Winners will be announced November 17 in New York City.
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (Knopf)
Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon --winner!
Great House by Nicole Krauss (Norton)
So Much for That by Lionel Shriver (Harper)
I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita (Coffee House Press)
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (Spiegel & Grau)
Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq by John W. Dower (Norton/The New Press)
Just Kids by Patti Smith --winner!
Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward by Justin Spring (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War by Megan K. Stack (Doubleday)
The Eternal City by Kathleen Graber (Princeton University Press)
Lighthead by Terrance Hayes --winner!
By the Numbers by James Richardson (Copper Canyon Press)
One with Others by C.D. Wright (Copper Canyon Press)
Ignatz by Monica Youn (Four Way Books)
Young People's Literature
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown)
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine --winner!
Dark Water by Laura McNeal (Knopf)
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad)
The 2009 NBA finalists are:
* American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
* Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann --Winner!
* In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
* Lark and Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
* Far North by Marcel Theroux
* Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook by David M. Carroll
* Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures.... by Sean B. Carroll
* Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall.... by Greg Grandin
* The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, by Adrienne Mayor
* The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles -- Winner!
* Versed by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
* Or to Begin Again by Ann Lauterbach (Viking Penguin)
* Speak Low by Carl Phillips (FSG)
* Open Interval by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon (University of Pittsburgh Press)
* Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy by Keith Waldrop --Winner!
Young People's Literature
* Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
* Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose -- Winner!
* Stitches by David Small
* Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
* Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
* E.L. Doctorow for The March: A Novel (Random House)
* Mary Gaitskill for Veronica: A Novel (Pantheon)
* Christopher Sorrentino for Trance: A Novel (FSG)
* Renè Steinke for Holy Skirts: A Novel of a Flamboyant Woman Who Risked All for Art (P.S.) (Morrow)
* William T. Vollmann for Europe Central (Viking) -- WINNER!
* Alan Burdick for Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion (FSG)
* Leo Damrosch for Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius (Houghton Mifflin)
* Joan Didion for The Year of Magical Thinking (Knopf) -- WINNER!
* Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn for 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers (Times Books)
* Adam Hochschild for Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves (Houghton Mifflin)
* John Ashbery for Where Shall I Wander (Ecco)
* Frank Bidart for Star Dust: Poems (FSG)
* Brendan Galvin for Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965-2005 (Louisiana State University Press)
* W.S. Merwin for Migration: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press) -- WINNER!
* Vern Rutsala for The Moment's Equation (Ashland Poetry Press)
Young People's Literature
* Jeanne Birdsall for The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy -- WINNER!
* Adele Griffin for Where I Want to Be (Putnam)
* Chris Lynch for Inexcusable (Atheneum)
* Walter Dean Myers for Autobiography of My Dead Brother (HarperTempest)
* Deborah Wiles for Each Little Bird That Sings
from Collecting Children's Books by Peter D. Sieruta 10/11/09:
THOSE NBAs : A RETROSPECTIVE
Let’s take a look back at some of the early NBA finalists and winners. Were the best books generally chosen, or have the winning titles been mostly forgotten by now?
The National Book Awards began in 1950, with only three categories. That year’s winners were THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM by Nelson Algren (fiction), RALPH WALDO EMERSON by Ralph L. Rusk (nonfiction), and PATERON BOOK III AND SELECTED POEMS by William Carlos Williams (Poetry.)
A category for children’s books did not exist until 1969 when Meindert DeJong won for JOURNEY FROM PEPPERMINT STREET. Other finalists were THE HIGH KING by Lloyd Alexander, CONSTANCE by Patricia Clapp, THE ENDLESS STEPPE by Esther Hautzig, and LANGSTON HUGHES by Milton Meltzer. In retrospect, JOURNEY FROM PEPPERMINT STREET seems a way of belatedly honoring DeJong for his earlier, better work. Nowadays PEPPERMINT is out of print and not considered one of his best.
1970 : A DAY OF PLEASURE : STORIES OF A BOY GROWING UP IN WARSAW by Isaac Bashevis Singer beat out WHERE THE LILIES BLOOM (Vera and Bill Cleaver), POPCORN AND MA GOODNESS (Edna Mitchell Preston), SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE (William Steig), and THE YOUNG UNITED STATES, 1783-1830 (Edwin Tunis.) Singer’s autobiographical volume, also now long-forgotten, seems like another “career prize,” possibly awarded as much for his adult work as for his children’s books.
1971 : THE MARVELOUS MISADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN by Lloyd Alexander won over GROVER by Vera and Bill Cleaver, BLOWFISH LIVE IN THE SEA by Paula Fox, FROG AND TOAD ARE FRIENDS by Arnold Lobel and THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN by E.B. White. Yet another example of a noted author winning an NBA for one his lesser-known works.
1972 : THE SLIGHTLY IRREGULAR FIRE ENGINE, OR THE HITHERING THITHERING DJINN by Donald Barthleme was clearly chosen by judges way-too-impressed by Barthelme’s work for adults. No one in the field of children’s books took this children’s book seriously. Many of the other finalists, however, were excellent. They include: THE ART AND INDUSTRY OF SAND CASTLES by Jan Adkins, WILD IN THE WORLD by John Donovon, THE PLANET OF JUNIOR BROWN by Virginia Hamilton, HIS OWN WHERE by June Jordan, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN by Ursula K. LeGuin, MRS. FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien, HILIDID’S NIGHT by Cheli Duran Ryan, AMOS AND BORIS by William Steig, and FATHER FOX’S PENNYRHYMES by Wendy and Clyde Watson.
1973 : THE FARTHEST SHORE by Ursula K. LeGuin beat nominees THE HOUSE OF WINGS by Betsy Byars, TROLLS by Ingri and Edgar Parin d”Aulaire, JULIE OF THE WOLVES by Jean Craighead George, CHILDREN OF VIETNAM by Betty Jean Lifton and Thomas C. Fox, THE IMPOSSIBLE PEOPLE by Georgess McHargue, THE WITCHES OF WORM by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and DOMINIC by William Steig. Never out of print in the past three decades, THE FARTHEST SHORE is probably one of the NBA’s stronger choices.
1974 : Eleanor Cameron’s THE COURT OF THE STONE CHILDREN bested A HERO AIN’T NOTHING BUT A SANDWICH by Alice Childress, THE WHYS AND WHEREFORES OF LITTABELLE LEE by Vera and Bill Cleaver (and isn’t it nice to see them getting so much NBA love -- this is their third of four nominations -- when they were always passed over for the Newbery?), THE TREASURE IS THE ROSE by Julia Cunningham, SUMMER OF MY GERMAN SOLDIER by Bette Greene , GUESTS IN THE PROMISED LAND by Kristin Hunter, A PROUD TASTE FOR SCARLET AND MINIVER by E.L. Konigsburg, A FIGURE OF SPEECH by Norma Fox Mazer, POOR RICHARD IN FRANCE by F.N. Monjo, and DUFFY AND THE DEVIL by Harve Zemach. The now-out-of-print winner, a cerebral fantasy, beat out a number of much more emotionally-charged novels.
1975 : Virginia Hamilton’s M.C. HIGGINS THE GREAT was the winner in a field that included THE DEVIL’S STORYBOOK by Natalie Babbitt, DOCTOR IN THE ZOO by Bruce Buchenholz, I TELL A LIE EVERY SO OFTEN by Bruce Clements, MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier, JOI BANGLA : THE CHILDREN OF BANGLADESH by Jason Laure and Ettagale Laure, WORLD OF OUR FATHERS by Milton Meltzer, REMEMBER THE DAYS by Milton Meltzer (two nominations in one year), WINGS by Adrienne Rich, and THE EDGE OF NEXT YEAR by Mary Stolz. I especially love the last two titles on this list, but have to admit the Hamilton is a well-regarded choice. This was the first time the same book won the NBA and the Newbery.
1976 : A solid, old-fashioned novel, BERT BREEN’S BARN by Walter D. Edmonds took the trophy over TO THE GREEN MOUNTAINS by Eleanor Cameron, AS I WAS CROSSING BOSTON COMMON by Norma Faber, OF LOVE AND DEATH AND OTHER JOURNEYS by Isabelle Holland, THE STAR IN THE PAIL by David McCord, EL BRONX REMEMBERED by Nicolasa Mohr and LUDELL by Brenda Wilkinson. I always thought that BERT BREEN’S BARN had the feel of a classic, but it doesn’t appear to have caught on the way I expected.
1977 : THE MASTER PUPPETEER by Katherine Paterson won. The other finalists were NEVER TO FORGET : THE JEWS OF THE HOLOCAUST by Milton Meltzer, OX UNDER PRESSURE by John Ney, ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor, and TUNES FOR A SMALL HARMONICA by Barbara Wersba. This was the first national prize recognition that Katherine Paterson received; soon she would become the most-honored author in children’s books.
1978 : THE VIEW FROM THE OAK by Judith Kohl and Herbert Kohl beat HEW AGAINST THE GRAIN by Betty Sue Cummings, MICHLING, SECOND DEGREE by Ilse Koehn, ONE AT A TIME by David McCord, and CALEB & KATE by William Steig. This year an out-of-left-field nonfiction book beat out a forgettable list of candidates. I think this may be the single weakest slate of NBA contenders in the history of the award.
1979 : Katherine Paterson scored again with THE GREAT GIILLY HOPKINS, leaving the following titles in the dust: THE FIRST TWO LIVES OF LUKAS-KASHA (Lloyd Alexander), QUEEN OF HEARTS (Vera and Bill Cleaver), HUMBUG MOUNTAIN (Sid Fleischman) and THE LITTLE SWINEHERD AND OTHER TALES (Paula Fox.) What’s so extraordinary about Katherine Paterson’s double NBA win is that within the same general time period she also won two Newberys for different titles!
From 1980 through 1986, the National Book Awards operated as the American Book Awards. The first year under that new name had two children’s categories -- for hardcover and paperback books, and as time went on the categories continued to multiply like Henry Huggins’ guppies, so that eventually there categories such as Hardcover Nonfiction and Paperback Picture Book. The paperback awards were especially odd, as they would often honor books published many years earlier in hardcover. Occasionally (and ridiculously) past NBA finalists would be nominated again when they turned up in paperback. For example, Lloyd Alexander’s 1969 finalist, THE HIGH KING, was nominated again as a paperback in 1981. It was insanity! Eventually the children’s categories were dropped completely and did not return when the American Book Awards reverted back to the National Book Awards in 1987. An NBA category called “Young People’s Literature” eventually reappeared in 1996.
1996 : PARROT IN THE OVEN : MI VIDA by Victor Martinez was the the first book to win in this category. Its competition included WHAT JAMIE SAW by Carolyn Coman, A GIRL NAMED DISASTER by Nancy Farmer, THE LONG SEASON OF RAIN by Helen Kim, and SEND ME DOWN A MIRACLE by Han Nolan. I believe the latter book was either a paperback original, or published simultaneougly in hardcover and paperback.
1997 : In a rather weak field, Han Nolan -- nominated for the second time in two years -- won for DANCING ON THE EDGE. Other contenders were THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES by Brock Cole, SONS OF LIBERTY by Adele Griffin, WHERE YOU BELONG by Mary Ann McGuigan, and MEAN MARGARET by Tor Seidler.
1998 : HOLES by Louis Sachar won -- the second time a book scored both the NBA and the Newbery. The four other finalists were THE SECRET LIFE OF AMANDA K. WOODS by Ann Cameron, JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY by Jack Gantos, NO PRETTY PICTURES : A CHILD OF WAR by Anita Lobel, and A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO by Richard Peck.
1999 : WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER CAME TO TOWN by Kimberly Willis Holt took the prize over SPEAK (Laurie Halse Anderson), THE BIRCHBARK HOUSE (Louise Erdrich), THE TROLLS (Polly Horvath) and MONSTER (Walter Dean Myers.) In retrospect, do you think ZACHARY is the strongest book on this list? I don’t.
2000 : HOMELESS BIRD by Gloria Whelan beat out finalists FORGOTTEN FIRE by Adam Bagdasarian, THE BOOK OF THE LION by Michael Cadnum, MANY STONES by Carolyn Coman, and HURRY FREEDOM : AFRICAN AMERICANS IN GOLD RUSH CALIFORNIA. This may be the second weakest slate of NBA contenders in the history of the award.
2001 : TRUE BELIEVER by Virginia Euwer Wolff took the top spot, with the other four nominees being THE TIGER RISING by Kate DiCamillo, WE WERE THERE TOO! : YOUNG PEOPLE IN U.S. HISTORY by Philip Hoose; A STEP FROM HEAVEN by AN NA, and CARVER : A LIFE IN POEMS by Marilyn Nelson. When the Printz Awards were announced a couple months later, A STEP FROM HEAVEN won the top prize, with TRUE BELIEVER relegated to Honor Book status.
2002 : And the winner was...THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer. Other finalists were FEED by M.T. Anderson, 19 VARIETIES OF GAZELLE : POEMS OF THE MIDEAST by Naomi Shihab Nye; THIS LAND WAS MADE FOR YOU AND ME : THE LIFE AND SONGS OF WOODY GUTHRIE by Elizabeth Partridge, and HUSH by Jacqueline Woodson. It was a big year for SCORPION, which also picked up Newbery and Printz Honor Awards.
2003 : Polly Horvath took top honors with THE CANNING SEASON. The other lucky four were Paul Fleischman’s BREAKOUT, Jim Murphy’s AN AMERICAN PLAGUE, Richard Peck’s THE RIVER BETWEEN US and Jacqueline Woodson’s LOCOMOTION. Polly Horvath’s books are an acquired taste; obviously that year’s committee appreciated her off-beat work. I still haven’t finished reading THE CANNING SEASON.
2004 : GODLESS by Pete Hautman won, reflecting this category’s continued domination by young adult, rather than children’s, books. The finalists were HONEY, BABY, SWEETHEART by Deb Caletti, HARLEM STOMP : A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE by Laban Carrick Hill, THE LEGEND OF BUDDY BUSH by Sheila P. Moses, and LUNA by Julie Ann Peters.
2005 : THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall was the winner. WHERE I WANT TO BE (Adele Griffin), INEXCUSABLE (Chris Lynch), AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY DEAD BROTHER (Walter Dean Myers) and EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS (Deborah Wiles) filled out the scorecard. Yeah, I know, I just got finished saying that the NBA tilts toward young adult titles, and then in 2005 they awarded the prize to an old-fashioned middle-grade novel. Still, I think it was the right choice.
2006 : THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING, TRAITOR TO THE NATION, VOLUME 1 : THE POX PARTY by M.T. Anderson was the winner. The other finalists were KETURAH AND LORD DEATH by Martine Leavitt, SOLD by Patricia McCormick, THE RULES OF SURVIVAL by Nancy Werlin, and AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Luen Yang. OCTAVIAN is clearly one of the great modern books, so its selection will always reflect well on the NBA.
2007 : Sherman Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN took top honors with the other four finalists being SKIN HUNGER by Kathleen Duey, TOUCHING SNOW by M. Sindy Felin, THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick and STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr. People were surprised a couple months later when PART-TIME INDIAN didn’t get Printz recognition.
2008 : WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell was the somewhat surprising winner in a field that included CHAINS by Laurie Halse Anderson, THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt, THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS by E. Lockhart and THE SPECTACULAR NOW by Tim Tharp.