Press Release: 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner Announced!

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is pleased and proud to announce the winner of the 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult Fiction.  Established in 2008 to honor the wishes of young adult author Amelia Elizabeth Walden, the award allows for the sum of $5,000 to be presented annually to the author of a young adult title selected by the ALAN Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Committee as demonstrating a positive approach to life, widespread teen appeal, and literary merit.  

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Winner is:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton Books)

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award finalists are:

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin AlireSáenz (Simon & Schuster)

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Little Brown and Company)

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic)

All Walden Award titles will be identified by an award sticker—gold for the winner and silver for the four finalists. The winning title and finalists will be honored on Monday, November 25th at the 2013 ALAN Workshop in Boston, Massachusetts, and will be invited to participate in a panel discussion.

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee would like to thank: the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Foundation, the ALAN Executive Council, the ALAN Board of Directors, NCTE, and the thirty publishers who submitted titles for consideration.

The 2013 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Committee considered nearly 350 young adult titles throughout the process.  The committee was comprised of eleven members representing the university, K-12 school, and library communities.  They are:

  • Lois Buckman, Committee Chair, Librarian, Caney Creek High School, Conroe, TX
  • Ricki Ginsberg, Past Committee Chair, Doctoral Student, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
  • Carolyn Angus, Director, George G. Stone Center for Children’s Books, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
  • Jonatha Basye, Teacher/Librarian, Bryan Elementary, Hampton, VA
  • Paul Hankins, English Language & Composition, Silver Creek High School, Sellersburg, IN
  • Suzanne Metcalfe, Librarian, Dimond High School, Anchorage, Alaska
  • Mark Letcher, Assistant Professor English Education, Purdue University Calumet Hammond, IN
  • Kellee Moye, Classroom Teacher, Hunter’s Creek Middle School, Orlando, FL
  • Mindi Rench, Classroom Teacher, Northbrook Junior High School, Northbrook, IL
  • Lois Stover, Professor, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St Mary’s City, MD
  • Diane Tuccillo, Teen Services Librarian, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO

For more information on the award, please visit ALAN Online: The Official Site of the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

When Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King won a Printz Honor back in January, I was mad at myself because it was on my TBR-pile and I hadn’t picked it up yet. So I reshuffled the pile and made sure I got to it that week. Boy, am I glad I did!  A worthy-winner, it’s the perfect combination of literary and teen appeal.

Vera Dietz would really like to be invisible.  She is perfectly content going through life without anyone noticing her.  But since the death of her ex-best friend Charlie, that’s been a lot harder to do.  See, Vera knows what happened to Charlie that night.  But can she bring herself to clear his name?  Can she forgive him enough to do that? Part mystery, part coming-of-age, all amazing- this is a book you must read.  No summary can do it justice.

I really loved how King crafted Please Ignore Vera Dietz.  The story is told from a variety of perspectives- the living, the dead, even inanimate objects.  Everything weaves together into a web of intrigue, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.  At the same time, the mystery is not overbearing.

Teens will love Vera and I think most will identify with her in some way. She is sarcastic, quirky, angry, smart, full of love, at times full of hate, and  just… real.  She jumps off the page and it feels like she is telling you her story while sitting next to you.   You can’t help but root for her (and her dad, whom I loved).  I even found myself rooting for Charlie by the end, despite his numerous issues.

A worthy book of the Printz sticker.  Get this one in the hands of your high school readers ASAP!

*review copy courtesy of publisher

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