Hey hey! Welcome back to the Cardinal Mooney Book Awards. It’s day five, which means it’s time for the Fantasy Award.
Fantasy has many components. It can take place in the Misty Mountains of Middle-Earth, or it can be in London, England. It can involve magic and rules of being that are complex and unknown to this world; or it could be our world, but with talking animals. The language spoken could be Hyrulian, Elvish, or English. There’s so much to fantasy, that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one award.
And yet, that is just what we must do.
My students love as many different fantasy books as there are types of fantasy books. They nominated 7 different fantasy books all together, at least narrowing down the pool a bit. Three books made it through the gauntlet of voting, giving us two very worthy honor books, and one overall winner.
The first honor book:
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater!
The third book in the acclaimed Raven Cycle Quartet has been held in high esteem by all who have read it.
The second honor book:
The Young Elites by Marie Lu!
The Seventh Hour Honor book returns for another well-deserved honor in this year’s CMBAs.
And now, the reason you’re all here tonight: the winner of the Cardinal Mooney Fantasy Award:
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony!
When I saw how my students had voted, I asked them to defend their choice for this book as fantasy. We’ve talked a lot this year about genre and form, and how they are different things. So graphic novels can be dystopian, or memoir, or fantasy. And picture books work the same way. But were we really going to give this book the fantasy prize? Well, they made their case, and made it well. Among my favorite: “When’s the last time you saw a talking animal in the real world, Mr. Wyzlic?”
Congratulations to all the authors! I will hold your awards in our classroom, and you can pick them up at any time.