Me & Libba Bray
By Libba Bray
2010 Printz Award
Libba Bray first captivated me with her books Rebel Angels and The Sweet Far Thing. Teen girls everywhere fell in love with her smart, witty female characters. I was quite surprised when Going Bovine came out and the main character was male…but the book has become one of my all-time favorites! Going Bovine is jam-packed with so much adventure and a wacky yet sad sense of humor. It’s like a mad-capped trip through a teenaged Wonderland as Cameron discovers who he is and what life is really all about. Libba has written a book I know I’ll be reading over and over again for years to come and recommending to friends and students as well. It’s sure to become an enduring classic, displaying its well-earned Printz Award on its front cover.
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Libba Bray at ALA this past summer when she officially received the Printz Award for Going Bovine. She gave an incredible speech and is one of the most entertaining and hilarious authors I have ever heard speak. She has one of those personalities where she just sparkles from the stage and you feel like you could just sit down and have a cup of coffee and a lot of laughs with her. She’s a true rockstar! In fact, little did I know, but Libba can actually rock out as well and if you look her up on YouTube, you’ll find the evidence of her singing talent. I expect we’ll be hearing quite a bit more from this very talented author.
Tales of A Madman Underground
By John Barnes
Printz Honor Award Winner
John Barnes’ cast of characters has everyone rooting for the underdog in this tale destined to become a favorite among readers. In some ways, the main character Karl Shoemaker is reminiscent of Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, but written for a new generation. And yet he is so different. Barnes’ has developed characters and delved into the complexities of relationships in a novel that you won’t soon forget and will having you rethinking who the real heroes are in the world. It's a novel about friendship, relationships, and coming of age with a quirky but loveable set of characters with real depth. This isn't the Beverly Hills 90120 set but but a group more like the other 80% of the nations' population.
I got to meet John Barnes personally at ALA after the Printz Awards (during which he gave a terrific speech about writing today and the state of the modern novel). I hadn’t had time for him to sign my book during the conference and was out for a late night drink with a friend after the Printz reception. We couldn’t find a bar open in Washington and ended up stumbling upon the only bar that seemed to be open at about 1:30 am only to “crash” the authors’ party. I have to say they were all incredibly gracious toward us. As we were heading out for the night I asked John if he’d mind signing my book for me and he nicely did so – “For Melissa, Who has been drinking and does it well!” Thanks again John!
By Rick Yancy
Printz Honor Award Winner
Rick Yancy’s book had been on my “to read” list since the day the preview came out, but being bogged down with grad school, I still hadn’t gotten around to reading it. After hearing his speech at ALA, it automatically got moved up in the priority list. The idea of Yancy scaring himself while writing his own book…well that just had me intrigued. I had to find out what it was about this book that was going to scare the bejeezus out of all of the kids in my school once I was teaching full-time.
I have to say that as intrigued as I was by the previews, the book is even better than I thought it would be. From the picture on the front cover to the very last word, this is an incredible read. Yancy may very well be our modern day Edgar Allen Poe. This tale is finely crafted and filled with horrific detail. Lovers of the obscure will delight in every spine tingling turn of the page. It is not a book for the faint of heart and will undoubtedly make you wary of things that go bump in the night.