On March 31st at the Kennesaw Children’s Literature Conference secondary day lunch, members of the Peach Committee shared the results of the 2010-2011 voting and the nominees vying for the awards for the 2011-2012 school year. Without further ado, here they are:
The Georgia Peach Book Awards for Teen Readers 2011-2012 Booklist
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
With his mother working long hours and in pain from a romantic break-up, eighteen-year-old Logan feels alone and unloved until a zany new student arrives at his small-town Missouri high school, keeping a gender secret.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.
Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
In a future world baked dry by the sun and divided into those who live inside the wall and those who live outside it, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone is forced into a difficult choice when her parents are arrested and taken into the city.
Black Hole Sun by David McGinnis Gill
On the planet Mars, sixteen-year-old Durango and his crew of mercenaries are hired by the settlers of a mining community to protect their most valuable resource from a feral band of marauders.
Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Inexplicable events start to occur when sixteen-year-old twins Tennyson and Brontë befriend a troubled and misunderstood outcast, aptly nicknamed Bruiser, and his little brother, Cody.
Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu
When her unstable mother dies unexpectedly, sixteen-year-old Lucy must take control and find a way to keep the long-held secret of her mother’s compulsive hoarding from being revealed to friends, neighbors, and especially the media.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Now on the cusp of manhood, Finnikin, who was a child when the royal family of Lumatere was brutally murdered and replaced by an imposter, reluctantly joins forces with an enigmatic young novice and fellow-exile, who claims that her dark dreams will lead them to a surviving royal child and a way to regain the throne of Lumatere.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Eighteen-year-old Piper becomes the manager for her classmates’ popular rock band, called Dumb, giving her the chance to prove her capabilities to her parents and others, if only she can get the band members to get along.
Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Zansky, the second fattest student at his high school, joins the varsity football team to get the attention of a new girl on whom he has a crush.
God is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
Fifteen-year-old Grace, having turned her back on religion when her father left, now finds herself praying for help with her home and love life, and especially with whether she should help a beloved elderly friend die with dignity.
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.
Jane by April Lindner
In this contemporary retelling of “Jane Eyre,” an orphaned nanny becomes entranced with her magnetic and brooding employer, a rock star with a torturous secret from his past.
Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith
When fourteen-year-old Alex is framed for murder, he becomes an inmate in the Furnace Penitentiary, where brutal inmates and sadistic guards reign, boys who disappear in the middle of the night sometimes return weirdly altered, and escape might just be possible.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.
The Morgue and Me by John Ford
Eighteen-year-old Christopher, who plans to be a spy, learns of a murder cover-up through his summer job as a morgue assistant and teams up with Tina, a gorgeous newspaper reporter, to investigate, despite great danger.
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Calla and Ren have been raised knowing it’s their destiny to mate with one another and rule over their shapeshifting wolf pack, but when a human boy arrives and vies for Calla’s heart, she’s faced with a decision that could change her whole world.
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
When best friends Chris and Win go on a cross country bicycle trek the summer after graduating and only one returns, the FBI wants to know what happened.
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.
Split by Swati Avasthi
A teenaged boy thrown out of his house by his abusive father goes to live with his older brother, who ran away from home years ago to escape the abuse.
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Although they have never gotten along well, seventeen-year-old Levi follows his older brother Boaz, an ex-Marine, on a walking trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. in hopes of learning why Boaz is completely withdrawn.
Remember to read reviews for all books and get media committee approval for any Peach titles you wish to purchase for your school library as each community is different, and not all titles will suit all schools. Thanks for your promotion and support of the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers.
No, I didn’t don a full-length gown and gloves for what some call “The Oscars of Children’s Literature.” I hadn’t packed festive attire for the occasion since I was supposed to be home in Atlanta before the big announcements. But, thanks to the southern snow and ice, I was stranded in San Diego long enough to see the ALA Youth Media Awards a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be a good thing that I wasn’t wearing a gown, since I ended up sitting on the floor of a crowded ballroom along with scores of other youth librarians and literature lovers.
You can check out the full list of winners here, and reactions to the awards by avid children’s literature aficionados are scattered across the web. For this post, I wanted to share the experience of attending the awards in person. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be very exciting. In past years, I have listened to the announcements online or watched the twitter stream, so I knew how the program would go. But from the moment I sat down on the ballroom floor and started listening to and tweeting the awards I realized that participating virtually, while wonderful, could not convey the electricity in the room.
It is amazing to be surrounded by people who are deeply committed to youth, libraries, and literacy. Clearly, many in the room had read lots of this year’s potential honorees. The whispers and murmurs (and sometimes squeals and screams) gave the event such an air of excitement. There were books that were clearly loved and celebrated by many, and honored books that many people had not heard of (yet). The winners were greeted with warm admiration.
Each award is selected through the work of a dedicated committee. Being at this event, where the committee is recognized after each award is announced, rekindled my interest in serving on one of these committees one day. Have any of you ever served on an award committee? Do you hope to serve in the future? Which award would you choose? Two of my recent favorites are the Geisel Award (likely because my youngest child is learning to read so I read a LOT of beginning reader books) and the Schneider Family Book Awards. I reference these lists in my literacy courses often. I hope you’ll share your thoughts on the awards and the committees you’d love to work with in the comments.
As for the awards announcement, it was an energizing experience. I think we all left with good memories, not to mention longer reading lists. It will be wonderful to roll out the red carpet for the Youth Media Awards when ALA’s Midwinter Meeting is held in Atlanta in 2017. (Yes, it’s a ways off, but plenty of time to save up for that Oscar-worthy outfit!)
Ph. D. Student
Department of Language and Literacy Education
University of Georgia
and new online voting, too . . .
We’re excited to unveil a new Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers website at www.georgiapeachaward.org Please take a look and add this to any of your media center websites as a prominent link. Share it with all your Peach-lovin’ friends around school, like that great often untapped resource: the Language Arts or English Department. And, of course, your teen book-geek super squad MUST know immediately.
This new site will allow us to make updates, changes, and additions almost immediately, rather than burdening our GLMA friends to order such revisions on our behalf. BONUS: this new site allows us to embed a Peach Book Award voting/rating survey, an innovation we were hoping to roll out for the 2010-2011 voting year. Yay! Voting goes live on Monday, October 4, 2010. The deadline for ALL votes: 3 PM on Friday, March 11th. Only Georgia teens qualify to vote.
With the voting now online, all you have to do is save a shortcut, favorite, or quick link to the survey page of our Peach website. Here are few ways the committee hopes you can use technology to get more votes from your teen students:
Scenario 1: You see a current Peach Nominee in a student’s hand as he or she is approaching the book return. Once you confirm that the book isn’t just a prop and actually got read, just pull that student around to use a circulation desk computer and have a vote recorded for Book Boy or Girl in less than a minute. Encourage him or her to check out another one of the titles on the list to read and then to vote, whether at home or school.
Scenario 2: Your students in a certain grade level, class, or small group reads a Peach Nominee for their summer reading or for their Language Arts course. If that group comes in to check out new books, work on research, or use the computers, get them to www.georgiapeachaward.org in the small or whole group to rate that title.
Scenario 3: You have one or more Language Arts teachers who is a Peach Nominee fan and is willing to promote reading them for outside or independent reading programs, maybe even with a little extra credit as the cherry on top. These teachers can use a classroom computer, their own teacher websites, and whole class use of computer labs to enable students who are reading Peaches to vote.
Okay, you may be asking yourself—if you talk to yourself as I do—what if I like my paper ballots and nifty ballot box and don’t want to force my students to vote online? We still have a way to make paper ballots work in the new system. It’s not all that different from how you used to handle each paper ballot. In prior years, you downloaded an Excel spreadsheet and then put in votes for each book’s rating, so you had a technology step for each paper ballot. Still just one technology step: Now, we are asking you to input any hard copy votes you collect into the online survey. Just open, click to indicate the student’s rating for a single title or multiples, and then click “submit.” We even give you a choice of two kinds of paper ballots you can use on the Promotion section of the new website—the standard one book on each ballot you’re used to and a ballot/bookmark you can print out to help students find multiple nominees to read and rate, either on paper or using the website survey. Here’s a screenshot of how it should look:
Please encourage students to vote only once and only for books they have actually read—just as you would do with low-tech voting. Let’s not condone stuffing the ballot box. We want the winners to be the books our Georgia teens read and really liked the most. That’s not too much to ask, is it, even with technology at work in the process?
Last note: Come see our 11:00 AM Thursday, October 14th GA Peach Book Award for Teen Readers presentation at COMO—committee members will book talk this year’s nominees. We’ll also peek in on the new site and survey. Maybe you can go back and recommend them to students almost as well as if you had time to read them all yourself!
Lanier High School
GA Peach Book Award Committee Chair
I was gratified a few weeks ago to find that the Language Arts Lead/Dept. Chair at the new high school where I will be the media specialist next year solicited my opinions when organizing the summer reading lists for our students. Not only was it wonderful to find that he is amenable to collaboration, but I was also thrilled that his philosophy of summer reading was so Peach-friendly.
At my prior school, a fabulous but hugely work-intensive summer reading program had just been taken off life-support machines this past year. I kept the patient alive for two years after both its Language Arts mama and its principal were long gone from the school—without strong widespread classroom and administrative support, a system that requires every teacher to read a book, make a test, host a book discussion, and deal with the grading paperwork is not likely to thrive. When the LA Dept. developed its new summer reading lists, they went the other way—if we want to make the summer reading decision a binary thing. They decided to choose works that they would like to see students read as a part of the upcoming year’s curriculum, when possible; that is, something American before Am. Lit; something British before Brit. Lit; something more global in scope before World Lit. That makes a kind of sense, no doubt, especially for a block schedule school that only gets 18 weeks of reading time with kids. However, I have always been, even when I did it as an AP Lit. teacher myself, confounded by the premise that we can get kids to read over the summer, on their own, books that they are unlikely to read and understand well without assistance. If they’re substituting Pink Monkey, Cliff’s Notes, and Wikipedia with such titles during the school year, why would summer more incline them to independent study?
So, back to my new school and Peach Book Nominees on summer reading lists: Suddenly, it was like Christmas, and someone was asking for my recommendations. I didn’t even really want to divide my suggestions into specific grade levels, with the exception of ninth graders, but you can’t have everything—where would you put it, right? I went through the twenty titles from the 2009-2010 list (SO much great fantasy on that one) and the new 2010-2011 list (this one is WAY more realistic) and took off a few I didn’t quite cotton to or hadn’t read or that didn’t do so great on the voting. I gave him some annotations and indicated whether I saw the book as a freshman offering or not. He used those Peach books with just a few additions to craft the lists. He explained that he sees summer reading as being for the purpose of actually getting kids to read a book (or more) in the summer, not primarily as a means to further specific curricular objectives. Peach Books aren’t chosen to be “good” for students, except inasmuch as reading is good for students. And it is good, or we wouldn’t all be teacher-librarians, true?
I think Peach Books are wonderful for summer reading because we do try to get a variety of books to appeal to a variety of students. Now that I’ve had the fun of blending lots of Peaches into a summer reading program, I’ve gotten curious about whether the Peach Book Nominees or winners have become a part of other school’s summer reading programs and how so. Suddenly craving a Peach smoothie—must be the blending thing. I always like to hear about how schools take grades for theses kinds of assignments. I also wonder where in the state public and school libraries do a good job of working in tandem to assure that reading happens and is supported during the break. Is there a way that the Peach Committee can help? My understanding is that school summer reading programs have NOT been shown to have a long-term effect on student achievement, so shouldn’t we evaluate what can be accomplished with summer reading and tailor our assignments to fit feasible goals? Let them read Peaches, I say.
Peach Committee Chair
Lanier High School
Calling all gear heads and web wizards: As we contemplate taking the Peach voting online for the 2010-2011 nominees, we are soliciting all the technological help and opinions we can find to help us make good decisions. PLEASE make suggestions if any occur to you. Email me or use the comments form below.
So far, my first-choice techno-Peach scenario would be something like this:
• For free, or for a small enough sum that one of our sponsoring organizations could cover it, we would have a web presence that could serve dual purposes: promotion of the titles and the award AND allowing Georgia teens to create user names and passwords to participate on the site.
• Participation could include rating any Peach titles read (or voting, if we decide to alter the nature of indicating favorites), writing reviews or comments on the nominees as well as responding to what others think, and voting online, either for a period of months or during a designated condensed voting period.
• While some folks don’t appear concerned about it, I would very much prefer to TRY to limit voters to actual Georgia teens and to structure voting so that registered individual email addresses only got one vote or rating per book. What I don’t know is how hard that would be: designing a set-up that puts some modest limits on the voting without actually discouraging the voting. After all, we want to encourage MORE votes, but I don’t want it to be so easy to vote that a user could vote for the same book a hundred times within a short span.
• Is there a way to try to limit voters to Georgia teens without creating too many hoops to jump through that young adults don’t want to be bothered? Would people from outside the state and the age group try to participate? A helpful person suggested that perhaps using the Galileo password might be one small restriction that our target group could fairly easily meet, and that’s certainly supplied quite readily at any school or public library in the state. Might work.
• School and public libraries would still promote the reading of the books and participation on the website and voting but might not collect paper ballots. Or if they did collect paper ballots, perhaps the media specialist or librarian would submit a batch of them? It gets complicated quickly! As I have mentioned in the past, most other state book awards use a voting system rather than a 0-4 peaches type of rating system. We want to encourage students to read as many of the twenty nominees as they can, so if we altered the rating to a voting, would we want to allow students to choose just one book, rank their top three, top five, top ten? That’s a related but separate decision from using an online form or survey for whatever we ultimately decide.
We are also in the process of reviving a FaceBook presence for the Peach Award. I guess that means that I will finally have to succumb and become a registered user myself. Online voting and a more interactive website for the award seem like they will reach out to our digital native kids. It’s okay if they want to take part in the Peach reading and voting without setting foot in a Georgia library, but we sure would like to get some foot traffic and circulation of the titles as well!
What Peach Books will your kids like?
If you didn’t make it to Kennesaw on March 30th for the Children’s Literature Conference, you missed seeing and hearing two of the authors of Peach Nominees from the 2009-2010 list speak: Lisa McMann and Jay Asher. Both of their books did well in the tallying of votes, with Thirteen Reasons Why getting third place, earning an honor book spot and a trophy that I actually got to hand over to J.A. in person. A Peach first! Wake was a pretty close fourth, just about tying with Graceling, which had a very high rating per vote, meaning those who read it really liked it almost as much as for Hunger Games, the big winner. It was a list with lots of strong fantasy/science or speculative fiction contenders. This year’s list seems to feature way more realistic fiction comparatively, though you will find The Forest of Hands and Teeth to be a fairly compelling zombie book.
If your students or patrons really liked Thirteen Reasons Why, try suggesting Hold Still and perhaps If I Stay from this year’s list.
If you have a teen who loved the Twilight books, then suggest Shiver—the sequel Linger due out in July. Any Sarah Dessen fans are almost guaranteed to like North of Beautiful, but The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks might appeal to some of the same bright mature teen girls.
Were the Uglies books big with some of your crowd? Skinned and its sequel, already out, Crashed, are good recommendations to make.
Good picks for boys: Bonechiller by former Peach Award Winner Graham McNamee as well as Carter Finally Gets It and King of the Screwups. Ellen Hopkins or problem-book fans are going to like After, Brutal, Burn, and The Orange Houses.
Next month I will focus on what we decided in terms of changes to Peach voting and summer promotion.
Chair, Peach Book Award