Here’s to All the Dreamers

Today the American Library Association announced the winner of the 2011 Pura Belpré Author Award. It’s a beauty! Other winners are listed after this review.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz.  The Dreamer. Illus. by Peter Sís. Scholastic, 2010. Ages 10-16.

The landscape of a major poet’s mind provides Ryan with the space to create her own work of art in The Dreamer. Her lush rendering of the early life of Neftali Reyes, the acclaimed Chilean poet known to the world as Pablo Neruda, is stunning and original.

This is the story of a scrawny, seemingly weak boy who finds power in words, in his vibrant environment, in the kingdom of imagination. The authoritarian figure of the father looms large in this novel, providing tension and conflict. The rigid patriarch has worked hard to advance with the railroad and is determined to see his son Neftali pursue a respected career in medicine. Ryan depicts the boy’s fears, his stuttering, and his growing resistance to his father’s demands.

The integration of form and content in this historical novel is a joy to experience. Ryan’s poetic structure involves choosing a single evocative word to denote each chapter, sprinkling her own poetic, Neruda-like lines within the story, and capturing the boy’s sense of wonder with the use of onomatopeia and repetition. Further highlighting the boy’s experiences and perceptions are the dreamy pen-and-ink pointillist illustrations of Peter Sis, known for his sensitive, often mysterious artwork.

A sampling of Neruda’s poems is included at the end of the book and will inspire older readers to discover more about this remarkable poet.

2011 ALA Awards for Children’s Literature Published in 2010

Newbery Awards & Honors

Honor Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night Joyce Sidman 9780547152288
Honor Heart of a Samurai Margi Preus 9780810989818
Honor One Crazy Summer Rita Williams-Garcia 9780060760885
Honor Turtle in Paradise Jennifer L. Holm 9780375836886
Winner Moon Over
Manifest
Clare Vanderpool 9780385738835

Caldecott Awards & Honors

Honor Dave the Potter Laban Carick Hill; illus. by Bryan Collier 9780316107310
Honor Interrupting Chicken David Ezra Stein 9780763641689
Winner A Sick Day for Amis McGee Erin Stead, illus. 9781596434028

ALEX Awards: The Alex Awards are given to 10 adult books that are appealing to young adults

The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To D.C. Pierson 9780307474612
Breaking Night Liz Murray 9780786868919
Girl in Translation Jean Kwok 9781594487569
The House of Tomorrow Peter Bognanni 9780399156090
The Lock Artist Steve Hamilton 9780312380427
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake Aimee Bender 9780385501125
The Radleys Matt Haig 9781439194010
The Reapers Are the Angels Alden Bell 9780805092431
Room Emma Donoghue 9780316098335
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden Helen Grant 9780385344173

Schneider Awards: Annual juvenile award to an author or illustrator that best captures the disability experience

Best Children’s Book The Pirate of Kingergarten George Ella Lyon 9781416950240
Best Middle School Book After Ever After Jordan Sonnenblick 9780439837064
Best Teen Book Five Flavors of Dumb Antony John 9780803734333

Stonewall children’s and YA literature Award: Annual award for English language book best capturing GLBT  experience

2011 Honor Books

Will Grayson, Will Grayson John Green 9780525421580
Love Drugged James Klise 9780738721750
Freaks and Revelations David Willis Hurwin 9780316049962
The Boy in the Dress David Williams 9781595142993

2011 Winner

Almost Perfect Brian Katcher 9780385736657

Coretta Scott King: Given to African-American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions

Lifetime Achievement Henrietta M. Smith
New Talent Zora & Me Victoria Bond 9780763643003
New Talent Seeds of Change Sonia Lynn SadlerJen Cullerton Johnson 9781600603679
Illustrator Dave the Potter Laban Carick Hill; illus. by Bryan Collier 9780316107310
Author Honor Lock Down Sharon Berti 9781450062732
Author Honor Ninth Ward Jewell Parker Rhodes 9780316043076
Author Honor Yummy G. Neri 9781584302674
Author Winner One Crazy Summer Rita Garcia-Williams 9780060760885

Margaret A. Edwards Awards for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature

  • Terry Pratchett

William C. Morris Award for Best debut YA Author

Honor Hush Esches Chayil 9780802720887
Honor Guardian of the Dead Karen Healy 9780316044301
Honor Hold Me Closer Necromancer Lish McBride 9780805090987
Winner Freak the Observer Blythe Woolston 9780761362128

YALSA Best Nonfiction Award

Honor Spies of Mississippi Rick Bowers 9781426305955
Honor The Dark Game Paul Janeckzo 9780763629151
Honor They Called Themselves
the KKK
Susan Campbell Bartoletti 9780618440337
Winner Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing Ann Angel 9780810983496

Prince Honor Books: Excellence in YA Literature

Winner Ship Breaker Paolo Bacigalupi 9780316056212

Pura Belpre Awards: Celebrating Latino Authors and Illustrators

Winner -Illustration Grandma’s Gift Eric Velasquez 9780802720825
Winner -Text The Dreamer Pam Munoz Ryan 9780439269704

Mildred L. Batchelder Award: International and Translated into English

Winner A Time of Miracles Anne-Laure Bondoux 9780385739221

Sibert Honor: Most Distinguished Informational Book

Honor Ballet for Martha Jan Greenberg 9781596433380
Honor Lafayette & the American Revolution Russell Freedman 9780823421824
Winner Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot Sy Montgomery 9780618494170

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award: Lasting & Significant Contribution to Children’s Literature

  • Tomie DePaola

Theodore Seuss Geisel Award: Book for Beginning Readers that demonstrate great creativity and imagination to engage children in reading

Honor Ling & Ting Grace Lin 9780316024525
Honor We Are in a Book Mo Willems 9781423133087
Winner Bink & Gollie Kate DiCamillo 9780763632663
0763632

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alex Baugh
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 09:36:29

    This sounds like a really beautiful book. I used to stutter also and spent years in speech therapy. I found I could manipulate written words to say and sound so much better than what came out of my mouth. This sounds like a very poignant story by a talented writer and I will definitely look for it.

    Reply

    • Janice Floyd Durante
      Jan 11, 2011 @ 10:17:01

      Alex, our VP, Joe Biden, also stuttered. He says he used to spend hours in his room reading aloud to himself, and that’s what helped. Yet another benefit of reading aloud!
      Thanks for your comment, Alex. I think you’ll love The Dreamer. I recommend it to anyone who loves words.

      Reply

  2. Janice Floyd Durante
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 21:52:36

    This year’s award results were interesting, weren’t they? And now I’ll add Moon Over Manifest, as well as a few others, to my list of must-reads.
    Thanks for the prize for my close (?) call on the winners. I’ll be in touch, Joanne.

    Reply

  3. Joanne Fritz
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 20:55:23

    Yes, I totally agree. It’s a lovely book. Like you, I actually thought it would win the Newbery. But I’m happy that it won something.

    And I’m thrilled that Moon Over Manifest won the Newbery (even though I failed to predict it — who cares? I thought for sure it would win an honor because it was a debut book).

    Check out the results on my blog. You won something.

    Reply

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