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awards

Sep 18 2009

Neil Gaiman’s Bookshelves

by Jesse M

dcpl-blog-image-neil-gaimanWhatever your taste in books, if you’ve spent much time in a library or bookstore over the past 20 years it’s likely you’ve at least heard of Neil Gaiman. A successful author in a variety of different genres (including science fiction, fantasy, and horror, as well as graphic novels, books for children, and screenplays for television and film), he has been the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Nebula, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy Awards, as well as the 2009 Newbery Medal for The Graveyard Book (which also won the Hugo for best book and Locus award for best YA novel). He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers, and two of his books (Stardust and Coraline) have been adapted into major motion pictures (we carry both adaptations in the DCPL catalog, and they can be located here, and here, respectively).

The website Shelfari (a literary oriented social networking site which allows members to build a virtual bookshelf to display books they’ve read) recently posted an article on Neil Gaiman and his personal library. The idea was, as stated by the author of the piece, “you can learn a lot about someone by seeing what’s on his or her bookshelf…[so] we thought it would be fun to take a look at what’s on the bookshelves of some of our favorite authors.”

Mr. Gaiman’s home library is impressive, both in terms of quantity and quality. A perusal of his bookshelves reveals a man with an eclectic and varied taste, exactly what one would expect from such a talented and wide-ranging author.

If you are interested in learning more about Neil Gaiman, his website offers a wealth of information about his life, work, and current activities. You can also check out his author profile on Shelfari or follow him on Twitter. And for those who have never read anything by him but are looking for a good place to start, allow me to recommend a couple of my favorites:

dcpl-blog-image-sandman-thumbnailThe Sandman graphic novel series is, in a word, brilliant. It has been critically acclaimed, being one of very few comics to ever make it onto the NY Times bestseller list as well as have been selected as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “100 best reads from 1983 to 2008“.  Although DCPL doesn’t carry the entire series, we do carry the first collection of issues I read, entitled The Doll’s House, which is a fine place to start exploring the series, as well as its  follow up installments: Dream Country and Season of Mists.

dcpl-blog-image-american-gods-thumbnailAmerican Gods was awarded the Hugo and Nebula awards (among others) and tells the story of Shadow, an ex-con who learns upon his release from prison that both his wife and best friend died the previous day in a car accident, leaving him with no one to come home to. Offered a job as a bodyguard by a mysterious man named Wednesday, Shadow travels with him around the country, slowly learning of a weird and dangerous world he never knew existed, and the Gods, old and new, that inhabit it.

Check them both out. You won’t be disappointed.

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On Monday, the American Library Association gave the John Newbery Award for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature to Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard Book.

I was pleasantly surprised by this year’s choice because the Newbery doesn’t often go to fantasies and because of the frequent tendency for Newbery books to be ‘good’ books, as in good-for-you. Even Mr. Gaiman seemed surprised, saying that “there are books that are best sellers and books that are winners.” Popularity is not a consideration for the Newbery award (and rightly so), but there’s been a lot of debate in the library world recently about the obscurity of the most recent winners.

As a child I resisted reading ‘good’ books, preferring escapism to character-building.  As an adult, I know that I missed out on some excellent stories the child-me would have loved. As a librarian,  I’m trying to get those excellent stories to children who are just as reluctant as I was to read a ‘good’ book.  So I’m happy that this year’s Newbery choice means the good and the popular are on the same page.

I always love looking at the Caldecott books and this year the award for the most distinguished picture book for children goes to The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson.

The ALA makes lots of other awards as well, including the Odyssey Award for audiobooks.  One of this year’s Odyssey Honor nominees is Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale, written and narrated by local author and DCPL favorite Carmen Agra Deedy. Congratulations to Ms. Deedy, Mr. Gaiman, Ms. Krommes and all the other winners and nominees!

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Nov 25 2008

And, the winner is…

by Heather S

The 2008 National Book Award Winners are:

Fiction: Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen
Nonfiction: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
Young People’s Literature: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
Poetry: Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty

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Jan 30 2008

Recent Winners for Kids and Teens!

by Heather O

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Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Robert Byrd wins the Newbery Medal honoring the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

This year’s winner for the Caldecott Medal for the best picture book is: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Winners of the Coretta Scott King Awards recognizing African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults this year were: Christopher Paul Curtis, author of Elijah of Buxton, and Ashley Bryan, who illustrated and wrote Let It Shine.

Margarita Engle, author of The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano, and Yuyi Morales, illustrator of Los Gatos Black on Halloween, are the respective winners of the Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in children’s books.

The National Book Award in the category for young people’s literature was awarded to Sherman Alexie for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

The Green Earth Book Award sponsored by the Newton Marasco Foundation, honors fiction books published in America that promote environmental activism or inspire appreciation for the environment. This year the O.R. Melling book for young adults The Light Bearer’s Daughter.

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