13 October 2010

Literature for Young People Today

These are the nominees for the National Book Award for Literature for Young People, announced today.

  • Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker
  • Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird
  • Laura McNeal, Dark Water
  • Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown
  • Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer
Notably, three of these five novels have protagonists who are young people of color. In the rest, Dark Water’s main character enters a relationship with a young Latino migrant, and the protagonist of Mockingbird has Asperger’s syndrome.

Of course, the NBA pool tends to choose from the “high end” of children’s literature, which is more likely to include serious novels, historical fiction, and explorations of the experiences of social outsiders. Still, it’s an interesting snapshot.

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