The American Library Association Awards were announced this morning, and I am incredibly proud to congratulate Antony John on winning the 2011 Schneider Family Book Award for Teens for his novel Five Flavors of Dumb.
The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
Five Flavors of Dumb is Antony’s second novel (his first was Busted: Confessions of An Accidental Player) and is published by Dial, an imprint of Penguin Books for Young Readers.
As described on the ALA website: Dumb is not the name Piper, a high school senior who is Deaf, would have chosen for a heavy metal band, yet she volunteers to manage this disparate group of would-be musicians. In her attempt to make Dumb profitable, Piper learns a few things about music and business, striking a chord within herself.
This novel is so many things: an incredible portrayal of what it’s like to live with a disability, a depiction of what it feels like to confront a challenge head-on and succeed, a hysterical, laugh-out-loud rollercoaster, a tender love story, and an examination of the many different definitions of the word “family.”
And the critics agree!
In a starred review, Kirkus says: “Making Piper the manager of a rock band never feels like a cheap trick (pardon the pun) because Piper is not A Great Deaf Character but a great character who is deaf. Complex characterizations, authentic dialogue and realistic ups-and-downs give this title chart-topping potential.”
School Library Journal says: “The parallel attention to Piper’s hearing family and the strain her parents’ decision to treat her sister with cochlear implants adds to the greater story and informs the novel’s direction and ending in a satisfying way. Set in the Pacific Northwest, this rock-and-roll novel joins the ranks of Randy Powell’s equally thoughtful Tribute to Another Dead Rock Star (Farrar, 2003) and Blake Nelson’s Rock Star Superstar (Viking, 2004)
Publishers Weekly says: “In this witty yet thoughtful behind-the-music account of Dumb’s journey to semistardom, John (Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player) creates a series of humorous surprises while demonstrating how Piper’s deafness, which is integral to the story and never feels like a gimmick, affects her life and those of her parents and brother, who are equally complex and well-developed characters. Relying on help from unexpected sources, Piper learns important lessons about music and media hype, while growing closer to her family and friends in the process.”
Please pick up your copy of FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB today, and visit Antony at his website: http://antonyjohn.net
And from everyone here at Upstart Crow: CONGRATULATIONS!