Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Little Award (for Big Books)

Each January, we anxiously wait for the American Library Association (ALA) to announce its awards for the best books of the year. Some years we celebrate in agreement. Some years we are confused. But regardless of the outcome, we at Little Shop of Stories always have our own opinions about which books deserve to be recognized. We decided to start our own awards, and after months of reading, lots of impassioned debating, and one very late night at Brick Store Pub, we are please to announce our picks for the

2012 Little Awards
(for Big Books)

While thinking about the criteria for our awards, we wanted the books selected to reflect the fact that we work at a children's bookstore. We are not librarians, we are not teachers, and we are not parents trying to get our third graders to read War and Peace. We are not held accountable to state standards, core curriculum, or required reading lists. We are booksellers. Our sole purpose is to get kids excited about reading and to become lifelong lovers of books. Our staff reads because we love books and we love kids, and we love talking to kids about books we love. The winners of these awards are engaging, innovative books that we can't stop talking about. They are not just books we love, they are books we know kids will love.

Picture Books  
Winner: Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Candlewick Press)

Honor: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons created and illustrated by James Dean, words by Eric Litwin (Harper Collins)

Honor: Chloe and the Lion written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex (Hyperion)

Chapter Books

Winner: Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Random House)

    Honor: In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (Penguin)

Honor: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (Harper Collins)

YA Books

Winner: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Penguin)

Honor: The Diviners by Libba Bray (Scholastic)

Honor: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)

Most Engaging Author

Adam Gidwitz, author of A Tale Dark and Grimm and In a Glass Grimmly (Penguin)

As we said earlier, our sole purpose is to get kids excited about reading and to become lifelong lovers of books. We have been fortunate to see the power of this idea through author Adam Gidwitz. A Tale Dark and Grimm and In a Glass Grimmly pay homage to the original (terrifying) Grimm Fairy Tales, and they are also funny, bloody, and charming. Adam visited Little Shop in October, and it was one of the best author events we've ever had. Not just because we had a great turnout (over 100 kids,) but because many of the kids were at the school he had visited earlier that day, and they were so excited by his presentation they wanted to see him again. A lot of these kids had never even been to our store before, despite the fact that their school is only few miles away.

We were blown away by the number of kids who wanted to not only read Adam's books, but also the original Grimm Fairy Tales as well after hearing Adam speak of and read from them. We had one parent come up to us and say, "My kid hates reading. But he insisted we had to come out tonight to hear this author. Thank you."

In response to that, we say, "Thank you, Adam Gidwitz!" We left the shop that evening on fire for what we do as booksellers.  It was a magical night.  And we all lived happily ever after.