2015 Morris YA Award Recipient

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature.  The award’s namesake is William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. Bill Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens. This year’s winner is Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero. Four finalists were also named. Alkek Library’s 3rd floor Juvenile Collection has all current and previous winners and finalists available for checkout.


See other Awards available in Alkek’s Juvenile Collection.

How to Look up Treaties

Here are some ways to find out which countries have signed what kind of treaties. Also, bear in mind that membership in international organizations de facto carries some kinds of agreements and cooperation (i.e. European Union).

on the internet:

Organization of American States Free Trade Agreements

U.S. Free Trade Agreements

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). Avoid www.gatt.org, one of the most famous protest sites on the internet.

UN Database of Treaties – All treaties entered into by any member state.

CIA World Factbook – see which international organizations a country belongs to. Choose your country and click on government to the bottom of the screen.

Treaties in Force - Treaties America has signed.

our databases:

Search Lexis Nexis for the full text of lapsed and current U.S. Treaties.
In Lexis Nexis, go to 1) Search by content type then 2) European Union, Commonwealth and Foreign Nations Tab 3) choose your selection from the box.

see below:

Notable Children’s Read-Alouds

The Wanda Gág Read Aloud Book Award for children’s literature recognizes the best picture book of the year to read aloud to younger children. Picture books for children between the ages toddlers to age eight are considered. Alkek Library collects all Wanda Gág award winners and honored titles. The 2015 winner is A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell; the honor title is Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett/illustrated by Jon Klassen.


Two other awards recognizing notable read-alouds are the E.B. White Read-Aloud award and the Comstock Read Aloud award. The E.B White Read-Aloud award recognizes books reflecting the universal read aloud standards that were created by the work of the author E.B. White in his classic books for children: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. The Comstock Read Aloud award recognizes the best picture book of the year to read aloud to older children. Picture books for children from the age range of 9-12 are considered. All picture books eligible for the award are field-tested with children. Alkek Library collects all titles recognized by the E.B. Read-Aloud White award as well as the Comstock Read Aloud award. 


See other Awards available in Alkek’s Juvenile Collection.

Literary Passings: E.L. Doctorow (Ragtime)

All Doctorow books here.

From the obituary in The Guardian:

He did not want to be called a political novelist. “My premise is that the language of politics can’t accommodate the complexity of fiction, which as a mode of thought is intuitive, metaphysical, mythic.” Although he wrote lovingly of the lost world of the Jewish Bronx in the 1930s, where he grew up, he rejected the idea that he was an autobiographical writer. “Every book is an act of composition,” he remarked in 1989, “and if you happen to use memories or materials from your own mind, they are like any other resource; they have to be composed. And the act of composition has no regard where the material comes from. So when it’s all done it’s all autobiographical and none of it is.”

Doctorow wrote a handful of the most influential historical novels of the past half-century, but was determined not to be known simply as a historical novelist. Praised for having “done his homework” on the American Civil war for The March (2005), he claimed that he did little research, freely inventing when the historical record seemed somehow incomplete. There is a moving letter in The March sent by the Union generalissimo William Tecumseh Sherman to a Confederate general whose son was killed in battle. But no such letter was ever written.

Getting Book Reviews And Why They’re Important

Don’t forget book reviews! Most databases will allow you to select book reviews as a source type. Reason: find out a book’s reputation, any hidden context, its significance among experts, and any problems with the book. Most authors are pretty persuasive and you need a second opinion.

Be sure to limit results to “review” or “book review,” depending on the interface.

Complete list of book review databases here


New York Times archives is a good option for nonacademic books published before 2006.

JSTOR is another good one for many subjects.

Wilson OmniFile FullText. A good grabbag. You can limit it to search “book reviews” by a particular discipline.

These are not your only options but are some of the best. You can always check your favorite database to see if it has book reviews.

2015 Edgar Allan Poe Awards Announced!

The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. The Edgars honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater . Alkek Library collects all nominees and award winners in the category of Juvenile/Young Adult. The 2015 winners are Greenglass House by Kate Milford and The Art of Secrets by James Klise.


The Nominees included:


See other Awards available in Alkek’s Juvenile Collection.

Scarecrow Press – Great Overviews for Virtually Any Topic

All Scarecrow Press books here. The first one somehow isn’t Scarecrow and then the rest are.

I have fond memories of Scarecrow Press. If you needed an introduction or overview of almost anything – the history of Panama, women music educators, anthropological theorists, you name it – you would eventually run into Scarecrow Press.

Just a couple of hours reading these books did wonders to increase your comprehension of advanced or graduate-level courses.

You can either search the link above or type in your keyword and then the word Scarecrow.

2015 Lamdba Literary Award Announced

The Lambda Literary Awards identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world. Alkek Library collects all finalist and award winners in the category of Children/Young Adult. The 2015 winner is Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. Nominated titles were: