This past week the American Library Association announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston. For a full list of all awards, including Honor Books, check out the Youth Media Awards roundup. You can click on the titles below to request a copy of these award-winning books.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: Bone Gap,” written by Laura Ruby

Cover for Bone Gap

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:
Fish in a Tree,” written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and “The War that Saved My Life,” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley are the winners of the middle-school (ages 11-13).

Cover for Fish in a TreeCover for The War That Saved My Life

The teen (ages 13-18) award winner is “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B,” written by Teresa Toten

Cover for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:
All Involved,” by Ryan Gattis

Cover for All Involved

Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Cover for Between the World and Me

Bones & All,” by Camille DeAngelis

Cover for Bones and All

Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits,” by David Wong

Cover for Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits

Girl at War,” by Sara Nović

Cover for Girl at War

Half the World,” by Joe Abercrombie

Cover for Half the World

Humans of New York: Stories,” by Brandon Stanton

Cover for Humans of New York

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League,” by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Cover for Undocumented

The Unraveling of Mercy Louis,” by Keija Parssinen

Cover for The Unraveling of Mercy Louis

Stonewall Book Award - Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience: The Porcupine of Truth,” written by Bill Konigsberg

Cover for The Porcupine of Truth

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” written by Becky Albertalli

Cover for Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War,” written by Steve Sheinkin 

Cover for Most Dangerou

After a great deal of waiting with baited breath, our library district has been awarded $7,980 to fund teen programs that highlight STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) activities!  In just a short while we'll begin getting these activities onto the calendar.

So, what kind of programs can you look forward to?  We'll be doing a 4-part series with the Saint Louis Science Center in which you'll design and make your own 8-bit video game and controller.  You'll also have the chance to visit the Arch Reactor Maker Lab in St. Louis, to shoot and edit video, and to build and battle mini robots.

Stay tuned for more info!

Happy holidays from your friends at the Mississippi Valley Library District!  We will be closed several days over the next two weeks as we celebrate the holidays.  Here's what you should know:

  • The library will be closed Wednesday, December 23 through Friday, December 25.
  • We'll be open for regular hours Saturday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 30.
  • The library will be closed Thursday, December 31 and Friday, January 1.  Regular hours resume Saturday, January 2.
  • We are ALWAYS OPEN online.  You can search for and request items, renew things you already have checked out, and more by visiting the online catalog.  Our online databases (including ebooks, streaming and downloadable music & movies, and digital magazines) are also accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection.

Have a happy, healthy, safe holiday season!

It’s the holidays and you know what that means: over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house we go! If you haven’t discovered the joys of audiobooks, this is a good time to dive into this medium. What could be better than having a book read to you by a talented, professional actor? The miles will fly by as you listen to a story come to life when presented by great voice talents. But if you are traveling with your family, choosing an audiobook can be complicated. You want a book that will be of interest to everyone, no matter their age, but you also want to avoid embarrassing plot lines. We're here to help.

The Martian Chronicles cover

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, read by Scott Brick
First published in 1950, this book is a “future history” of Mars. It is a set of connected short stories that together tell of the people of Earth colonizing Mars and of how folks from Earth become Martians after a long enough time. It is beautifully written, as so many Bradbury works are, and it is hopeful yet grounded too. Scott Brick is an experienced and talented narrator whose smooth voice imparts all the drama and solemnity of humans making their way on an alien world. His voice trembles with rage and fear, soothes with velvet tones, and practically shouts with excitement when talking about rocket ships. These old fashioned tales are entertaining for all ages.

Ready Player One cover

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton
In the future, life is so terrible that most people escape into a virtual reality video game called OASIS. OASIS was created by a super rich, super smart techie who had a love of all things '80s. This mastermind hid a puzzle inside the game. Whoever solves the puzzle first will inherit the game creator’s fortune! Needless to say, playing becomes vicious and potentially deadly. Actor Wil Wheaton, best known for his turn on Star Trek: The Next Generation performs Cline’s wonderfully kitschy dystopia with gleeful, nerdy energy. And I mean that in the best way. Families that enjoy pop culture and games and science fiction will get a kick out of this simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic novel.

Skink No Surrender cover

Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen, read by Kirby Heyborne
Hiaasen writes great, goofy, strong characters and it is delightful to hear narrator Heyborne having fun, bringing them to life with his performance. The story is set in the wilderness of Florida’s rivers, where 14-year-old Richard teams up with wild man Skink to find and rescue Richard’s cousin Malley from a kidnapper. The amazing descriptions will make listeners feel they are in a swamp, while Heyborne’s performance of young girls, teen boys, concerned moms, old men, and 20-something lowlifes is a delight.

Pop cover

Pop by Gordon Korman, read by Nick Pohdel
This is not the usual ‘sports story.’ Marcus moves to a new town and finds friendship with an older man who used to be a linebacker for the NFL. They play football together in the town park, and Marcus just knows his skills are improving because of Charlie’s coaching. But Charlie’s family is not thrilled by his friendship with Marcus, and the family is hiding a big secret that may split up the two new pals. Korman writes with care and restraint about dementia; this is a tough subject, handled well. Narrator Pohdel also reads carefully, going from youthful voices to growly adults seamlessly. The text gently handled a rough subject, and the narrator is as adept as the words he’s reading.

Garth Nix covers

Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen by Garth Nix, read by Tim Curry
This is an older fantasy series, well worth seeking out. It takes place at the edge of two worlds, Ancelstierre, where technology works, and The Old Kingdom, where there is magic. The books cover several generations of people involved in protecting the world from evil spirits. Actor Tim Curry reads all three of the original books, and his performance is wonderful. Whether portraying a nervous young girl who has not come into her powers yet, a confident older magician, or a deliciously devious spirit trapped in the body of a small cat, Curry conjures up vivid images worthy of a movie.

The Scorpio Races cover

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham
Weaving together strands of Celtic mythology, Stiefvater has created a gripping, fantastical tale of a small island community where every November, boys race water horses or die trying. The horses literally come from the sea. They are demonically strong and do not want to be tamed or ridden. But the race is a tradition, and the winner becomes rich. The riders are traditionally male, but this year, driven by poverty, a girl enters for the first time. West and Hardingham alternate narration duties, and their take on the main characters is realistic, grounding this fantasy tale.

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