The winners of the National Books Foundation Awards were announced last night, and the winner in the Young People's Literature category was Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (Melanie Kroupa Books, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux). The finalists were: Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt); David Small, Stitches (W. W. Norton & Co.); Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic) and
Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins).
Why does this matter? Quite aside from the fact that these books make good reading is the research it provides you, the writer. Not only should you read them to see what is recognized as quality writing and a good topic. You can also see which publishers are on this list since they're the ones who at one point took a manuscript query, recognized the quality and sent it to print.
Three of these books are nonfiction, by the way, a reminder that fiction isn't the only genre you can concentrate on when writing for children.