The name 'Youth Media Awards' seems to be pretty foreign to a lot of people. That's what I discovered when I tried to talk to (non kids book) people about them. But as soon as I clarified with 'Caldecott' and 'Newbery' everything suddenly clicked into place. Those are awards they recognize, even if I've discovered they don't really know what the awards are.
Yesterday morning I had the complete and utter pleasure of watching the live-stream of the awards presentation. I was beyond excited. At one point I even turned to one of our managers and said that I couldn't believe I was working a job that paid me to be as excited about them as I was. I was getting paid to sit there and watch an awards ceremony that I already wanted to watch. It still sort of blows my mind. But they're not the most glamorous thing to watch.
The thing about the ala awards presentation is that it's very practical. It's not an awards ceremony how most people think about them. The winners do get acceptance speeches but not while the awards are being presented. That happens later, in different rooms. Each award is explained and the runners up and winners are announced and images of the covers are shown and that's really it. There's clapping, of course, children's book fans are very enthusiastic people but there's not a lot of fanfare.
But it is so exciting.
Because we're not watching them to check out people's clothes, we want to know which books made an impact on the judges and, on a more practical level, we need to order more of them and quickly. Sometimes they're titles we may have suspected, sometimes the come out of nowhere but they're always remarkable. They don't need glitz.
These awards are about the books themselves.
These awards are our Oscars.
I cheered when some of them were announced (I'll Give You the Sun got the Printz!). I was completely floored by others. I wasn't horrified by any but I was surprised. There were a couple I hadn't heard of. I love that.
And the winners are diverse, in the best and pretty much every way possible. Peruse the list, check out the titles. There's a little bit of everything.
But bear with us, we'll get as many of them in as we can but it may take us some time. If you want one and can't find it, please ask, we'll do what we can. We want to read them too.