I've taken up Mother Reader on the blog comment challenge, and have found some very interesting blogs! Here is an article close to my heart, entitled Has the Newbery Lost Its Way? by Anita Silvey. She points out all of the faults of the latest Newbery winners exactly as I have seen them. The big trouble with awards is that people do use them to foist books on children that children do not enjoy.
The most important thing about getting books to young readers is to provide them with materials they like so that they keep reading. So many times, students HAVE to read so many things that they don't enjoy that they start to feel that they don't enjoy reading itself. The top single reason that students don't enjoy books are that they are boring. Nothing happens. A book can be well-written and contain an explosion in the first chapter; children will like this. It can be well-written and contain introspective navel-gazing; children will not like this. Is Rick Riordan's prose perfect? No. Is it well-crafted, funny, fast-pacing and engaging? Yes! The same is true of Anthony Horowitz. If the next Alex Rider book were to deal more with Alex's conflicted feelings for his father, discussed at length while staring at the sea in Cornwall rather than a spy mission to Africa, it would win awards.
There are lots of books that are both beautifully writtten, literary AND appeal to children. They may be hard to find, but that is the sort of thing that needs to be an award winner.