The Michigan Library Association (MLA) is pleased to announce that The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen, published 2012 by Tundra Books, is the winner of the 2013 Thumbs Up! Award. The award will be presented at the Spring Institute 2014 Conference in Battle Creek, March 27-28, 2014.
Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his older brother, Jesse, picks up their father’s hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning. What follows shatters Henry’s family, who are forced to resume their lives in a new city, where no one knows their past. When Henry’s therapist suggests he keep a journal, at first he is resistant. But soon he confides in it at all hours of the day and night. In spite of Henry’s desire to “fly under the radar,” he eventually befriends a number of oddball characters, both at school and in his modest apartment building. And even though they know nothing about his past – at least, not yet – they help him navigate the waters of life after “IT.”
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen has received numerous awards, including the 2012 Governor General's Literary Award, the 2013 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, Best YA Book and the 2013 Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year
In addition to writing award-winning fiction for children and young adults, Nielsen also has a prolific career as a television screenwriter and producer.
This year's honor books include: Every Day by David Levithan, published 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers; How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller, published 2013 by Razorbill; and The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde, published 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
The Thumbs Up! Award, established in 1986, is designed to recognize and promote an outstanding contribution to teen literature that has both literary quality and teen appeal for those 13 to 18 years of age. The award selection work group is comprised of Michigan librarians who consider hundreds of teen appeal books annually to determine a winner.