ALAN v28n2 - The First Printz Award Designations: Winners All
The First Printz Award Designations: Winners All
Jean Pollard Dimmitt
On January 17, 2000, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) of the American Library Association announced the winning book and three honor books for the newly created Michael L. Printz Award. The award honors the late Michael L. Printz, who was an advocate for young adult literature. In addition to his duties as librarian at Topeka West High School in Topeka, Kansas, he served YALSA as a member of both the Best Books for Young Adults Committee and the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and he taught young adult literature to preservice and practicing teachers at Washburn University. Printz was knowledgable and enthusiastic about the value of young adult literature. It has been said of him that "finding the right book for the right student at the right time was not just a slogan to Mike - he lived it" ( ALA, Who Was Michael Printz ) . It is fitting that this major new award commemorates his life and work.
The Printz Award, sponsored by Booklist magazine, honors the best young adult book published the previous year. The winner and up to four honor books will be selected by a YALSA committee on the basis of literary merit. Recognizing that literary merit is hard to define, YALSA has enumerated the following flexible criteria that are to be demonstrated by the books: "story, voice, style, setting, accuracy, characters, theme, design (including format, organization, etc.), and illustration" ( ALA, Michael L. Printz ). Winning books do not have to exhibit all of the characteristics, and they may be in any genre.
At the midwinter meeting of the ALA, Frances B. Bradburn, chairperson of the selection committee, announced the first winner of the Printz Award: Monster by Walter Dean Myers. The committee also designated three honor books: Skellig by David Almond, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. What do these books have in common that make them unusual and outstanding examples of young adult literature? They are structurally sophisticated, and they have memorable characters who deal with significant issues. These significant issues or themes sometimes overlap. Monster, Speak, and Hard Love deal with the search for identity; Skellig, Speak , and Hard Love explore friendship; and all four novels examine facets of truth.
As is frequently the case with young adult literature, the protagonist of each novel is also the first person narrator. In Monster , sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon, who is on trial for murder, analyzes his part in a robbery that results in a storekeeper's death. He seeks to determine who he is-a monster, as the prosecutor labels him and as the title reflects- or a human being. He has taken a film class in high school and contends with the pressures of the trial and incarceration by pretending to film the courtroom events. He has also been given a notebook which serves him as a journal. In this he writes:
I can hardly think about the movie, I hate this place so much. But if I didn't think of the movie I would go crazy. All they talk about in here is hurting people. If you look at somebody, they say, "What you looking at me for? I'll mess you up!" ...
I hate this place. I hate this place. I can't write it enough times to make it look the way I feel. I hate, hate, hate this place!! ( Monster, 45-46 )
In his cell he is constantly afraid, and in the courtroom he is constantly afraid. This fear distorts reality, and the supposed filmmaking and the journal help Steve to cope. The film serves a second purpose as well. Although Steve conveys events in his own voice, he describes the scenes in the courtroom from different distances - closeup, middle, or long range - and from different participants' points of view through snippets of dialogue.
When presenting the award, Bradburn observed, "The detached style of the screen play, juxtaposed with the anguished journal entries, reveals the struggle within Steve's conscience" ( ALA, Walter Dean Myers ). In addition, the multiplicity of views given through the snippets of dialogue forces the reader to examine Steve's role in the crime and the extent of his guilt.
In the case of Monster , format contributes to structure and theme. The cover of the book replicates a police record, which includes fingerprints, and the book jacket bears a mug shot. Once the reader opens the book, he or she sees that the courtroom scenes are in typical type on white paper whereas the journal entries appear to be printed by hand on gray paper. These differences reinforce the sense of distance and intimacy as well as take the reader from the world of the courtroom where clear distinctions are made into the world of the mind where truth and fear blend to create a gray reality.
Skellig is less innovative structurally than Monster , but it is no less demanding for the young adult reader because Almond relies heavily on two complex stylistic devices: allusion and symbolism. This book is especially challenging for the literal-minded, objective reader. It calls for one of Coleridge's willing suspensions of disbelief. Michael, the protagonist and first person narrator, who has moved with his family to a new home, discovers a creature in the dilapidated garage. The creature identifies himself as Skellig and appears to be an infirm man with angel wings. He has a close affinity with owls, to the extent that owls feed him and that he regurgitates pellets of indigestible matter as owls do. The mythical allusions and the literary allusions contribute to the skeptical reader's ability to accept the story as well as to the theme.
On Michael's first day back at school following his discovery of Skellig, Michael's English teacher tells the story of Icarus, the young dreamer who attached wings to his back with wax and then flew too close to the sun causing the wax to melt and him to plunge to his death ( 13-14 ). Icarus' wings are artificially affixed, but the presence of a myth about a winged man begins to soften the reader's resistance.
The second mythological allusion is to the legend of Proserpine, who was allowed to return once a year from the underworld where Pluto had taken her. Her return corresponds with the arrival of spring and the renewal of life. The allusions are more directly connected to the struggle for life experienced by Michael's premature baby sister, but they also serve to remind the reader of the possibility of miraculous happenings.
In addition to these references to myths, there are no less than ten references to William Blake or to his work. Three of these allusions refer to either the repressive nature of traditional education or its practices ( 50, 59, and 90 ). In the third, Mina baits Michael about his having been labeled a mature reader and asks him which level he thinks Blake's deceptively simple little poem "Tyger" would be for ( 90 ). Introducing "Tyger" also introduces the question of creation, because the poem asks who could and then who dared make the tiger. This poem, one of the Songs of Experience , expresses an ambiguous position toward the creation of the tiger. Skellig himself is an ambiguous figure. He is dirty and has bad breath, yet he has angel wings and embodies love. The reader familiar with the poem moves easily from the question of who made the tiger to who made Skellig.
Two quick references to Blake occur in an argument between Mina and Michael ( 109 and 110 ), but in others Almond uses Blake to introduce mysticism and the existence of angels, thus continuing to soften the reader's resistance to the spiritual nature of this tale. The final Blake reference comes when Michael questions a physician about the healing nature of love. He inquires, "Can love help a person get better?" and the doctor responds with a quotation implied to be from Blake: '"Love is the child that breathes our breath/ Love is the child that scatters death"' ( 161 ). When Michael asks if the words are William Blake's, the doctor says, '"We have an educated man before us,"' ( 161 ) implying that the words are Blake's. Whether the lines are Blake's or an imitation of his style, they encapsulate the theme of the novel: the power of love.
In addition to the numerous allusions in Skellig , Almond employs symbols in the novel. Mina watches a family of blackbirds and teaches Michael to listen and to observe nature via the birds. The fledgling birds' journey to maturity parallels the baby's struggle for life and her eventual recovery. Moreover, the parents nurture the baby birds into adulthood just as Mina and Michael physically nurture Skellig and as Skellig spiritually nurtures the children.
Skellig himself may be a symbol. When Michael asks Skellig what he is, Skellig replies, "'Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel'" ( 167 ). The reader recognizes that he or she is like Skellig - part beast, part angel. This opens the possibility that Skellig is in fact a manisfestation of a part of Michael. Almond's choice of names may also be a hint in that direction. Skellig Michael is a small, rocky island off the southwestern coast of Ireland, where a monastery by the same name exists ( Skellig Michael ). If Skellig Michael is one island and one monastery, perhaps the novel's Skellig and Michael are two facets of one being: the spiritual and the physical.
In Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak , as in the other novels, the protagonist serves as first person narrator. Melinda Sordino tells the story of her freshman year at Merryweather High School, where she experiences social and emotional isolation. Little by little snatches are given which enable the reader to piece together the events that occurred before school started that result in this state of affairs. Melinda had gone to a beer party with friends. She drank three beers, and Andy Evans, a senior, danced with her and then raped her. It is not until page 135 that the reader sees the actual event. When Evans asks if she wants to, she is confused and silent. She is after all thirteen and drunk. When he has her on the ground, however, she says no. He covers her mouth with his hand, and "In my head, my voice is as clear as a bell: 'NO I DON'T WANT TO!'" In shock, she calls 911 for help, and the police come, but she becomes frightened and walks home during the confusion, leaving everyone at the party to think she called the police because the party was getting out of hand. As a result, she is regarded as an informer, and treated as an outcast.
The time span of the book is an entire school year. Melinda's grades fall; she skips class and school. Her only companion is Heather, a new girl, who dumps Melinda when she no longer needs her. Melinda becomes increasingly silent at school and at home. It is at this point that two potent symbols emerge.
The first is the closet at school that becomes Melinda's refuge. When she cuts class, she needs a place to go, and she discovers an unused broom closet. Her retreat to this secret place reinforces her loneliness and isolation. She decorates it by hanging a picture of Maya Angelou. Angelou, of course, was raped as a child herself. Melinda also brings some of her art work to this room. Art is the only class in which Melinda experiences any success.
It is fitting that Melinda finally breaks her silence in this room. As spring wears on and she does some yard work, she seems to rejuvenate. She decides that she no longer needs the room and is cleaning it out when Evans locks her in and proceeds to attack her a second time. This time she fights back; she finds her voice at last and screams and screams. The lacrosse team, practicing nearby, hears and comes to the door to find her holding a broken piece of mirror at Evans' neck. The room serves as a cocoon. It offers protection until she recovers her voice and heals enough to leave its shelter.
The second major symbol is the tree that she persistently tries to carve throughout the novel. Her art teacher has his students draw a slip of paper from a bag at the beginning of the year. The students are to work all year on drawing the object named on the slip. Melinda 's slip said tree. Her teacher has not ordered adequate art supplies, so Melinda must carve her tree in tiles. Effort after effort fails until Melinda comes to terms with what happened to her. She thinks:IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn't my fault. He hurt me. It wasn't my fault. And I'm not going to let it kill me. I can grow. ( 198 )
Once she accepts what happened and realizes she is not to blame, she can move on. She carves a tree with realistic, imperfect details but with new growth and birds in the top. The tree, of course, symbolizes herself. She cries as she finishes the picture, tears which dissolve the final block to her talking.
The protagonist and first person narrator of Wittlinger's Hard Love is John Galardi, Jr., a high school junior who lives with his divorced mother and who writes under the name Giovanni. John publishes a zine (a homemade magazine containing one's own writing) and reads others. Through one of these zines, he encounters Marisol Guzman, who is a year older. They meet on weekends in Boston, where John goes to visit his father. John, like Melinda, is emotionally isolated in part due to his father's leaving his mother and in part due to his mother's reaction to abandonment. After teaching school each day, for years she had come home to sit in the dark. Even more emotionally scarring for John, she has avoided touching her son for the six years since his father left . This becomes even more pointed when she develops a relationship with another man.
This unnatural lack of touching occurs like a refrain and takes on symbolic overtones. It represents the fact that there is no real communication between mother and son. John also fails to connect with his father. The two have dinner every Friday night, but then the father pursues his social life. It is through writing and the friendships that develop as a result of his writing that John finally breaks through his isolation.
Hard Love , the novel's title, bears significant weight, for it is hard love that brings John to the point described in the last sentences of the book: "I'm ready, I think, to join them. Very anxious, more than a little scared, susceptible now to anything that might happen" ( 224 ). Diana Tree, another zine writer with whom John has corresponded, plays a part in John's readiness. They meet for the first time at the conference, and Diana is obviously taken with John, but John is too involved in working through his feelings for Marisol to respond romantically. He has, however, responded to her writng, and he appreciates her sensitivity to his feelings. At a campfire on the beach, Diana sings the song "Hard Love" seemingly to John. The song speaks of love in an unhappy home and impossible love as hard love, but the lyricist recognizes that hard love changes people and restores lives. He writes:And I'll tell you how you change me as I live from day to day How you help me to accept myself and I won't forget to say, Love is never wasted, even when it's hard love. For the love that heals our lives is mostly hard love. ( 227 )
John loves Marisol, who as a lesbian cannot return a like love. She can love him only as a friend, and does. It is this hard love that has made John ready to join life.
Like Myers, Wittlinger uses the format of the book to her advantage. The design of the novel replicates characteristics of a zine. Each chapter begins with slanted print as if the book had come through a home computer's printer with the paper crooked. In addition, when zine articles do appear, they are surrounded with illustrations as if they were in a zine.
Just as Myers establishes psychological intimacy with Steve Harmon's journal entries, Wittlinger creates immediacy through the illusion that the reader is often reading John's zine, that is, his writing. John's writing reveals who he is. Marisol realizes this. When reading one of his pieces, she says, "' There's the moment of truth. ... That's the line that lets me know this cocky guy is real, that he's not just a slick jerk who doesn't care about anything"' ( 76 ).
John's notebook entry and his letters and poems are printed as if they were printed by hand on lined notebook paper. Marisol's letter to her birth mother and her poem to John are neatly typed, and Diana's letter to John is handwritten on what appears to be stationery. The format clearly sets these pieces apart, calling attention to their importance in the story and revealing something of the character of each writer. Thus, like Myers, Wittlinger uses format visually to develop character and to underscore theme.
The Search for Self
These four novels deal with three themes that are important to young adults. First, most young adults struggle to come to terms with who they are, and Monster, Speak , and Hard Love all contain characters who are searching for their identity. When the prosecutor refers to Steve Harmon as a monster , he begins to examine his life, trying to repudiate for himself the attorney's claim.
When he is found "not guilty," the question remains. He opens his arms to hug O'Brien, his attorney, at the moment of victory, but she turns away ( 276 ). Is it because he is black and she is white? Is it because she is young and thinks this would be unprofessional? Does she think he is guilty? In his cast of characters, Steve has described her as "the Defense Attorney with Doubts" ( 10 ). The conclusion that he imagines for the screenplay ends with a grainy black and white picture of him - "It looks like one of the pictures they use for psychological testing, or some strange beast, a monster" ( 277 ).
The novel itself ends with a short section written five months after the trial. It finds Steve still trying to discover who he is by constantly filming himself. He says, "In the movies I talk and tell the camera who I am, what I think I am about" ( 279 ). His mother is simply happy that he is not in jail, but the distance between him and his father grows ( 280- 281 ). Steve is trying to find "one true image" of himself because he is haunted by wondering what O'Brien saw that made her turn away. The novel literally ends with that question.
Melinda Sordino in Speak , like Steve Harmon, must come to terms with what she did and did not do. Unlike Steve, however, she is the victim. She seems to feel the guilt and shame that rape victims often report experiencing. The terrible social isolation she is subjected to exacerbates her inability to deal with the attack. Little by little, she realizes that "it wasn't my fault" ( 198 ). She finally knows herself, and this knowledge enables her to talk about the event and sets her free to be known and understood by others.
Although self-knowledge is not a major theme in Hard Love , it is present as a supporting one. Hard Love deals primarily with John's emotional isolation and his need to connect with people, but the novel makes clear that knowledge of one's own identity is necessary before being able to establish a meaningful relationship with others. Marisol realizes this. Early on John is not even sure what his gender orientation is because he has not thought about it. John jokes, "Maybe we ought to take a poll. I could decide my sexuality based on the conclusions of a survey" ( 56 ). Marisol reprimands him about not caring and tells him in no uncertain terms that he should care: "If you don't know who you are, how is anybody else supposed to get to know you?" ( 56 ) The issue of John's sexuality is quickly resolved because of his attraction to Marisol, but his success in breaking through the wall he has built to protect himself is much slower.
In spite of Marisol's declaration about her sexuality, she has questions about who she is as well, and, like many teenagers, she believes that she must leave her parents to discover herself. At one point she tells John:
I have to leave to find out who I really am inside this person my parents have tried to manufacture. But I don't run from my feelings. Believe it or not, I love my parents. Sometimes it scares me to think about leaving them and going off by myself. What if I can't make it on my own? ( 64 )
In spite of her affection for her parents and her self-doubt, her first goal is learning who she is. Nor does she lose this desire as the novel continues. The women she met at the zine conference invite her to return to New York with them, and she explains her decision to go in these words: "I have to do this, Gio. I have to see who I am without my parents hovering over me. Or you" ( 210 ). Thus, while not a major theme, discovery of self is a part of John's journey to connection and Marisol's journey to independence.
Friendship is a second major theme shared by three of the four novels. Skellig deals with the power of love both within a family and among friends. Michael shares his discovery of Skellig with Mina, and she eventually helps Michael move Skellig to a safer place. They share visits to Skellig as well as his care, and experience a mystical dance with him in which both children have angel wings like Skellig's. When Skellig disappears, he leaves three white feathers, one each for Michael, Mina, and the baby. Through their friendship with Skellig, both Michael and Mina learn much about the spirtual power of love.
Michael's friendship with Mina includes more than their shared relationship with Skellig, however. He learns things from her necessary to his full participation in the miracle of Skellig. It is through Mina that Michael becomes acquainted with William Blake's poetry and ideas. Through these he casts off some of his repression and becomes more open to the possibility of angels. Moreover, he gains comfort and companionship during his baby sister's illness. It is in Mina's home that he encounters the myth of Proserpine and comes to understand its significance in regard to his sister's struggle for life.
The subject of friendship occurs in Speak also. Social isolation is the opposite of what Melinda knew in middle school. There she had friends; she had a best friend. When Rachel, her former best friend, starts to date Andy Evans, Melinda's fear for Rachel's safety moves her to action. She sends Rachel an anonymous note, warning her about Andy. Rachel goes to the prom with Evans in spite of the note, but when he begins to behave inappropriately, she leaves him in mid-dance. Perhaps Melinda's warning prepared Rachel in some way that enabled her to act quickly, thus extricating herself from possible rape. Although Melinda and Rachel's friendship has been irreparably damaged, the remnant that survives helps both girls. The results of the absence of friendship and of a single act of friendship in the novel testify to the importance and power of friendship in the lives of young adults.
Hard Love also speaks of the power of friendship. Through a mutual commitment to writing, John meets two young women who become his friends. The first, of course, is Marisol, the gifted Puerto Rican adoptee. Although John's feelings for Marisol turn romantic, at first their relationship is friendship. It is through Marisol and the writing that she encourages that John overcomes the sterile emotional existence he has held onto as protection from the pain in his life. An irony associated with this friendship is that he becomes more dishonest as his relationship grows with a woman who demands absolute honesty from her friends.
John's second friend is Diana Crabtree. As with Marisol, his first encounter with Diana is through her zine. He responds by letter, and she invites him and Marisol to the zine conference. Unlike his relationship with Marisol, honesty characterizes this friendship from the beginning. John lies to Marisol that Giovanni is his real name, and it is not until they are double-dating at John's prom that she discovers that Gio is plain John. It is perhaps a small point, but when John signs his letter to Diana, he thinks about which name to use and decides to use John. It is this friendship, built from the beginning on truth, that promises at the end of the book to develop into something more.
It is important to note that in two of the three novels that deal with friendship, the friendship is between a boy and a girl, not between people of the same gender. Such friendships have become more prevalent as more freedom is ac- corded to women. Once girls had to worry too much about impressing boys, whereas today they can be themselves. This enables real friendships to develop between the genders, a condition well documented in these books.
All four of the Printz books have one thing in common. Each comments on truth in some way. In Monster , the question is, "What is the truth about Steve Harmon?" Was he the lookout in the robbery gone awry? Does fear distort truth to the point that it becomes slippery? These are not easy questions to answer. In the meeting between Steve and King, his co-defendant, where King explains the role of the lookout, he asks, "You down for it?" Steve never answers; he simply looks away ( 150 ). Moreover, it would appear that Steve was in the store shortly before the robbery attempt. In his journal he writes: "What did I do? What did I do? Anybody can walk into a drugstore and look around" ( 115 ). Another, later journal entry reads: "What did I do? I walked into a drugstore to look for some mints, and then I walked out. What was wrong with that? I didn't kill Mr. Nesbitt" ( 140 ). Yet on the witness stand, Steve testifies that he never discussed acting as a lookout and that he was not in the drugstore on the day of the robbery ( 223 ). Bobo Evans, the second robber, has testified that because Steve gave no signal as he left the store, he and King proceeded with the robbery, thinking no bystanders were in the store ( 182 ). Events are ambiguous, and testimony is conflicting. The reader and the jury must sort out the truth, and their conclusions may or may not be the same.
Myers presents several prisoners who convince themselves that they are not guilty of the crimes with which they are charged. Does Steve's fear of punishment make him deny his actions and in fact make him believe he is not guilty? At one point Steve tells his attorney, "I'm not guilty," and she replies, "You should have said, "I didn't do it."' Only when prompted in this way, does Steve say, "I didn't do it" ( 138 ).
The truth may be absolute, but fear can distort it and make it difficult to recognize. Myers' novel drives that point home. In addition, because Steve is the narrator, the reader sympathizes with him. The reader is touched by this sixteen-yearold who is alone in prison, but never alone, this boy who is so afraid for his present safety and for his future. Does the reader's connection with the narrator make the truth even more difficult to grasp? Myers' novel may well raise more questions than it answers, but it will surely stimulate the reader to think about the nature of truth.
If Monster questions what is true and how fear affects truth, Skellig questions what is true (real) and whether the truth must be real. When Michael first discovers Skellig, he thinks Skellig is dead, but he quickly says, "I couldn't have been more wrong. I'd soon begin to see the truth about him, that there'd never been another creature like him in the world" ( 1 ). Thus, truth is associated with Skellig from the first, and as previously discussed, Almond uses allusions to help the reader accept the existence of Skellig. However, Almond also introduces the possibility that Skellig is a dream. When Michael decides to take Mina to see Skellig for the first time, he says, "I don't even know if it's true or if it's a dream," and Mina replies, "... Truth and dreams are always getting muddled" ( 52 ). Then when Michael actually takes Mina to see Skellig, he worries that she will not see him, that "maybe dreams and truth were just a useless muddle in my mind" ( 74 ). However, like Michael, Mina sees Skellig. Is this a dream? No, Michael and Mina discuss their visits to Skellig while they are completely awake in the daytime throughout the book. Michael's mother also sees Skellig. This occurs, however, under dubious circumstances, because when she tells her husband about it, she acknowledges that she has been in and out of sleep, but she describes seeing this filthy winged man pick the baby up and dance with her. She says that the baby also appeared to have wings. At first she had been afraid, but then she was reassured by the occurrence (158- 160).
Although the reality of Skellig is an intriguing question, the issue may be resolved by simply recognizing the novel as a fantasy. A more pressing issue is whether or not the truth must be real. Can the abstact, the imaginary, the spiritual be true? Almond strongly suggests that it can. The children are discussing the possible evolution of the archaeopteryx into today's birds and beyond when Mina whispers the name Skellig . Michael's reaction is "I stared back. I didn't blink. It was like she was calling Skellig out from somewhere deep inside me" ( 99 ). What is deep inside Michael, that Skellig represents, is the power of love. The lines attributed to Blake and spoken by the doctor contain Almond's answer: "Love is the child that breathes our breath/Love is the child that scatters death" ( 161 ). Human beings are at least part love, and in the instance of Michael's baby sister, love conquers death.
Truth is an essential issue in Speak as it is in the other novels. Although the incident itself is not revealed in detail until mid-book, the reader soon understands that Melinda has been raped. Melinda, like many rape victims, struggles with the question of whether she is somehow to blame. However, Melinda does finally realize that the attack was not her fault ( 198 ). When she understands the truth, she is able to speak again. When she can can recognize the truth and speak it, Melinda is free to move on and, like her tree, to attain new growth.
Truth plays its part in Hard Love , too. From the first of their friendship, Marisol lets John know how important the truth is to her. She chastises him for feigning that nothing is important to him , and she declares, "I don't lie, and I don't waste time on people who do" ( 27 ). It is apparent that Marisol demands the truth from her friends because she has had the courage to reveal her gender orientation. She says, "You tell the truth even if its painful, especially if it's painful" ( 27 ). Although John promises Marisol that he will not lie, he realizes that he starts lying more after he meets her ( 85 ). He lies about his name. He lets Brian and Emily think that Marisol is his girlfriend ( 99 ), and he lies to himself about Marisol's gender orientation. Their relationship is threatened when he tries to kiss her at the prom she has agreed to attend as his friend. She eventually writes John a poem telling him that he is not listening and that that makes her "invisible" ( 145 ). John finally does accept the limitation that Marisol's gender orientation places on their relationship and thanks her for touching him. She responds that she loves him as much as she can ( 223 ). Accepting the truth is a lesson in "hard love."
Thus, each protagonist in these novels must deal with the truth in some way. Steve Harmon must decide the truth about who he is, while Michael must decide what is true about the spiritual world. Melinda Sordino must accept the truth that the rape was not her fault, and John Galardi must listen to the truth Marisol speaks before he can set his stalled life in motion. Through analyzing the nature of truth and its impact on fictional lives, young adult readers should be better able to explore its intricacies in their own lives.
The selection committee has chosen a variety of well-written and stimulating books to receive the first Printz Award and the honor designations. Each novel is an enticing story told in a strong voice about well-developed characters elucidating thematic ideas important to young adults. Appropriately Monster , the prizewinner, is the most innovative of the four books, with its one voice at two distances. The inaugural selections give the award statue. If such outstanding books continue to be chosen, the award will soon become wellknown and respected as a guide to the best in young adult literature.
Note: Thanks go to Ms. Carol Ball, librarian at Northern Hills Junior High School and at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. When I could not locate these lines in Blake, she employed her electronic expertise to conduct a search, using Granger's Poetry Index, Bartlett's Quotations, and an online Blake concordance, none of which identified these lines as Blake's. -jpd
Almond , David. Skellig . Great Britain: Hodder Children's Books, 1998. New York:Delacorte, 1999.
American Library Association (ALA) . Walter Dean Myers Wins First Michael L. Printz Award . 26 January 2000. ALA. 5 June 2000. http://www.ala.org/yalsa/printz/ 2000winnerpr.html .
American Library Association (ALA) Who Was Michael Printz . 18 January 2000.
Anderson , Laurie Halse. Speak . New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999.
Myers , Walter Dean. Monster . New York: Harper Collins, 1999.
Skellig Michael . Skellig Rocks . Michael Skellig Website. 14 May 2000. http://homepage.eircom. net/~caoim/oileain/ sceilg.html .
Wittlinger , Ellen. Hard Love . New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Jean Pollard Dimmitt is an associate professor of English and coordinator of English Education who teaches young adult literature, English methods, and advanced composition at Washburn University, in Topeka, Kansas.
Editor's Note: Laurie Halse Anderson discussed Speak in the Spring/Summer, 2000, issue of The ALAN Review, pages 25-26.
Reference Citation: Dimmitt, Jean Pollard. (2001) " The First Printz Award Designations: Winners All The ALAN Review , Volume 28, Number 2, p. 54.