ALAN v24n1 - THE MEMBERSHIP CONNECTION -National Book Award for Young People's Literature

Volume 24, Number 1
Fall 1996


Chris Crowe

Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

National Book Award for Young People's Literature

For the first time in its history, the National Book Foundation will present the National Book Award for Young People's Literature at the 46th annual National Book Awards Ceremony and Gala, to be held on Wednesday, November 6, at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Books representing all genres, written for children and young adults by American citizens, will be eligible for the award. The winner will receive $10,000. For additional information about the Foundation's educational literacy outreach initiatives for young people, or to be placed on the mailing list for guidelines for the 1996 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, call the Foundation at (212) 685-0261.

YA Books Among the Top 50 All-Time Best Sellers

YA novels are well represented in the top 50 all-time best-selling paperback children's and young adult books. Number two on the list is S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders with 7,798,000 copies sold. Others YA novels in the top 20 are

  • 4. Shane (6,161,000),
  • 5. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (6,015,000),
  • 6. Where the Red Fern Grows (5,625,000),
  • 7. A Wrinkle in Time (5,617,000),
  • 8. Island of the Blue Dolphins (5,513,000),
  • 13. Blubber (4,265,000),
  • 14. Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (4,240,000),
  • 15. Johnny Tremain (4,142,000),
  • 16. Go Ask Alice (4,100,000),
  • 17. That Was Then, This is Now (3,869,000),
  • 20. The Witch of Blackbird Pond (3,518,000).

Other notable YA books that made the list include Zindel's The Pigman (2,851,300) at number 37, Norma Klein's It's Not What You Expect (2,500,0000 ) at number 44 and at number 50, Patricia MacLachlan's Sarah, Plain and Tall (2,362,085).

Help for Reluctant Readers

NCTE recently released its seventh edition of High Interest -- Easy Reading: An Annotated Booklist for Middle School and Senior High School. Edited by Patricia Phelan and her committee, the book serves as a handy reference to fiction and nonfiction published in 1993 and 1994. Chapter headings include the standard "Adventure," "Biography," Mystery," and "Sports," as well as "Folklore and Legends," How-to Books," and "Issues of Our Time." Each chapter lists books alphabetically by authors' names. The entries include an annotation of the book, awards received, suggestions for related reading, and multicultural connections. The entries also note whether the book contains mature language or themes. The 115-page paperback costs NCTE members $8.95.

New Editor at The Horn Book

Roger Sutton has been named as Editor in Chief of The Horn Book , one of the nation's oldest publications devoted to literature for children and young adults. Prior to his appointment at The Horn Book , Sutton was editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has also worked as a young adult librarian and has taught children's literature at several universities.

Delacorte Press Contest for First YA Novel

Delacorte Press sponsors an annual contest for a first young adult novel. Manuscripts, which must be between 100 and 224 typewritten pages, are accepted between October 1 and December 31, 1996. First prize is $1500 plus $6000 advance against royalties. Winner of the most recent contest was A. M. Jenkins of Benbrook, Texas, for her novel, Opening the Box. Shelley Sykes of Arendtsville, Pennsylvania, won an Honor Book award for her novel For Mike. Contest entries should be sent to Delacorte Press Contest, Bantam Doubleday Dell BFYR, 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

YA Novel and Its Cousin Blow into Hollywood

Could it be that on a dark and stormy night, a YA novel influenced the draft of a Hollywood screenwriter? The blockbuster movie sweeping the country, Twister [ not the biography of Chubby Checkers], may have been inspired by the success of YA author Ivy Ruckman's novel, Night of the Twisters , which this year was produced as a movie and broadcast by the Family Channel. Certainly a whirlwind of debate will surround this issue. It is equally as certain that there will be spin-offs of these current films. Look for movie goers to storm the box offices with gusto.

Award-Winning YA Books

The Newbery and Other ALA Awards

Karen Cushman's The Midwife's Apprentice won the 75th Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in 1995. The Newbery Committee named four Honor Books: What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman, The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, Yolanda's Genius by Carol Fenner, and The Great Fire by Jim Murphy.

Virginia Hamilton's Her Stories won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. The King Book Selection Jury also selected three Author Honor Books: The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, Like Sisters on the Homefront by Rita Williams-Garcia, and From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson.

Judy Blume was the 1996 recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults. Katherine Paterson was selected to present the 1997 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

1996 American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults

This year's list includes 81 titles, 34 nonfiction and 47 fiction, that satisfy the criteria of good literary quality and popular appeal to young adult readers. Four of the books received a unanimous vote from the 15-member panel: Ironman by Chris Crutcher, Middle Passage by Tom Feelings, The Road Home , by Ellen White, and From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson. A two-color brochure with a complete list, including annotations, is available from ALA Graphics, 255 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606-1719. Telephone: (800) 545-2433. The news release and complete list can also be viewed on the Internet at

1995 Americas Book Award for YA Literature

In 1993, the national Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) initiated a yearly children's and YA book award, with a commended list of titles. The award is given to a U.S. work published in English or Spanish which authentically and engagingly presents the experience of individuals in Latin American or the Caribbean or of Latinos in the U.S. The 1995 winner was Tonight by Sea by Frances Temple. Honorable Mention status was given to An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio by Judith Ortiz Cofer, Chato's Kitchen by Gary Soto, and Heart of a Jaguar by Marc Talbert.

Iowa Teen Awards Books 1996-97

The Iowa Educational Media Association recently announced the results of "best books" selected by Iowa students:

  • Cry of the Wolf Melvin Burgess
  • Driver's Ed Carolyn B. Cooney
  • Rebounder Thomas Dygard
  • Zlata's Diary Zlata Filipovic
  • Martin the Warrior Brian Jacques
  • Real Heroes Marilyn Kaye
  • The Chief Robert Lipsyte
  • Daniel's Story Carol Matas
  • Harris and Me Gary Paulsen
  • Twice Taken Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • Thirteen Going on Seventeen Marilyn Sachs
  • Out of Nowhere Ouida Sebestyen
  • It Happened to Nancy Beatrice Sparks, ed.
  • Make Lemonade Virginia Euwer Wolff
  • Share of Freedom June Rae Wood
New Jersey Reading Association M. Jerry Weiss Award

The children of New Jersey selected The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith as the winner of the M. Jerry Weiss Award. Scieszka and Smith accepted the award at a luncheon in March.

Volunteer State Book Award

The Tennessee Library Association sponsors the annual Volunteer State Book Award. Students vote on their favorite book from a master list of 20 recent titles. Here are this year's winners:

The Ghosts of Mercy Manor
by Betty Ren Wright

Young Adult
Heart of a Champion
by Carl Deuker

Recent Books by ALAN Members

Sandy Asher
Dancing with Strangers: A Program of Three Short Plays (Dramatic Publications)

Betty Carter
Best Books for Young Adults: The Selection, The History, The Romance (ALA)

Leila Christenbury
Books for You: An Annotated Booklist for Senior High Students (NCTE)

Robert Cormier
In the Middle of the Night (Delacorte)

Linda Crew
Fire on the Wind (Delacorte)

Don Gallo
Join In: Multiethnic Short Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults (Delacorte)
Ultimate Sports: Shorts Stories by Outstanding Writers for Young Adults (Delacorte)
From Hinton to Hamlet: Building Bridges between Young Adult Literature and the Classics [with Sara K. Herz] (Greenwood Press)

Mel Glenn
Who Killed Mr. Chippendale? (Lodestar)

Will Hobbs
Beardream (Atheneum)

Joan Kaywell
Adolescent Literature as a Complement to the Classics , volumes 1-3 (Christopher Gordon)

M. E. Kerr
Deliver Us from Evie (HarperCollins)

Virginia Monseau
Responding to Young Adult Literature (Boynton/Cook)
Presenting Ouida Sebestyen (Twayne)
Reading Their World: The Young Adult Novel in the Classroom [edited with Gary Salvner], (Boynton/Cook)

Martha Moore
Under the Mermaid Angel

Louise Plummer
The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman (Delacorte)

Arthea (Charlie) Reed
Reaching Adolescents: The Young Adult Book and the School (Merrill)
Comics to Classics: A Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens (Penguin).

Hazel Rochman
Bearing Witness: Stories of the Holocaust [with Darlene McCampbell] (Orchard)

Graham Salisbury
Under the Blood-Red Sun (Delacorte)

Gary Salvner
Reading Their World: The Young Adult Novel in the Classroom [edited with Virginia Monseau], (Boynton/Cook)

Alan Teasley
Reel Connections: Reading Films with Young Adults [with Ann Wilder] (Heinemann)

Ann Wilder
Reel Connections: Reading Films with Young Adults [with Alan Teasley] (Heinemann)

Please send news of interest to ALAN Members to Chris Crowe, 3135 JKHB, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602 or via e-mail at