On my Thanksgiving plate, I always leave a designated area for the mashed potatoes and gravy. If I don’t, they end up spilling over everything, spoiling the rest of my well placed meal.

With that in mind, tell me this: do book jacket designers like Thanksgiving? If so, you might just be able to infer that they like to leave a little extra space on “special” covers. And by “special” I mean likely to win one of the most coveted metalic discs in existence: a national book award.

No? I’m grabbing at straws? Okay. But it couldn’t hurt to pretend just for a moment, so here are my predictions for the Printz/Geisel awards and the award placements.

First up, the Printz…

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“The Absoloutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” By Sherman Alexie. Normally I leave the YA stuff for the grown-ups, but I gotta get this one read! I can’t say I heard more praise for any single book this year. All that and the proverbial “bag of chips”: the Printz would fit nicely as well. It almost appears meant to be.

And as for Geisel…

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“My Friend is Sad” By Mo Willems. Now, the Geisel is meant for books that can be enjoyed individually by emerging readers, and this one fits the bill quite nicely. As I’ve said in these pages before, word bubbles are almost always better digested by a lone reader. Kids, teachers, and librarians would be thrilled if this one took home gold.

We’ll find out where the awards will really go when they are announced live on January 14th at 7:45 am. Be sure to tune in!