National Book Award ‘longlist’ in young adult literature

Kate DiCamillo's "Flora and Ulysses" is among 10 books on the new "longlist" for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Kate DiCamillo’s “Flora and Ulysses” is among 10 books on the new “longlist” for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. (Courtesy of Candlewick)

For several years, the National Book Foundation has been trying to increase the impact and awareness of its annual awards. Today we’re seeing the first example of its previously announced plans to change the format.

First, like the Booker Prize in England, the foundation has added a “longlist” to the run-up before the ceremony: Ten finalists in each of the four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young adult literature. That’s more books and more time for booksellers to market them before the “shortlists” of five in each category are announced on Oct. 16.

Second, instead of releasing the names of all the finalists at once, each longlist will be announced over the next four days, starting today with 10 books for young adults.

The roster includes several familiar names, including Kate DiCamillo, who won a Newbery Medal in 2004 for “The Tale of Despereaux,” and Cynthia Kadohata, who won a Newbery Medal in 2005 for “Kira-Kira.” David Levithan, editorial director of Scholastic Press, also appears among these 10 finalists.

Here is the complete longlist for the 2013 prize in young adult literature:

Kathi Appelt, “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” (Atheneum).

Kate DiCamillo, “Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” (Candlewick).

Lisa Graff, “A Tangle of Knots” (Philomel).

Alaya Dawn Johnson, “The Summer Prince” (Arthur A. Levine).

Cynthia Kadohata, “The Thing About Luck” (Atheneum).

David Levithan, “Two Boys Kissing” (Knopf). Reviewed here.

Tom McNeal, “Far Far Away” (Knopf).

Meg Rosoff, “Picture Me Gone” (Putnam).

Anne Ursu, “The Real Boy” (Walden Pond).

Gene Luen Yang, “Boxers & Saints” ( ) (Courtesy of First Second)

Gene Luen Yang, “Boxers & Saints” (First Second).

In the past, the panel of judges for the YA award was made up of three YA authors; this year, that panel has been enlarged to include a bookseller (Peter Glassman, the founder of Books of Wonder in New York) and a scholar of children’s literature (Lisa Von Drasek, curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections of the University of Minnesota). Together with fellow judges Deb Caletti, Cecil Castellucci and E. Lockhart, they reviewed almost 300 submissions.

The longlist for the poetry award will be announced Tuesday morning.

To be eligible for the National Book Awards, authors must be citizens of the United States. Interestingly, the Booker Prize recently announced plans to open up the prestigious British award to Americans next year.

The winners in all four categories will be announced on Nov. 20 in New York.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.

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Emily Yahr · September 12, 2013