|Photo by University of Illinois Library|
Then I remembered that I'm a touch lazy and somewhat disorganized and prone to procrastination.
So since then, I have read five or six Newbery Award books that I hadn't before, reread two, requested a whole bunch from the library, and written nothing at all.
I have, however, had an interesting discussion with a friend on Goodreads who goes by the name Killer Rabbit, about our opinion of the success of the committee in choosing winners.
The John Newbery Medal is "awarded annually by the American Library Association for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year." It is named for an eighteenth-century English bookseller and its stated purpose was: "To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children's reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field."
In the Terms and Definitions, I found this: 2. A “contribution to American literature for children” shall be a book for which children are an intended potential audience. The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered. And this is where Killer Rabbit and I (DAMN I need a cooler name on Goodreads), and several other people I have seen commenting on Newbery books, agree that sometimes it seems that the Newbery Medal Award committee might have their heads somewhat up their collective ass, and that the committee would do much better to have some members who are actually children on it.
So how do I evaluate the books? On whether I like them? On whether I think they are, in fact, distinguished contributions to children's literature? On whether I think I would have liked them when I was a child? SO MANY MORE things to think about while not blogging. Clearly I just need to plunge in. So I will. I will just write whatever semi-coherent thoughts I can muster up about whatever Newbery medal book is closest to hand and mind.