|Photo by JD Hancock|
|Photo by JD Hancock|
Ah, screw it. I'm still having fun.
So. Lynn's comment: "Kay, I am just reading through the entire historical list of winners and special mentions, and I have to say a) I have read a LOT fewer of these than I thought; b) no one other than Laura Ingalls Wilder (who is like, a six time runner up) had name recognition for me before the 50s; and c) the judging committee seems to really prefer "important" books, rather than a simple damn good read (see: the whole of the 50s, which includes titles such as "Theodore Roosevelt, Fighting Patriot" and "Gandhi, Fighter Without a Sword" and "Abraham Lincoln, Friend of the People". I'm sure they were keeping kids up at night dying to know how things turn out. SHEESH."
These are much the same thoughts that I had when I first took the quiz. I was quite surprised at how few of the books I had read, since it seemed to me that I vaguely remembered that gold stamp on the front of quite a few of my favourite books. I also had no idea how far back it went.
Mary Lynn's comment: "Aaaaanyway, I have to say I've always kinda wondered about the titles they choose for the Newbery award. I read voraciously as a kid, but I've only read three of the titles shown. One of the books, Jacob Have I Loved, I totally remember picking up on several bookstore shopping occasions, turning it over, reading the back, and then putting it back on the shelf again. Then I'd buy another Judy Bloom, Paula Danziger or Lois Duncan book.
I just find the books they choose to be so earnest and lacking in humour, which were not at all qualities I was looking for in books when I was a kid. Looking at the titles from more recent years, I think they are choosing more books that I would've been interested in...though actually, fewer of them are ones my daughter would be into. For instance, I loved When You Reach Me, but Hana read it when she was 9 and found the story too convoluted. But she'd read a Wrinkle in Time and enjoyed it.
I'll definitely run out and get her that Lincoln book! ;-) It looks AWESOME."
I had that EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE with Jacob Have I Loved. I remember clearly in elementary school, almost every library period I would take it out of the spinning powdered-wire book rack and read the back, and then put it back and borrow something else. It was actually one of the few I've read between taking the quiz and now, and it's quite good - for adult me. I think it actually might appeal to some young people, as far as issues of 'there's a favoured chid and I'm not it', but the main character is very prickly and almost revels in being unlikable, and I'm not sure how that would go over. It's really killing me that I can't time-machine myself back in order to make myself read them all at the intended age.
Many of the award decisions certainly seem to indicate that the committee zoomed in on the 'distinguished' part of the criteria and lost sight of the 'for children' part. This isn't a new criticism of awards, of course. There has always been this problem of 'popular' being sort of a dirty word. In the next post, I will talk about The Giver, where I kind of think they might have hit it right on both counts.