2012 Jefferson Cup Winners and Honor Books

Okay for Now and Balloons Over Broadway win 2012 awards

The 2012 Jefferson Cup Committee is pleased to announce their selections for the 2012 Awards. The 2013 Jefferson Cup Award for Young Adult Readers goes to Gary Schmidt for Okay for Now. The 2012 Jefferson Cup Award for Young Readers goes to Melissa Sweet for Balloons Over Broadway.

In Okay for Now, talented author Gary Schmidt weaves the tale of Doug Swieteck, an 8th grader with a very unhappy life at home. Schmidt is able to sensitively craft a story about a fractured family that starts to put the pieces together in ways that are perhaps a little unexpected. There are moments in this book that will make the reader cry interwoven with moments that will lead to laughter, making it a wonderful story that deserves to be read for years to come.

In Balloons over Broadway, author Melissa Sweet takes the true Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade and uses colorful watercolor paintings and mixed media collage to bring this story to life. Using clear but charming text, Sweet explains the various versions of puppets and balloons Sarg made for the parade, each better than the last, until finally creating the helium-filled balloons we see today. Sweet explores the legacy of a creative, fun-loving man who had a great love for figuring out how things moved.

Honor Books

The honor books for young adult readers were Phantoms in the Snow by Kathleen Benner Duble (Scholastic) and Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (Dial). The Captured History series published by Captstone was selected as the Young Adult Readers Series Worthy of Note. Each book in this series uses an iconic photograph from an event as the starting point. The series highlights the effects of a photograph then and now in how we view important events in our history.

The honor books for young readers were City of Orphans by Avi and Belle: the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey. The Actual Times series published by Flash Point was selected as teh Young Readers Series Worthy of Note. Each book selected several persons involved in a specific point in history and told their stories against the background of the events. The format is concise and informative, not sparing of detail, but careful to keep the action from being gruesome. The watercolor illustrations convey emotions and context that beautifully supplement the text. These books handle difficult subjects in a way that help children understand.

About the Jefferson Cup

The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, historical fiction or American history book for young people. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is to promote reading about America’s past, to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography and historical fiction for young people, and to recognize authors in these disciplines.

The committee has nine members: a chairperson (selected by the previous year’s committee), one person from each Virginia Library Association region (total of six persons) selected by the current chair, the past chair of the previous year’s Jefferson Cup Committee, and the chairperson or outgoing chairperson of the Youth Services Forum. All committee members are members of VLA. For more information about the committee, visit the Jefferson Cup Committee page.