All right, this has nothing to do with young adult literature, and I probably shouldn’t care, but my picture book, The Wooden Sword (Albert Whitman, 2012),has been winning things and I’m completely happy about it. There is all sorts of stuff out there about the issue of awards in the arts, and the issues of personal taste, and how do you find reasonable criteria, and who should judge. And I buy all of it.
But this morning the Sydney Taylor awards were announced, and The Wooden Sword is the honor book in the Older Readers category, and I’m just so pleased. Before this, it was co-winner of the Middle East Outreach Award for picture books from the Institute of Middle East Studies, and won a Storytelling World award. It’s on the California Reader’s list with Where It Began, and the New York Public Library has it on the list of the 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2012.
Okay, not the Caldecott.
The big thing about all this is that The Wooden Sword is a folktale from Afghanistan, a fun, beautiful story I was honored to retell, but not necessarily what people go off to the library or bookstore clambering to find. With the awards, I’m hopeful that parents and teachers and librarians will find it, crack it open, see Carol Liddiment’s lovely illustrations, and read a hundreds-of-years-old tale that has endured into the 21st century because the story (and I get to say this because I didn’t make up the story) is just that good.