Minnesota Book Awards

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Each month, I make an effort to find and attend some event that will help me connect with the writer’s network in Minnesota. This month I decided to read and vote on the children’s books up for a Minnesota Book Award.

Naturally, this activity lended itself well to April’s Children’s Book Review post.

My Heart is Like a Zoo, by Michael Hall: Ordinarily, I would be a fan of this book. But its status as “one of the top four Minnesota Children’s Books” has me feeling a little critical. The colors are fun. The illustrations are neat (all the animals are made completely of heart shapes) but the heart concept was a little lost on Hiram. The story rhymes a bit, which feels kind of forced. Overall, I’d give this one an “eh.”

Emma’s Poem, by Linda Glaser: This is the one I pre-judged to be the boring loser. But it ended up being the one I voted for. It’s the story of Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem, Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free and chronicles how these words became associated with the Statue of Liberty. The story is geared towards ages 4-6 and conveys, simply, how awesome it is to be an American. Goose Bump Factor of 10.

1+1=5, by David LaRochelle: I don’t like children’s books that make me feel dense. I loved the premise—math for people who think outside the box. But in actuality, I could never figure out how the numbers added up by myself (1 set of triplets plus 1 set of twins = 5!) I thought it was too obscure, but probably, I’m just not smarter than a 5th grader.

A Night on the Range, by Chris Sheban: This one was the underdog because it wasn’t available at the library, and as a result, I didn’t have time to read it before the voting deadline. What’s worse, despite requesting it from the library almost a month ago, its status remains “on order” in all twin cities libraries. Now, I’m no expert, but this can’t be good for business.

The winner is announced at the Awards Gala on Saturday night, which I will not be attending (what would I wear?) But it will be fun to see who wins.



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