You've Got the Winners, Now What?

The Youth Media Awards for 2017 have been announced. Maybe your favorites won. Maybe your favorites lost. There were surprises. (There are always surprises.) History was made. March: Book Three won four awards! Sitting in the audience or watching online is always a thrill for me with JLG selections rising to the top. Once they’ve won, however, now what do you do with them? Is there anything out there to help “sell” the books to readers? And if you already have the books, how can you use those shiny stickers to add to the books’ marketing charisma? What about programming—should that be part of what you do with these winners? My mom often tells people that I write book reports for a living. In some ways, that's true. After every book I read, I write or talk about it.

The bonus for you is that I also look for resources to help you teach and share the books. Now we have a team who is helping me get information about the books up on our website faster. (Another bonus for you.) JLG created Booktalks to Go, so you can easily share titles with your readers. We look for author/illustrator websites and social media, lesson plans, paired texts from free online websites, and book trailers collect websites and resources from the back matter in the books. We put them all in one place--a JLG LiveBinder. A direct tab for the Booktalks to Go is added to each book’s book detail page. Books are also pinned to our JLG Booktalks to Go Pinterest board.

What about this year's winners? What cool things await you? Click on the title below for the book detail page and the link to JLG Booktalks to Go Resources. The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Newbery Winner) If you kids want more, I found two prequels to the story published last summer in Entertainment Weekly. JLG Category: C+ Advanced Readers (Grades 6-9). Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest, hoping this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. Little do they know the "witch" is saving their offering by bringing the abandoned baby to a nearby village. Their worlds collide when Luna drinks from the moon and the "forest witch" decides to raise her on her own.  

Radiant Child (Caldecott Winner) From an SLJ interview to a Video Author Chat with the publisher, this gorgeous book comes to life as you learn about the book's back story. JLG Category: AE Arts Elementary (Grades 2-6) Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own style introduces young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.

Juana & Lucas (Pura Belpré Author Winner): Thank you, Candlewick, for the Author Notes which fill in the reader on how Medina's life mimics the story. We've also included a great Wonderopolis Wonder, "Is It Ever Too Late To Learn a Language?" Pair the informational text with the independent reader chapter book. JLG Category: I Independent Readers (Grades 2-4) Juana lives in Colombia, where everyone speaks Spanish. This year at school, she's in for a big surprise when her teacher says they will learn to speak "the English." Juana doesn't understand why she needs to learn something that's so hard.

Giant Squid (Sibert Honor) From a video of what we know about the giant squid to a link to a Smithsonian article, you'll find out even more amazing facts in this amazing book about an animal we've never seen live. JLG Category: NEK+ Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K-2) (SOLD OUT) The giant squid is one of the most elusive creatures in the world. As large as whales, they hide beyond reach deep within the sea, forcing scientists to piece together their story from those clues they leave behind. An injured whale's ring-shaped scars indicate an encounter with a giant squid. A piece of beak broken off in the whale's belly; a flash of ink dispersed as a blinding defense to allow the squid to escape-- these fragments of proof were all we had . . . until a giant squid was finally filmed in its natural habitat only two years ago.

The Hammer of Thor: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (Stonewall) Find out how to correctly pronounce the author's name (The i is long.) at Expect to see Book Three in the fall. JLG Category: C+ Advanced Readers (Grades 6-9) The second installment in this series has Magnus and friends helping the god of thunder find his missing weapon before all Muspellheim breaks loose.

As Brave as You (Schneider Family Middle Grade) A Teacher's Guide is available. JLG Category: B+ Upper Elementary/Middle (Grades 5-7) When two brothers, Genie and Ernie, decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally. Then Ernie lets Genie down in the bravery department. It’s Ernie’s fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

The Sun is Also a Star (2017 Coretta Scott King / John Steptoe New Talent Award Winner and 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor Book) What's the author's favorite karaoke song? What message is she trying to convey in her book? Find out in an author interview and discover the method of the cover art in a video. JLG Category CH City High (Grades 10 & Up) Tonight Natasha and her family will be deported to Jamaica after ten years of living in America. Desperate to find a way to stay, she learns of an attorney who specializes in cases like hers. On her way, she meets Daniel, a Korean American, on his way to an interview for Yale. What happens that day changes everything. Or does it?

Now What?

Plan ahead for next year. Host your own mock awards. Follow Calling Caldecott at The Horn Book Magazine Follow the SLJ blogs, Someday My Printz Will Come and Heavy Medal. Search Pinterest for ideas about how to implement the program. It's a perfect way for kids to get used to voting. Help them learn now that their voice matters. Get them invested in the potential winners. Teach them about the qualifications. Explore past winners and discuss why you think they won. Participate in your state readers' choice awards programs. Nominate books.

How Do I Sell Them?

Gold and silver sells, so if you have JLG stickers, put them on the spine of the books. Create a display of what won. Give prizes to students who create booktalks or use media to advertise the winners. Using the book jacket and a line from the book in an infopic is an easy marketing tool. Try Adobe Spark. You can buy award stickers at the ALA store. Remember to add them to the Children's Notable Books as well. Two of their criteria are: *Subject matter of interest and value to children *The likelihood of acceptance by children (Board Action, June 1977)