professornana (professornana) wrote,

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winners? perhaps

Every few years, a book wins an award at ALA mid-winter that makes me scratch my head. POSTCARDS FROM NO MAN'S LAND by Aidan Chambers was one of those books that I tried so much to love and just struggled with the reading. I picked it up and put it down numerous times and finally abandoned it for another time when perhaps I will be more receptive. I am a huge fan of Aidan Chambers and wanted so to love this Printz winner. It just did not strike a responsive chord for me. It drives home something I say often: there is no such thing as one book that is right for every reader.

Such is the case this year with Printz Honor Medalist BLACK JUICE, a story collection by Margo Lanagan. As is the case with most story collections, I found this one to be uneven. While many of the stories are absolutely brilliant in their conception and in the delivery, a few fell flat for me. While I applaud the committee's decision to recognize an often overlooked genre, I would have preferred to see a story collection that was an anthology of the work of many authors be recognized. Don Gallo, Michael Cart, and a handful of others have excellent anthologies that often languish. A nod from Printz or Newbery could do much to increase the visibility of these books.

I will be interested in hearing responses from teens about BLACK JUICE. So far, I have had no takers. I do think teachers could easily use several of the stories in class as models of taut writing.

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