Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

The Winner

Thank you to those of you who responded last week and helped me promote Joyce’s lovely re-issued books. Once again, I let my daughter pick the lucky winner of Joyce Moyer Hostetter’s TWO amazing historical paperbacks, and she chose . . . Medeia Sharif! Which I think is lucky, indeed, because not only is Medeia an avid reader and book blogger, and, of course, a YA author, she is a high school teacher, so the book is just so PERFECT for her on so many different levels.

I hope so, anyway! 🙂

Medeia, Joyce and/or I will be writing to you shortly.


But I am not done here yet. While we’re on the subject of winners, I wanted to talk to you about this year’s National Book Award.

Here is the list of all the worthy (I am sure!) nominees for 2011 which were announced in mid-October:

Franny Billingsley, Chime (Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Inc. )

Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy (Marshall Cavendish)

(Love the title — AND the fact that it’s published by an awesome small publisher!)

Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)

Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy (Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)

Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now (Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

What a diverse and interesting-looking bunch! I look forward to reading each one, and probably reviewing my favorites.

But, I wanted to mention one more title, which, in my eyes, is THE National Book Award winner this year. I know many other writers, readers and YA lit afficionados feel the same way. I am talking about “Shine,” by Lauren Myracle.

Set in a small, religious Southern community, the story follows a 16-year-old girl whose gay friend became a victim of a brutal hate crime. The main character, Cat, is on a quest to find the perpetrator. And while the answer to the mystery seemed just a bit questionable to me (but that’s a matter of a personal opinion), the story was executed with beautiful and aching honesty that took my breath away, the setting was rendered exquisitely, and the real complex characters acting under powerful pressures kept me turning pages. I am one of many who believe that this book deserves the highest literary honors for its powerful story.

Enter the National Book Awards. The committee’s representative called the author, Lauren, earlier this month, telling her that she was a finalist. Joy, congratulations and many cheers in YA lit circles followed by the announcement. Until — oops — it turned out the National Book Awards committee made a mistake. You can read about it here, if you don’t know what happened: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/17/lauren-myracle-withdraws-national-book-awards_n_1015649.html

I could rant to you about the unfairness of it, how poorly and disgracefully the whole thing was handled.

Instead, I am going to focus on what everyone else in the kid lit community has been talking about: Lauren Myracle. In her honesty and grace under pressure, Lauren reminded me of “Shine’s” brave protagonist Cat. So, cheers for all the National Book Award finalists! Cheers for Joyce and her wonderful books as well, and cheers for Medeia, the winner of our contest giveaway. And, finally, cheers for Lauren Myracle and her beautiful, important, miraculous book.


October 28, 2011 - Posted by | Book Impressions


  1. Hi Medeia – Congratulations! Email me at moyergirl at charter dot net with an address. Okay? Will send.

    Comment by Joyce Moyer Hostetter | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Thank you so much, Joyce, once again! I will email you Medeia’s address, I still have it!

      Comment by Katia Raina | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thank you so much, Joyce for the books and Katia for the drawing. 🙂

    I actually started teaching middle school again as of August, but I’m sure my kids will enjoy these in the classroom library once I finish reading them.

    And I received the Kieran Scott books in the mail today. Thank you again, Katia.

    I was sad to hear about Shine. It’s an amazing book and the author didn’t deserve the pressure to withdraw when it was the foundation’s mistake.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Hey, middle school? Even better!
      As for Shine, I was actually really upset when I found out. I haven’t started reading those other books, but, mistake or not, having read hers, I am sure it’s on par with the other finalists.

      Comment by Katia Raina | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  3. Yes, that whole thing was quite a debacle and I thought Lauren Myracle showed how amazing she is by the way she handled it.

    Congrats to Medeia! And to Joyce!

    Comment by Joanne Fritz | October 28, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Joanne,
      She made it seem like, no matter how happy she would have been to receive it, ultimately, this award thing really didn’t matter all THAT MUCH. Sure, the awards are awfully nice. But I think, in the end, this is a nice reminder to all of us, of what’s really important.

      Comment by Katia Raina | October 28, 2011 | Reply

  4. Congrats Medeia 🙂

    I thought Lauren handled it so well, and I’m glad she at least got them to make a donation.

    Comment by Sarah Pearson | October 29, 2011 | Reply

    • Yes, that was a great move — and I am sure glad they said “yes” 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | October 29, 2011 | Reply

  5. Congratulations to Medeia!

    Comment by Clara Gillow Clark | October 31, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Clara! I hope you’re enjoying “The Apothecary.” I’ve already finished reading mine! 🙂

      Comment by Katia Raina | November 1, 2011 | Reply

  6. Medeia, the books are in the mail. Watch for them in about 5 days. Congrats again!

    Comment by Joyce Moyer Hostetter | November 3, 2011 | Reply

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