Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Newbery and Cybils

In the School Library Journal, Anita Silvey asked, "Has the Newbery lost its way?

When people who work most closely with children--teachers and librarians--become disenchanted with the award, does that indicate that it has become outdated and out-of-touch with the very readers it hopes to delight and instruct as John Newberry intended when this award started?

Over at Writer Unboxed, Kathleen Bolton collects some responses to Silvey's article.

For me, the questions raised are the following:
What constitutes literary merit?
Who decides?
Do the children have any say?
Should they?
Is the division really between quality writing and popularity?
Can't quality writing and popularity coincide?
And why do people resort to condescending and dismissive tactics when they argue?

[All right, this last one is really off on a tangent, but really,

There is so little right about these completely forgettable books.”
“Why do we care about whether kids like the Newbery books?"

Can we please be civilized and focus on the topic and not rhetoric? I guess I'm pleading from a mind filled with too much rhetoric lately.]

**rant over**

I definitely reacted to three of the last four Newberry winners: Kira-Kira, Criss-Cross, and the Higher Power of Lucky. I think I'll re-read them.

And if any of you think that you should have a say on which books are given awards, go nominate your favorite books for the Cybils Award. Anyone, I repeat, anyone can nominate books. So, if you have a book that you feel is overlooked but deserved much more recognition, go nominate!

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