Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Newbery News Round-Up

Newbery buzzzzzzzzz is rampant! I am trying my best to finish the books on various lists. I finished Savvy and am now reading Alvin Ho. I'm listening to Little Brother on CD in my car and listening to Madapple on my I-Pod. How's that for multi-tasking, huh?

Below is a gathering of different discussions about the various impending ALA awards from different media sources:

Susan Patron, 2007 Newbery Medal winner for The Higher Power of Lucky, has written an article for the Los Angles Times, Don't Discount the Newbery, in which she talks about how children's books that deal seriously with serious issues can change readers' lives. From the article:
Winning a Newbery no doubt increased my book sales; it gave me a measure of fame. But it was well before I won it that the Newbery award transformed me, changing my child-self from nonreader to avid reader, introducing librarianship to me as a career, inspiring me to want to write children's books and to strive for good writing.
This is a must-read article! It hits on one of the biggest issues surrounding the Newbery this year-the popularity of Newbery winners among the audience for which they are intended: children! Several teachers have weighed in with their thoughts on the Newbery based on their own experiences/opinions AND those of their students.

Monica at Educating Alice, a fourth grade teacher in NYC, discusses her thoughts on the Newbery contenders and child appeal. I especially enjoyed reading (and agreeing with) her thoughts on Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

Sarah at TheReadingZone, a 6th grade Language Arts teacher, conducted a Newbery unit with her students. At the end of the unit, she asked them to write their thoughts on whether Chains or The Underneath should win the Newbery. I loved reading the students' thoughts!

Franki, a school librarian, shares her thoughts at A Year of Reading. She relates a story of how she learned first hand about child appeal and the Newbery when Kira Kira won the award in 2005. Franki writes "A book I thought was lacking "kid appeal," KIRA-KIRA went on to be quite popular in the classroom--making its rounds as Katie [a student] talked it up. I also came to love the book and it is now one of my favorite Newbery titles."

Over at Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog, Nina Lindsay (former Newbery committee member) provides a description of what the Newbery deliberations look like:

Picture this: 15 members show up 8am on a Friday morning, with nothing but a confidential shortlist, a year's worth of notes, and some snacks. By Sunday noon they must produce a press release. There are breaks scheduled, but the discussion starts off with a bang and hurtles along at an unbelievable pace...probably spending no more than 8-15 minutes on a title, circling back round to others... The table is laden, with books and binders and junk food. There isn't a square of tablecloth visible. Members get up to stretch in the corners, taking care not to trip over the power and extension cords snaking through the room. The room starts to get a little musty, like an airplane. Is it day or night? Hard to tell often, and the meetings do go late: scheduled until 10pm, but often going later. My committee set up a coffee/tea bar in the room (electric kettle, cone and filter) so that we barely had to leave...and we did pretty much bounce off the walls! The energy is the room palpable. Certainly as the deadline approaches, passions flare in comparing favored titles against each other.

A "Heavy Medal" Mock Newbery was held at the Oakland Library and the results were just announced on the Heavy Medal blog: the Newbery went to The Porcupine Year by Louise Edrich with two honors going to After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look. All three books have been on various lists, but not at the top, so this is somewhat of an upset!

For those of us not able to attend the ALA's midwinter conference where the award winners will be announced, Fuse#8 provides The Next Best Thing on how to watch the announcements live via webcast! Be there or be square:-)

The Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz receive quite a bit of talk with lots of "mock" award gatherings. But other ALA awards receive little or not attention at all. Kyra at Black Threads in Kid's Lit writes: "Do a blog search - is there any chatter on mock Coretta Scott King Awards for 2009? No librarians seem to be talking about the CSK awards? No bloggers? No book industry publications? I have not been able to find any, so decided to start a thread given the awards are coming out later this month." Click on the link above to find out Kyra's choices for the Coretta Scott King Awards and to share your thoughts with her.

Author Alma Flor Ada at Bookjoy! reported the results of the Mock Belpré award that was sponsored by the Heartland Chapter of REFORMA. Check out her post to find out the mock winners.

That's all the Newbery News I have for now. More as the big day draws closer!

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