This year’s Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards were announced this week. I was delighted with many of the committee’s choices, including the fiction prize for Kate DiCamillo’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I wasn’t a huge fan of her Newbery-winner The Tale of Despereaux, so it surprised me when I fell in love with the china rabbit Edward and his haughty attitude. It’s also an example of beautiful book-making, the way books used to be when they were very precious and most children only owned a few. The thick pages and color plates really show why e-books will never completely replace bound books—the words are the same, but the experience is very different.
The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards are unusual in several ways. They look at books from June of one year through May of the next, so they aren’t going through quite the same last-minute crunch when the Fall books come out that many award committees are. They examine the entire range of juvenile publishing, from picture books through Young Adult, fiction and nonfiction, and the only requirement is that they be published in the United States. It’s a huge number of books, but each three-person committee comes up with excellent choices that sometimes have been overlooked elsewhere.
Congratulations to DiCamillo, to Lois Ehlert, and to the late Faith McNulty, and most of all congratulations to the BG-HB Committee for finally being able to do something besides read! Your families will be glad to see you again, I’m sure.