likable and the book shows the flawed reasons she has for making the choices she does. Celi’s connection to her mother is strained in most of the novel and one of the most important parts of the novel is when they finally start communicating and working together.
A great verse novel for middle grade readers that takes classic themes and makes them fresh again. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Arthur A. Levine Books.
The longlist for the 2019 CILIP Kate Greenaway Longlist has been announced. Given for the best in illustration in children’s books, the award is one of the longest running UK awards for children’s literature. Here are the 20 books that made the longlist:
Animals with Tiny Cat by Viviane Schwarz
Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova
Bob’s Blue Period by Marion Deuchars
The Day the War Came by Nicola Davies
The Family Tree by Mal Peet, illustrated by Emma Shoard
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill
If All the World Were… by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys
Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Colfer, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
The Last Wolf by Mini Grey
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris
Mary’s Monster by Lita Judge
Mrs. Noah’s Pockets by Jackie Morris, illustrated by James Mayhew
Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love
Ocean Meets Sky by Eric and Terry Fan
A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker
Suffragette: The Battle for Equality by David Roberts
The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
This Zoo Is Not for You by Ross Collins
You’re Safe with Me by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Poonam Mistry
The longlist for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Longlist has been announced. This and the Kate Greenaway Medal are the two oldest UK book awards for youth. The medals are judged by children’s librarians. Here are the 20 finalists who made the longlist, selected from over 250 books that were nominated:
The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
The Colour of the Sun by David Almond
A Different Boy by Paul Jennings
Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales by Hilary McKay
The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Mud by Emily Thomas
My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner
Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki by Kevin Crossley-Holland
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
Station Zero by Philip Reeve
Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nichols
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan
How to Give Your Cat a Bath by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by John Martz (9780735263543)
A simple five-step guide to giving your cat a bath becomes a romp of a picture book. Just filling the tub with the right amount of water is a challenge. First too much, then too little. Then the cat disappears. Maybe it’s time for a milk and cookie break? The girl returns to the bathroom with her cat, but now the water is cold. The cat escapes again. She chases after forgetting to turn off the water which creates a flood. Once the water is mopped up, it’s time to start again. Or perhaps there’s a simpler solution?
The flat voice of a guide book adds so much to the humor here. The timing is also exceptionally done with the design of the page turns adding a touch of suspense to the fun. The entire book is lighthearted and played for laughs. The art is done in simple lines which emphasizes the chaos that eventually occurs on the page. The messes accumulate, moving into new rooms.
A complete giggle-fest of a book particularly for families who love cats. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Neighbors by Einat Tsarfati (9781419731686)
A little girl with a big imagination lives in a seven-story building. On her way up to the seventh floor, where she lives, she imagines who lives behind each of the other doors. Each floor has a different door with things outside that give her clues to the type of family or person who might live there. She imagines that the door with many locks and lots of security leads to a family of thieves. Another door with lots of plants outside opens to a jungle lived in by an old explorer and his pet tiger. As she climbs higher, her imagination gets wilder, filling the apartments with vampires, pirates and mermaids. Her home is the most mundane, or is it?
Told in first person by the little girl, this book builds off of a straightforward concept and into a world of make-believe. The text is simple, steadily counting upwards as the girl ascends the stairs. The girl’s imagination is vivid and captivating with much of it being shown in the illustrations rather than being told in the text.
The illustrations are done in bright colors, moving from the white backgrounds of the stairway and hall to bright colors that each imaginative family lives inside. Their apartments are filled with details that are worth lingering over too.
A very enjoyable look at living in an apartment building and using one’s imagination. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Abrams.
The NAACP Image Awards include literary categories with one award specifically focused on Outstanding Literary Work for Youth/Teens. Here are the nominees, a nice mix of fiction and nonfiction:
Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr’s Assassin by James L. Swanson
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
We Are Not Yet Equal: Understanding Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson with Tonya Bolden
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia (9780062691330)
Dani is the best Primera student in her class. As she nears graduation, she knows she will be paired with one of the most powerful men in society along with a Secunda. The Primera helps her husband with business and politics while the Secunda bears and raises their children. Dani has worn a mask for her entire time at school, living under an assumed identity in order to have a life different from her parents who live in poverty near the border of the wall. When her papers are about to be inspected, she is rescued by a man who brings her new ones. But when Dani is asked to spy on her new husband, she realizes she must start to make choices about what world she wants to live in. As time goes by, Dani gets closer with Carmen, the Secunda in their trio. Carmen had bullied Dani at school, but as tensions rise and arrests are made, Dani must find someone to trust. Her heart believes she can trust Carmen, but is that just desire talking?
Mejia has created a magnificent look at our modern society through the lens of a fantasy world. The world has a large wall that marks the border. There is strong rhetoric by the ruling class that those on the other side of the wall are less than human. Beautifully, she uses Latinx elements to create a deep and rich world in which her characters live in constant danger. Dani and the reader have no idea who to trust or who is working with the rebels. The use of the marriage of one man to two women adds a creepy note to the book and says even more about the value of women in a society and the extent of the privilege at play.
Dani is a character I loved from the very first pages. She is immensely flawed in ways that make sense given her traumatic experiences and the secrets she must keep. She remains emotionally connected with her family, thinking about them often even as she keeps a placid face all the time. As she struggles with feeling desire for Carmen, it is not about Carmen being a woman but about her training as a Primera. Their connection is an example of how Mejia takes trust and twists it, making for a book that is a wild and wonderful ride.
Latinx, LGBTQ love, political intrigue, and a vivid fantasy world come together to make an impressive teen read. Appropriate for ages 15-18.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Katherine Tegen Books.
The winners of the 2019 Lollies (Laugh Out Loud) Book Awards have been announced. The award celebrates the funniest children’s books. The winners are selected from a shortlist and voted on by children in the UK.
BEST PICTURE BOOK
Mr. Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan
BEST 6-8s BOOK
The Big, Fat, Totally Bonkers Diary of a Pig by Emer Stamp
BEST 9-13s BOOK
Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (Kind Of) by Liz Pichon