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So the suspense is over (until next year), and we know which books were awarded the Newbery and Caldecott medals and the many other coveted American Library Association 2012 youth media awards.

And we know it’s inevitable that some of your favorites didn’t win.

We had a thought about that — why not bestow your own awards on the 2011 books you loved (or, as we like to say here, the books you got lost in) but missed out on honors yesterday? So we’re inviting you to come up with your own awards for your favorite books released in 2011 and submit them here via a comment.

If you feel inspired, be specific/creative in honoring your favorites … ‘Book So Enthralling I Pulled an All-Nighter to Finish’? ‘Book with a Character I’ll Carry with Me Forever?’ ‘Best Blending of History and Fiction?’

Or maybe ‘Best Read-Aloud Book for Using Funny Accents/Voices’ (back in the day, when LitKid was picture-book-age, I would have awarded this to the Skippy Jon Jones books). Or, to get specific, ‘Favorite Portrayal of Trolls and Troll Enthusiasts’ (The Emerald Atlas came to mind for this one).

Here’s a younger LitKid with her grandma and grandma’s special birthday present: a beautiful copy of ‘Anne of Green Gables,’ a classic that predated kid-literature prizes

LitKid will choose the best award based on its creativity and imagination, and the winner will receive a copy of Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, one of LitKid’s favorite books of 2011. (LitKid received not one but TWO copies of Breadcrumbs for Christmas, and she had the idea to give it away via our blog.)

LitKid is designing a virtual “medal” ~ LitKid’s “Lost in a Book” Medal of Honor ~ and you can send a picture of it to the authors of your honored book(s) or at least post it on Twitter. It won’t be a fancy gold one they can put on their books, but we bet they’ll appreciate it just the same.

We hope you’ll jump in and offer up your book awards; LitKid will be thrilled if you do…



  • Enter via posting your awards in a comment on this post. Feel free to bestow awards on multiple books in your comment, but only one award will be singled out as the winner and only one prize will be bestowed.  
  • Contest runs through midnight EST on May 31. [We keep extending the deadline in hopes of getting more entries!]
  • LitKid, our 10-year-old judge, will choose the winning entry based on the creativity and imagination shown in thinking through/creating each award.
  • Open only to U.S. residents.
  • The grand prize – one copy of Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – will be sent to one winner via the US Postal Service within one month of the prize announcement. (We wish we could give away MANY prizes, but unfortunately, we’re broke as a result of our book shopping habits. We bet you know what that’s like.)
  • Winner must provide mailing information via email by June 8 (otherwise, we may forget to mail it!). If the mailing info is not received by end of day on June 8, the winner will  forfeit the prize and another winner will be chosen. 

I noticed that Sandra Boynton is now ‘Twittering,’ and seeing her (funny – of course) Tweets made me think about the staying power of certain books from my daughter’s long-ago toddlerhood.

‘LitKid,’ my blogging partner here, is now 10, and sadly, we don’t skip down memory lane and read our old standbys from those days nearly often enough. When we do pull a few off the shelf every once in a while, it always makes us silly and a little sad and nostalgic for those old read-aloud days.

Sandra Boynton’s Snoozers, a board book “anthology” (and why not use that lofty term for such quality stories, even if they just span two pages?) was my ‘LitKid’s’ very first book gift – an excellent baby shower gift from my friend Stephanie while LitKid was still a work in progress.

It also proved to be … well, if not prophetic then certainly appropriate. In her early weeks, LitKid was not fond of sleeping during the day – apparently that “all they do is sleep and eat in the early days” myth I heard from all quarters was another bit of propaganda designed to sugarcoat first-time motherhood for the uninitiated. (Thank God for Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions.)

I remember so well rocking my girl and reading Snoozers to her over and over, illogically hoping all the talk of sleep would seep subliminally into the alert little brain in that gargantuan head of hers. While I can’t say it worked, I can say that that little book and its humor kept me a little more sane than I would have been otherwise, and it will always be a sentimental favorite.

Our dog-eared, high-mileage Sandra Boynton collection

Then we moved on to Pajama Time, Moo Baa La, Hey! Wake Up, and The Going to Bed Book, among others, and this is when the poetry of Sandra Boynton and a few other ‘little kid lit’ geniuses took hold in my brain. At 47, I sometimes find myself foggy on what I walked downstairs to get in the 2 minutes it takes me to get downstairs, but I can still walk into my girl’s room in the morning and rouse her with the words of Hey! Wake Up!

Hey, big guys 

Open your eyes

What you do say?

It’s a brand-new day!

Yawn, stretch, touch your toes … shimmy, shimmy, shimmy (and of course, one must shimmy 3 times at this point) … wiggle your nose (yep, you have to wiggle your nose, too)

And it goes on from there … I could type out the rest from memory, too, but you should really go and buy your own copy.

All in all, it’s an excellent way to be greeted in the morning.

As for nighttime, I remember fondly the Pajama Time ‘lyrics’ and my choreography.

Pajammy to the left  (accompanied by square dance-ish side-stepping to the left)

Pajammy to the right (ditto, to the right)

Jama, jama, jama … P J! (free-form, wild-and-woolly throwing down at this cue)

Everybody’s wearing them for dancing tonight! 

Jamma, jamma, jamma … P! J! (and more throwing down before collapsing)

Oh, yes, Sandra Boynton, you brought much joy and silliness into our mornings and our evenings, and I will never forget that, either.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention another rollicking favorite that I can also call up from that long-ago set of memories: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. I admit that I had to revisit this book for a minute or two to jog my memory, but once I had a glance, it all flooded back … the inflections I used at certain junctures, the goofy expressions and histrionics we tried to match to the words.

A told B, and B told C, “I’ll meet you at the top of the coconut tree.”

“Whee!” said D to E F G, “I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.”

Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

Here comes H up the coconut tree

and I and J and tag-along K, all on their way up the coconut tree

Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

Look who’s coming! L M N O P! (read VERY fast)

And Q R S! And T U V! Still more – W! And X Y Z!

The whole alphabet up the – Oh no! Chicka chicka … BOOM! BOOM!

Skit skat skoodle doot. Flip flop flee. Everybody running to the coconut tree.

That’s not all the fun, but again, you would do well to buy or check out a copy so you can revel in the rest of this unforgettable romp.

With any luck, the author/illustrators who etch themselves into the memories of both parents and kids this way realize the power and reach of their wit and whimsy.

With deep appreciation~

AKid@Heart (the mom half of the ‘Lost in a Book’ duo)

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January 2012
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