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ALA Youth Media Awards Announced

posted by: February 12, 2018 - 11:54am

The most prestigious awards for teen and children's literature were announced by the American Library Association in Denver earlier this morning. Awards were given in a wide range of categories that covered all formats and age levels. A complete list of awards, winners and honorees can be found in this morning's press release from the American Library Association.


Cover Art for Wolf in the SnowThe Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year’s winner is Wolf in the Snow, illustrated and written by Matthew Cordell. This near-wordless picture book employs pen and ink with watercolor illustrations to quietly tell a story of kindness. Caldecott Honor winners include Big Cat, Little Cat, illustrated and written by Elisha Cooper; Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, illustrated by Gordon C. James, written by Derrick Barnes; and A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, written by Bao Phi.Cover Art for Hello Universe


The oldest of the medals, the John Newbery Medal, is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This year’s medal recipient is Erin Entrada Kelly for Hello Universe, a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships. Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut written by Derrick Barnes, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson.


Cover Art for We Are OkayThe Michael L. Printz Award annually honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. This year’s winner is We Are Okay written by Nina LaCour, which The New York Times Books Review noted was “Short, poetic and gorgeously written. . . . The world LaCour creates is fragile but profoundly humane.” Four Printz Honor Books also were named: The Hate U Give, written by Angie Thomas; Long Way Down, written by Jason Reynolds; Strange the Dreamer, written by Laini Taylor; and Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers, written by Deborah Heiligman.Cover Art for Piecing Me Together


The Coretta Scott King Awards are given to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. Renee Watson had quite a Monday as her novel, Piecing Me Together, was a Newbery Honor and she was named the King Author Award Winner. Three King Author Honor Books were also named: Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, written by Derrick Barnes; Long Way Down, written by Jason Reynolds; and The Hate U Give, written by Angie Thomas.


Cover Art for Out of WonderOut of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets, illustrated by Ekua Holmes, is the King Illustrator Award winner. Booklist said the book was a “fresh and joyful way to introduce children to poetry.” Two King Illustrator Honor Books also were named: Crown: An Ode to a Fresh Cut, illustrated by Gordon C. James, written by Derrick Barnes (giving that wonderful book a hat trick for the day!), and Before She Was Harriet: The Story of Harriet Tubman, illustrated by James E. Ransome and written by Lesa Cline-Ransome.  


Baltimore County Public Library has all of these titles in our collection — place a hold on one or more today!


Cute Creature Comics

posted by: January 29, 2018 - 7:00am

 Cover Art for Spy Seal Volume 1: The Corten- Steel Phoenix Rich Tommaso is the creator of dark indie comics such as She-Wolf, which makes the turn he took for Spy Seal, Volume 1: The Corten Steel Phoenix all the more surprising. Stylistically similar to Tintin, this British animal adventure romp has added interest, given the author’s public plea for explanation when sales of the first floppy of the series tanked at comic shops last summer.

Cover Art for Silver Spoon Volume 1
 Silver Spoon, Volume 1, is a rare farming-oriented manga, written and drawn by Fullmetal Alchemist mangaka Hiromu Arakawa. Her usual eye for detail is present in this fish-out-of-water tale of a high school student who leaves the big city for an agricultural academy in rural Japan. Arakawa’s upbringing on a dairy farm on Hokkaido is evident by her knowledge of the land. And who can resist those adorable barnyard animals drawn manga-style?


For more Hot Teen Graphic Novel Titles, click here.


Cover Art for The Wedding DateBetween the Covers: The Wedding Date had me hooked from the first page. I love that Drew and Alexa meet in a stuck elevator during a power outage. Has this happened to you? Why did you choose for them to meet in such an intimate setting?


Jasmine Guillory: It's never happened to me, but a few people close to me have had this happen (though without the cute stranger in the opposite corner). As someone with a wild imagination who lives in earthquake country, I'm always thinking about what ifs for natural disasters and emergencies. Luckily, for Alexa and Drew, they only had to deal with a power outage!


BTC: Drew and Alexa are strong and engaging characters. Their chemistry is electric (and spicy!), but they are also smart and funny. Where did you draw on the inspiration for this couple? Was it important to you that they also be career-minded?


Jasmine Guillory

JG: It was very important to me that they be career minded. One of the reasons I wrote this book was because I wanted to write about people who felt familiar to me: People like me and my friends, who care about love and relationships, but are also devoted to our careers and have worked hard for them. Alexa and Drew (and their friends) have bits and pieces of me and many of my friends.


BTC: How did your legal education and background influence your writing?


JG: I only started writing fiction about seven years ago, but because I was a history major in college and then was a lawyer, I'm very used to writing things like research essays and memos, as well as opinions and briefs. In some ways I had to unlearn and relearn how to write, because writing as a lawyer is so different than writing fiction (fiction doesn't usually have footnotes!), but my legal writing background definitely taught me the importance of finding exactly the most precise word and in writing for the correct audience.


BTC: Did you always want to be a writer? As a debut novelist, can you tell us the process of getting your first book published? Do you have any advice for struggling writers?


JG: I've always been a huge reader, but I didn't start writing until later in my life. I realized I didn't have a creative outlet in my life and that my life was poorer for it. I decided — after talking to some friends who were writers — that I’d try writing to see if I liked it. I loved it! I had so much fun writing that I kept going. My biggest pieces of advice for struggling writers: 1) experiment with different ways of writing to see what works best for you (with an outline, without one, in order or out of order, different times of day); 2) keep writing, even through the rejections. They happen to all writers, and they're terrible every time, but keep going; and finally 3) read a lot, in your genre and in lots of different genres, to learn from other writers, and to get inspiration for what kinds of books you want to write, what kinds of stories you want to tell and what kind of writer you want to be.


BTC: I know you have a towering stack of books (and lipsticks!) waiting to be read. What’s on top of that pile? Any favorite lipstick to share with our readers?


JG: I can't wait to read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, which comes out just a week after my book, and I'm about to dive into Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai. A favorite recent lipstick is the Fenty Stunna in Undeclared, a fantastic red that looks good on everyone!


BTC: I love the cover of The Wedding Date. Did you have any influence in the cover design? Have you ever bought a book solely based on the cover?


JG: I got to talk to my editor in the early stages about the kinds of covers I loved, general ideas I had for the cover and things I felt strongly about. The cover designer did an AMAZING job, I was so impressed! I've definitely bought books just because of the cover, and have often ended up liking them a lot!


BTC: I was so excited to hear that your second novel, The Proposal, is coming in September. It sounds fabulous! Please share more about that book with our readers.


JG: At the beginning of The Proposal, Nik’s boyfriend proposes to her over the jumbotron at Dodger Stadium. She says no, and he storms off. Carlos, Drew's best friend from The Wedding Date, is sitting behind Nik and rescues her from the ensuing madness. It was fun to give Carlos his own love story, and I hope readers will love Nik!


Teen video programThe Woodlawn Branch is looking for high school students who are interested in media production for their upcoming Youth Speak Out program with Wide Angle Media.

Youth Speak Out is a free, intensive three-week digital media production program for 12 to 15 high school students. In this workshop, teens learn about filming and editing as well as working in teams to create projects about youth life and community. The program teaches youth to think critically about their communities and about their place in the world. 

Students should plan to attend from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the workshop schedule. Applications are available online or at the Woodlawn Branch. Applications must be returned with a parent or guardian signature and are due no later than February 6, 2018.

  • Tuesday, February 6
  • Thursday, February 8
  • Tuesday, February 13
  • Thursday, February 15
  • Tuesday, February 20
  • Thursday, February 22


Cover Art for The Hazel Wood The Hazel Wood is the debut novel by Melissa Albert. Already the recipient of four-starred reviews, this spooky homage to fairy tales is also a mystery wrapped in a timeless narrative filled with riveting characters. A film adaptation is already in the works, and the buzz about this one is deafening.


Cover Art for The Calculus of Change

Jessie Hilb’s debut novel The Calculus of Change is a meet cute story of Aden, a girl who one day spots Tate wearing a two-color yarmulke and his grin walking into her calculus class. Taking place over the course of their senior year, Aden explores her latent Jewish background, long suppressed grief and what her relationship with Tate can and will be.


For more hot teen titles, click here.


Librarian Leah Schley reviews some of the video games available for loan from Baltimore County Public Library. This episode covers Destiny 2, Portal Knights and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. They're all available in our catalog—reserve one today!




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