Awardpedia
Enrich people's lives with award-winning
books, music, movies, gadgets, toys & more

National Book Awards

On March 15, 1950, a consortium of book publishing groups sponsored the first annual National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Their goal was to enhance the public's awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans, and to increase the popularity of reading in general.

View as
Sort by

This Time: New and Selected Poems

PartNumber: 9780393319095

An exhilarating new collection by the poet often acclaimed as the modern Walt Whitman, his "spiritual reincarnation."

"This healthy collection of new poems and selections from seven previous volumes is remarkable for its generosity of spirit, manifested in a warm surrealism that is often turned with humor toward his own past as a way of understanding the recurrent questions of growing old: 'Why did it take so long / for me to get lenient? What does it mean one life / only?' " Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Gerald Stern's achievement is immense. In this beautiful gathering . . . one encounters a poet who praises and mourns in turn and even at once." Grace Schulman, The Nation "Stern is one of those rare poetic souls who makes it almost impossible to remember what our world was like before his poetry came to exalt it." C. K. Williams
Gerald Stern is often compared to Walt Whitman, and his verse does possess a similar oracular urgency. Yet his lines are shorter and more digestible to the modern ear, and his emotional sensibility is more likely to search for analogies in wildlife--maple trees and blue jays in Iowa backyards, spiders on New Jersey bridges--than in Whitman's worlds of labor and war.

Stern was 48 years old when his first collection, Rejoicings, appeared in 1973. A quarter century later, he has selected his finest work for This Time. Immediately one notices a consistency of style and concern. Indeed, one of his earliest poems, "When I Have Reached the Point of Suffocation," foreshadows his major themes of desolation and survival:

It takes years to learn how to look at the destruction
of beautiful things;

to learn how to leave the place
of oppression;

and how to make your own regeneration
out of nothing.

In his most moving poems, Stern witnesses this destruction of beauty and learns or resolves or forgets to take it on the chin. Many embody glimpses of delight made all the more poignant by their brief duration, the "one minute / to study the drops of silver hanging in the sun / before you turn the corner past the gatehouse." And though they focus intensely on their literal subjects, their scope expands to encompass what has been lost in this century--not just people and places, but an attainable sense of peace and solitude. --Edward Skoog

Threatened

*A 2014 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST*

When he was a boy, Luc's mother would warn him about the "mock men" living in the trees by their home -- chimpanzees whose cries would fill the night.

Luc is older now, his mother gone. He lives in a house of mistreated orphans, barely getting by. Then a man calling himself Prof comes to town with a mysterious mission. When Luc tries to rob him, the man isn't mad. Instead, he offers Luc a job.

Together, Luc and Prof head into the rough, dangerous jungle in order to study the elusive chimpanzees. There, Luc finally finds a new family -- and must act when that family comes under attack.

As he did in his acclaimed novel ENDANGERED, a finalist for the National Book Award, Eliot Schrefer takes us somewhere fiction rarely goes, introducing us to characters we rarely get to meet. The unforgettable result is the story of a boy fleeing his present, a man fleeing his past, and a trio of chimpanzees who are struggling not to flee at all.

Tom Wolfe

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, will award its 2010 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Tom Wolfe in recognition of his outstanding achievements as a journalist, author, and one of the founders of the "New Journalism" literary movement.

Tree Of Smoke

PartNumber: 9780312427740

Tree of Smoke is the 2007 National Book Award Winner for Fiction.

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

Named a Best Book of the Year by Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, Slate, The National Book Critics Circle, The Christian Science Monitor. . . .

Tree of Smoke is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA--engaged in Pschological Operations against the Vietcong--and the disasters that befall him. It is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war where the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In the words of Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times, Tree of Smoke is "bound to become one of the classic works of literature produced by that tragic and uncannily familiar war."


Amazon Significant Seven, September 2007: Denis Johnson is one of those few great hopes of American writing, fully capable of pulling out a ground-changing masterpiece, as he did in 1992 with the now-legendary collection, Jesus' Son. Tree of Smoke showed every sign of being his "big book": 600+ pages, years in the making, with a grand subject (the Vietnam War). And in the reading it lives up to every promise. It's crowded with the desperate people, always short of salvation, who are Johnson's specialty, but despite every temptation of the Vietnam dreamscape it is relentlessly sober in its attention to on-the-ground details and the gradations of psychology. Not one of its 614 pages lacks a sentence or an observation that could set you back on your heels. This is the book Johnson fans have been waiting for--along with everybody else, whether they knew it or not. --Tom Nissley

United States: Essays 1952-1992

From the age of Eisenhower to the dawning of the Clinton era, Gore Vidals United States offers an incomparably rich tapestry of American intellectual and political life in a tumultuous period. It also provides the best, most sustained exposure possible to the most wide-ranging, acute, and original literary intelligence of the postWorld War II years. United States is an essential book in the canon of twentieth-century American literature and an endlessly fascinating work.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Waiting

PartNumber: illustrations

Caldecott Honor and Geisel Honor Book

What are you waiting for? An owl, a puppy, a bear, a rabbit, and a pigall toys arranged on a childs windowsillwait for marvelous things to happen in this irresistible picture book by the New York Timesbestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes.

Five friends sit happily on a windowsill, waiting for something amazing to happen. The owl is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain. The bear is waiting for the wind. The puppy is waiting for the snow. And the rabbit is just looking out the window because he likes to wait! What will happen? Will patience win in the end? Or someday will the friends stop waiting and do something unexpected?

Waiting is a big part of childhoodwaiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something special to happenbut in this book, a child sets the stage and pulls the strings. Timeless, beautiful, and deeply heartfelt, this picture book about imaginative play, the seasons, friendship, and surprises marks a new pinnacle in Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkess extraordinary career.

The short sentences of the text flow with the precision one would expect from a master picture-book creator like Henkes. Little ones, to whom each experience is new, will know what its like to dream and wait.ALA Booklist


Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy

PartNumber: 9780743246415
Have mercy on me, Lord, I am Cuban. In 1962, Carlos Eire was one of 14,000 children airlifted out of Havanaexiled from his family, his country, and his own childhood by Fidel Castros revolution. Winner of the National Book Award, this stunning memoir is a vibrant and evocative look at Latin America from a childs unforgettable experience.

Waiting for Snow in Havana is both an exorcism and an ode to a paradise lost. For the Cuba of Carloss youthwith its lizards and turquoise seas and sun-drenched siestasbecomes an island of condemnation once a cigar-smoking guerrilla named Fidel Castro ousts President Batista on January 1, 1959. Suddenly the music in the streets sounds like gunfire. Christmas is made illegal, political dissent leads to imprisonment, and too many of Carloss friends are leaving Cuba for a place as far away and unthinkable as the United States. Carlos will end up there, too, and fulfill his mothers dreams by becoming a modern American maneven if his soul remains in the country he left behind.

Narrated with the urgency of a confession, Waiting for Snow in Havana is a eulogy for a native land and a loving testament to the collective spirit of Cubans everywhere.

Walter Lippmann and the American Century

PartNumber: 9780316811903
The journalist Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was a magisterial figure who relished his role as an insider, an adviser to presidents, a shaper and sometime purveyor of government policy. Drawing on conversations with Lippmann and exclusive access to his private papers, Ronald Steel documents the broad flow of Lippmann's career from his brilliant Harvard days and his role in helping formulate Wilson's Fourteen Points in World War I to his bitter break with Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam. Written with clarity and objectivity, this definitive biography presents a commanding portrait of a complicated man and "guides its reader through the first three-quarters of this American century" (The New Yorker).

What I Saw and How I Lied

PartNumber: 9780439903486
This National Book Award winner set during the aftermath of WWII is now available in paperback!

When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

PartNumber: 9780312632120

The red words painted on the trailer caused quite a buzz around town and before an hour was up, half of Antler was standing in line with two dollars clutched in hand to see the fattest boy in the world.

Toby Wilson is having the toughest summer of his life. It's the summer his mother leaves for good; the summer his best friend's brother returns from Vietnam in a coffin. And the summer that Zachary Beaver, the fattest boy in the world, arrives in their sleepy Texas town. While it's a summer filled with heartache of every kind, it's also a summer of new friendships gained and old friendships renewed. And it's Zachary Beaver who turns the town of Antler upside down and leaves everyone, especially Toby, changed forever.

With understated elegance, Kimberly Willis Holt tells a compelling coming-of-age story about a thirteen-year-old boy struggling to find himself in an imperfect world. At turns passionate and humorous, this extraordinary novel deals sensitively and candidly with obesity, war, and the true power of friendship.

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is the winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Young People's Literature. This title has Common Core connections.


Summer in the tiny Texas town of Antler is traditionally a time for enjoying Wylie Womack's Bahama Mama snow cones and racking up the pins at Kelly's Bowl-a-Rama, but this year it's not going well for Toby Wilson. His 13-year-old heart has been broken twice: once by his mother, who left him and his father to become a country singer in Nashville, and then again by his crush Scarlett Stalling, the town beauty who barely acknowledges Toby's existence. But when Zachary Beaver, "The World's Fattest Boy," comes to Antler as part of a traveling sideshow, Toby begins to realize that there might just be people who have it worse than him. By reaching out to Zachary in small ways--such as helping him realize his lifelong dream of being baptized--Toby is better able to put his own problems into perspective. At the baptism, Toby finally feels at peace: "Zachary smiles and I wonder if he's feeling different. Because standing here waist deep in Gossimer's Lake... I'm feeling different--light and good and maybe even holy." By summer's end, Toby's friendship with Zachary has provided him with the emotional stamina to begin dealing with his mother's decision and to gracefully accept the fact that Scarlett will forever be just beyond his reach.

With Zachary Beaver, Kimberly Willis Holt, author of the award-winning My Louisiana Sky, further explores southern-flavored small town life. Toby's quirky, yet ultimately rewarding coming of age story will serve as a gentle reminder to teens that sometimes the best way to work through your problems is by helping others with theirs. (Ages 11 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert

Disclaimer: All trademarks remain property of their respective holders, and are used solely to directly describe the products being provided.
Their use in no way indicates any relationship between Awardpedia.com and the holders of said trademarks.