Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Morris Award: We Love the New Kids on the Block

Here at TATAL we are big fans of the Morris Award. Started in 2009, this award honors a book by a debut author.

Here's what the officials say about it:

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award celebrates the achievement of a previously unpublished author, or authors, who have made a strong literary debut in writing for young adult readers.
One of the reasons why we love the award so much is that we think it's so cool to bring attention to writers who are new to the lit world. It's pretty amazing to get to know more about these first time folks.

Also, they tend to be amazingly nice people as well. We were lucky enough to get to interview the 2010 winner, L.K. Madigan, which you can check out here.She was so kind and lovely, that we have had a soft spot for the award ever since. (see more about L.K. Madigan here)

SECRET ANNOUNCEMENT: We will be interviewing the fantastic Morris Award Honor recipient Nina LaCour on TATAL next Friday, February 3! If you'd like to know more about what it's like to recieve this honor, check back then !

Alright, let's get on with this year's winners:

First up, the honor books:
The Girl of Fire and Thorns written by Rae Carson (see our full review here)

A fearful sixteen-year-old princess discovers her heroic destiny after being married off to the king of a neighboring country in turmoil and pursued by enemies seething with dark magic.

Paper Covers Rock written by Jenny Hubbard
"The author is already a poet and a playwright. I liked it, it's about a kid in a boarding school in the early 80s and his friend dies and he was there. He writes in a journal that he hides in a copy of Moby Dick- it's got lots of references to the book and how he doesn't like it. I liked the writing and you could definitely tell that she is a poet." (review from High School Tab student)

Under the Mesquite written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Throughout her high school years, as her mother battles cancer, Lupita takes on more responsibility for her house and seven younger siblings, while finding refuge in acting and writing poetry.
Between Shades of Gray written by Ruta Sepetys (see longer review here)
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. 

And who is the winner? 

used with author's permission!
Wait, wait, wait.... is that John Corey Whaley with his book, Where Things Come Back, which we already know won the Printz award??? Why yes, yes it is! For the first time since it started, an author has snagged BOTH the Printz  AND the Morris! How cool is that?! We think it's pretty awesome.

We can't wait to see what will be next from Mr. Whaley (as well as from all the other honorees). Another wonderful thing about the Morris award winners, they give you a bunch of new authors to watch for in the future!

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