Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Street Lit Book Awards 2012

Street Lit Book Awards were first launched in 2011. The award “recognizes the best of urban fiction and nonfiction. Selected by a volunteer committee of librarians and paraprofessionals who take into consideration the popularity of books as read by the public in school, academic, and public library settings, the 2012 awards honor titles published in 2011.”

Here are the 2012 winners:

Adult Nonfiction category:

One Day It'll All Make Sense (M)
by Common, with Adam Bradley

"Rap artist Common's distinctive style and generally positive message have attracted a large audience since his move from Chicago underground cult favorite to Brooklyn-based popular lyricist in the late 1990s. He's also acted in movies and was invited to perform at the White House. Common is an intelligent, thoughtful writer, and his memoir documents his colorful life so far, including work with Kanye West, his relationship with Erykah Badu, and encounters with Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. He sets the tone and subject for each chapter by beginning with a letter to a particular meaningful person in his life.

Verdict: Common has obviously learned many life lessons (especially from his mother) and is hoping that he can reach young black youth with his message of love, fatherhood, and strength. Recommended for fans of rap music books and popular biographies." Library Journal

Adult Fiction category:

Eviction Notice: a Hood Rat novel
By K'wan

Porsha: the ghetto princess. Boots: the scandalous baby mama. Frankie aka Francine: the con artist. These three girls live in one apartment and are into all kinds of hood foolishness while having fun. Until one day they find an eviction notice taped to their door. Now they have seventy-two hours to find out how to come up with all the money they owe in months of back rent.

“This latest installment in K'wan's widely popular series lifts him from "just another street lit author" to a writer who produces thrilling plots laced with genuine street slang. “ - Library Journal

Teen/Young Adult category:

Upgrade U. (M)
By Ni Ni Simone

"The fourth volume in Simone's series about Seven McKnight, a book that stands on its own, finds Seven starting her freshman year at (fictional) Stiles University in New Orleans. Rooming with her bestie, Shae, and new friend Khya, Seven is optimistic about the year ahead, especially since her high school love, Josiah, is a basketball star at Stiles ("We were a fairytale. A hood love story"). But Josiah's big man on campus status and a girl who keeps hanging around have Seven feeling insecure, especially when he ignores her texts and asks her to write papers for him. Meanwhile Zaire, the smooth Southern boy who gets Seven's pulse racing, keeps appearing in her life. Shae and Khya are unhappy with how Josiah is treating Seven, but Seven fights to stay true to the guy she thought she'd always be with.

Filled with snappy dialogue and one-liners that pull readers into Seven's world, the story mixes romantic drama with empowering messages, as well as sobering facts about post-Katrina life for New Orleans natives Khya and Zaire. Ages 14-up." - Publisher's Weekly

Emerging Classic category:

Yummy: the last days of a Southside Shorty (M)
by G. Neri

"So young to kill, so young to die" read the 1994 Time magazine cover with Yummy's photo. Yummy was a real 11-year-old Chicago kid, with father in jail, abused by his mom, and sucked all-too-readily into the Black Disciples gang. "The disciples ain't stupid," comments a character in Neri's account. "They got this endless supply of young ones with no daddy, just looking for attention"-pit bull puppies who could escape felony convictions because of age. Given a gun and sent on small jobs, Yummy was a bundle of thug ego with a kid's immaturity, and he accidentally killed a teen girl bystander while threatening supposed rivals. Now a liability as a magnet for unwanted attention, Yummy was executed by his own gang. While Neri invents a fictional narrator as tour guide for the reader, the story is based on public records, media reports, and personal accounts.

VERDICT: Neri's re-creation paints a compelling and sympathetic portrait of how a youngster became too eager to please the wrong people, and DuBurke (Malcolm X: A Graphic Biography) provides skilled, semiphoto-quality inks and shadows that do his subject justice. Strongly recommended for tweens and up." - Library Journal

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