So, I Had a Nice Day Today.

The kidlit readers here will know this already, but: Today was a very good day for me, as two of my dearly beloved books won ALA awards in Denver this morning.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce won the first-ever William C. Morris Award, which honors “a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author.” This was the first novel I ever acquired and edited wholly on my own -- not a translation, without Arthur's co-editing, the whole bit. I met Elizabeth in the course of a critique at the Arizona SCBWI conference in 2004, pestered her until she sent me the manuscript a year later, and bought the book in early 2006. She worked incredibly hard on revisions for it, resulting in a stronger and better manuscript at every stage, and I’m delighted that her gifts for “masterly writing and vivid characterization and setting,” which shone through in even the two chapters of our very first critique, were recognized by the committee. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

And then Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for outstanding translation. Originally published in Japanese in 1996 as Seirei no Moribito, the book was written by Nahoko Uehashi and translated by Cathy Hirano. The excellent Janna Morishima acquired the book for Scholastic and hired Cathy to translate it; when she left the company, I took over editorial responsibilities -- with great pleasure, as Cathy and Nahoko are both incredibly talented and wonderful to work with. And the book is just awesome -- I once pitched it as "Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 stars in an Ursula K. LeGuin fantasy in Japan." The Batchelder Committee Chair Sandra Imdieke said of it, “This sophisticated and complex Japanese epic is filled with political intrigue, mystery and danger,” but it also has marvelous character development and fascinating relationships and mythologies. . . . I'm so pleased its quality was rewarded. The sequel, Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness, will be out in May.