As the last of these updates about the happy news of spring, I thought I would end with a reader’s award that The Blood Guard has actually won. That’s right, the students of Northern Ireland—by all accounts a pitilessly discerning, astonishingly good-looking bunch of world-caliber intelligence—have chosen The Blood Guard from among a field of six novels to receive the 2015 Northern Ireland Book Award.
This news made me feebleminded with happiness. It’s not just because I love Ireland and Northern Ireland (my wife and I spent a blissful week traveling the whole of the two Irelands before we got married), and it’s not just that the competition this year was so fearsomely good (among them Kenneth Oppel and Holly Goldberg Sloan and Michael flippin’ Morpurgo!), it’s that the award was picked by the audience, the readers. You can keep your Newberys, your Guardian Book Awards, your fancy-pants medals given by committees of the learned—librarians and teachers and critics and whatnot.* It means more to know that a book written in Brooklyn, New York, crossed the ocean and was embraced by students in a distant country. I will never be able to thank those readers enough.
*(Dear Newbery and Guardian Book Award committees: I am just kidding!)