2009 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea
It’s time to take a trip back and look at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.
Most Uncontroversial Children’s Lit Controversy: Neil Gaiman’s Twitter reaction upon winning the Newbery.
Some folks were (completely unreasonably (in my opinion)) offended by Neil Gaiman’s decidedly not-for-kids Twitter reaction upon winning the Newbery. This much can be said: the man was excited.
Book Cover that Had Something to Hide: Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle.
While I think it was a bit too retro for many kids, I saw this as one of the year’s best-looking covers. And when the dust jacket came off? It became retro-tastic (and helpful to boot, with a fold out map hidden under the dust jacket).
Word of the Year: Sequel.
Was 2009 the year of the sequel? Catching Fire, Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, The Last Olympian – the most anticipated (and best-selling) books of 2009 were sequels. Brand new series were also being published at a brisk clip. It was almost a surprise to see a book hit the shelves without a #1 (or #2 or #3) on the spine.
Best Book Dedication of the Year: Adam Rex in Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem.
I wonder if his wife noticed.
Best Children’s Lit April Fools: Collecting Children’s Books report that The Graveyard Book was being stripped of its Newbery Medal.
It takes an expert to pull off a believable hoax involving the Newbery. Peter of Collecting Children’s Books is just that person.
Picture Book Material Trend: Foil Titles.
In 2009, foil titles were everywhere (see below). When done in the right way, a tasteful method for drawing attention. Sure to keep on truckin’ in 2010.
Picture Book Cover Trend of the Year: White backgrounds.
In 2009, picture book covers far and wide were foregoing background imagery in favor of the blank slate. Shrubs, trees, grassy fields, the sun, and clouds could not have been more upset.
YA Cover Trend That Was Full Steam Ahead in 2009: Black backgrounds.
Nothing says “this book contains vampires and/or zombies” more than a black cover with a mysterious image. And the trend is spreading. Seriously, take a look at the YA section of your local bookstore – it’s like they turned the lights off.
Funniest Celebrity Take on a Children’s Lit Award: Stephen Colbert on the Newbery. Specifically, why it’s an outrage that he hasn’t won it.
Best Use of Fake Books: Cardboard book stool.
Chapter Book I Thought Was a Picture Book for an Embarrassingly Long Amount of Time (A.K.A. the See It to Believe It Award): 100% Wolf by Jayne Lyons.
Does this or does this not look like a picture book cover? Can you make me feel less foolish by saying that you were with me on this? Lies are welcomed.
Marketing Technique of the year: Give it away.
More and more publishers were releasing text and audio portions of books for free in order to drum up interest. This concept can only gain steam in 2010.
Controversy of the Year: Luv Ya Bunches vs. Scholastic.
Criticized for pulling Lauren Myracle’s middle grade novel from book fairs due to homosexual content, Scholastic felt the heat from bloggers and traditional media alike. They eventually reversed their decision and added the book back into middle school fairs. Read more in this School Library Journal article.
Better Late Than Never Award:
Most Likely to Cause a Library Noise Violation: Chicken Butt! by Erica S. Perl and Henry Cole.
An old joke gets fresh legs. Story time may never be the same.
Most Explosive Combination of Things Librarians Love: NPR and the American Library Association Annual Convention.
During July’s Convention in Chicago, ALA bought every seat for a taping of the NPR news quiz Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! The librarians in attendance were giddy with delight. The amount of wool and tweed in the room was verging on fire hazard status.
Biggest Children’s Lit Crossover Moment: The release of the Where the Wild Things Are film.
For a few weeks, you couldn’t escape it. Articles, interviews, costumes – it was a rare moment when millions of adults simultaneously remembered and got excited about something from their childhood. Oh, and some kids enjoyed it too.
YA Cover Trend that was Too Popular to Mention (Except for Now): Guys and girls sitting together.
But please, no faces.
Best Children’s Lit Related Use of Putt Putt Golf. Downer’s Grove Public Library.
“Attention golfers. A hole-in-one on the 18th will enter you in the drawing for a free book cart!”
Most Memorable Cover of 2009 (New): The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney.
When we look back at aught nine, I’m willing to bet that this will be the cover we remember. With the cover type removed, Pinkney’s amazing illustration becomes even more powerful.
Worst Book of 2009: Family Huddle by Peyton Manning.
While I could say a number of things here, I’ll just leave it at this: Manning should hope that this book will not be taken into account for NFL MVP voting this year. If it does, he will not win MVP.
The Most Off-Putting Cookbook of the Year: A Herpetological Cookbook: How to Cook Amphibians and Reptiles.
Children’s Lit Movie Hype of 2010: The live action film adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Given the fact that the most recent Wimpy Kid (Dog Days) had the biggest first printing of any children’s book in 2009, I’m guessing this one will get some attention. Hits theaters April 2, 2010.
Best Library-Related Opening Line to an Album: Camera Obscura with My Maudlin Career.
This Scottish band knows how to kick things off with the first line of their 2009 album:
Spent a week in a dusty library/waiting for some words to jump at me. Click the play button below to listen.
Thanks for taking a look back.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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