It’s my favorite season of the year. No, not spring. It’s South Carolina Book Awards season!
Every year, the South Carolina Association of School Librarians announces nominees in each of four categories: picture, children’s, junior and young adult books. Each category has 20 titles. And once again, my goal is to read them all.
Many students are required to read at least one nominee, so by reading all the books, I’m better able to help them choose. Since the release of the lists late last month, I’ve been reading – and listening – like crazy: Currently I have one e-book and one e-audiobook on my phone; one e-book on my e-reader; one audiobook in my car; and one actual page-turning book.
There’s some amazing children’s literature out there, and the nominees represent some of the best. Each list has something for everyone: fiction and non-fiction, reality and fantasy, even graphic novels. In “real life” I mostly read mysteries – my co-workers joke that if there’s no dead body on the cover, I won’t even glance at it. But this time of year, I often find that a book I wouldn’t normally read is one I end up loving.
For example, right now I’m listening to Warcross, a young adult nominee by Marie Lu. It features characters playing in an international virtual reality gaming tournament. It’s not a book I would usually even consider reading, and yet I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
And it’s not just me. On more than one occasion I’ve put a children’s book in the hands of an adult. And without fail they come back to tell me how much they’ve loved it. Good writing is good writing, no matter the intended audience.
When was the last time you read a “kids’ book”?
Here are some of my favorite South Carolina Book Award nominees, from this year and years past:
by Marie Lu
2019-20 Young Adult Nominee
The War that Saved My Life
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
2017-18 Junior Nominee
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing
by Sheila Turnage
2016-17 Children's Nominee
Code of Honor
by Alan Gratz
2018 Junior Winner
Save Me a Seat
by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
2018-19 Children's Nominee