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The Magnolia Award

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Mississippi is launching a new award in children’s literature; it is called The Magnolia Award: Mississippi Children’s Choice. As the name implies, children will vote to determine the winning title. I learned about this award during the Children’s Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi earlier this month. A committee of children’s librarians and others who are passionate about children’s literature, including faculty members from education and library science departments, has selected 12 titles for the 2009-2010 vote.

They are: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee, Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge, We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee, Pictures from Our Vacation by Lynne Rae Perkins, Pale Male by Janet Schulman and Meilo So, How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz, The Wall by Peter Sis, John, Paul, George & Ben by Lane Smith, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, and Robot Dreams by Sara Varon.

The state Department of Education, the state Library Commission, the Mississippi Reading Association are part of the partnership that created The Magnolia Award. Third through fifth graders in public, private and homeschooling situations will be encouraged to read the full list of books before voting takes place in April 2010. Librarians in schools and public libraries will run the voting.

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I learned this weekend that Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator was nominated for the state of Alabama’s children’s choice award. Through its Emphasis on Reading program, Alabama has been giving a children’s choice award for nearly 30 years. You can see the full list of 2009-2010 nominees here.

The librarian at Orrington School in Evanston, Illinois, included Wolfsnail on her library’s Great Science books list. What’s fun about this for me is that I was born in Evanston and lived there until I was 7. I remember going to Evanston Public Library (which is on Orrington Avenue) for books. Now, there are several copies of Wolfsnail available there. Cool.

Books, Books, and More Books

Holidays around our house are always occasions for exchanging books. This year was no exception. All of us got books and/or gift cards for bookstores. In addition to the new books, my sister and I went through the two large bookcases in which my parents have stored our books from childhood. My parents are trying mightily to pare down their collection so the new books that come into the house will fit on shelves.

My sister went through the shelves first and laid claim to a fair bunch — including some Nat Hentoff titles that she had read in high school. She had tried to find the titles recently and learned they were out of print. My eighth grader expressed a lukewarm interest so she’s left them for him to read first. Since she’s flying home, she probably won’t be taking her stash on this trip anyway.

My pile included The Maude Reed Tale, Amos Fortune Free Man, The Pushcart War, Charles and Mary Lamb’s Shakespeare for Children, a compliation of the country’s founding documents, a collection of Edward Lear’s nonsense, etc. I had a good time thinking back to reading of favorites like Her Majesty, Grace Jones, All of a Kind Family, the Little House books, the Lois Lenski books, the Virginia Hamilton books, the Mildred Taylor books, etc.

The image at the top and the ones below are of my current knitting project. It’s a log cabin style light blanket. I began it a few weeks after my surgery and it has helped me get through the long hours on my back. I love the colors and the feel of the yarn.