Will a Fantasy Book Win the Newbery? Answer: No.

Fantasy/sci fi has had pretty good luck with the Newbery Award recently, what with When You Reach Me and The Graveyard Book. Will it do it again?

The top contenders are Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Keeper, by Kathi Appelt, both of which are books in which the fantasy elements are more "magical realism" -- the fantastical is important in each of them, but it's subtle; not dragony at all!

I'd be happy if Ninth Ward won--I love that book!

And we'll find out in just a few hours....

Edited to add:

It was very hard not being able to blog while at work today!!!! But I'm home again.

As most of you probably know, speculative fiction didn't do so well this year. No love from the Newbery committee. No love from the Batchelder committee (translated books), although Departure Time, by Matti is almost fantasy...And no love from Pura Belpre (best author and illustrator of Latina descent). Neither of the two sff books from the Morris list (YA debut) won.

There were a few little bright spots, though--The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex won the Odyssey Award (audiobook), and Ninth Ward won a Coretta Scott King author honor for Jewell Parker Rhodes.

And there were two very bright spots indeed. Terry Pratchet won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contribution to YA literature, and the winner of the Printz Award (YA) was Shipbreaker, by Paolo Bacigalupi.

You can find a very tidy complete set of lists over at Kids Lit (each award in its own post, so work your way down).


  1. Salman Rushdie taught me to love magical realism in books so I am rooting for the two you mention, though by now it is a done deal as to the winner.

  2. I still wonder if The Night Fairy has a shot!

  3. For that matter, what about Conspiracy of Kings?

  4. Dang, I was really hoping Keeper would at least win an Honor, because I loved it.

  5. Sounds like a spell is needed for a fantasy book to win.

  6. Yeah, fantasy didn't do so well this year. Trying to not be bitter about that. :)

    Ahhh! open id is not working for me today grrr

  7. 9th Ward = Honor book! Woop woop! I haven't read it yet, but MissAttitude at Reading in Color got me super pumped up to check it out.

  8. _Yes_ on Terry Pratchet! Thanks for the update and link. I'd missed that one.

  9. I was so excited for Terry Prachett when it was announced. Coming off the Cybils, what do you think would have been some worthy contenders for the Newberry/Morris/Printz awards for SFF? :)

  10. And the Printz is just dismal with spec fic, sadly. Part of why I refuse to agree that the Printz taking over the upper mg as well as YA will solve all problems. For all its issues, the Newbery is far more likely to award a spec fic book than the Printz.

    All in all, it makes me sad that good books get excluded because they're not the "right" age group or genre.

    And yes, I think about this more because I'm such a big MWT fan, but it does hold true for other things as well.

  11. Ninth Ward is a great book, but I'm a big fan of the crossover books like Leonid Korogodski's Pink Noise. Granted it's an indie book, but it's definitely an underrated title.


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