Tuesday, November 02, 2010

New Award to Speculate About!

. . . Big deal, you say. The ALA thinks up new awards all the time. We've had, like, six new awards added to the roster just in the past decade.

But I think this one is super-special. It will be called the Stonewall Award, "awarded annually to English-language works for children and teens of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered experience." With the rising numbers of gay and lesbian families out there, and also the persistent bullying and misunderstanding of GLBT kids coming out of the closet, this is an important award.

Ooo. Oooooooooooooooo. I'm so surprised by this that I can't even speculate properly. Help me out here, guys - who should win the first Stonewall award? It won't be awarded until January 2012 (remember that the Youth Media Awards, while awarded in January, award for the previous year.) What's coming up that you're really excited for?

By the way, if you're going "Whuh?" about the name, Stonewall refers to the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Maybe you're thinking violence is not the best association for a children's and teen book award, but this particular event is seen as a watershed moment in the fight for GLBT rights.

Thanks to Lisa Jenn Bigelow for the heads-up. Drop by her blog for a much more thoughtful reaction to this award.


Lisa Jenn Bigelow said...

I'm glad you picked up the story! I got some clarification from members of a listserv I'm on. The first Stonewall youth award was actually given this past summer to Nick Burd's The Vast Fields of Ordinary, published in 2009. So 2011 will actually see the second award presented.

Apparently what made this news now -- which the press release obscured -- is that starting in 2011 the award will be announced at ALA Midwinter along with the other Youth Media Awards, whereas this past year it was announced at the Stonewall Awards Brunch at ALA in June. I like that by changing the setting of the announcement they're giving the Stonewall books a much more prominent place among other honored children's/YA titles. They'll receive greater publicity than they would being essentially relegated to an LGBTQ ghetto within ALA.

Bibliovore said...

Thanks for the additional info, Lisa Jenn! I had no idea the award already existed. Agreed, good move to group it with the other ALA youth media awards, both publicty-wise and as a public statement of the validity of the GLBTQ experience across all ages.

ivanova said...

It is kind of funny that everyone thinks this a new award, when it's a year old. I think there must have been a very confusing press release put out and some intern somewhere is being blamed. But, I think the publicity is great, and anytime is a good time to celebrate this book award.

I think the name "Stonewall" is nice name for the award, because the Stonewall Riots are pretty well known and make people think, "oh, that means gay!" And at the same time has a classy, old-timey sound like Caldecott or Newberry. There are a bunch of companies that use the word Stonewall in their name the same way, like Stonewall Kitchen the gourmet food company. It doesn't really make me think "violence." Like, if I heard "Tiananmen" I would think "democracy" or "China," not "people getting shot." Anyway, thanks for letting me play this little word association game. My dream is to someday win this award.