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September 2, 2014

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Could Squirrels Be the New Zombies?

Could Squirrels Be the New Zombies?

I spent Monday presenting a Common Core seminar to elementary school librarians in Knoxville, TN.  Our YMA feed stopped working properly during the Belpre Awards, so I had to wait until our morning break to see the full results.  While the Newbery picks surprised me, all the books did get great reviews, and will now [...]

Virtual Winners

Virtual Winners

We had 76 voters which is about 5 times the size of the real committee.  Our results are followed by some analysis.   THE THING ABOUT LUCK . . . 16 (1st) + 6 (2nd) + 3 (3rd) = 88 points FAR FAR AWAY . . . 9 (1st) + 8 (2nd) + 8 (3rd) [...]

Calling the Virtual Mock Supercommittee!

Calling the Virtual Mock Supercommittee!

It’s time for our virtual edition of the Mock Newbery!  We’ll declare a winner and honor books after the first ballot so it won’t really be very similar to what the real committee will be doing, but it will still be a lot of fun, and that’s what counts, right?  What follows is the list [...]

2013 Best Book Outliers

2013 Best Book Outliers

You’ll recall my Best Books Overlap post which demonstrates the way that Booklist, the Bulletin, Horn Book, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly have already come to a kind of consensus.  But each journal champions books that the others do not, and they are not necessarily any less distinguished because of it.  Earlier this [...]

San Diego Winners

San Diego Winners

Seven people met at our very first San Diego Mock Newbery, and our results were as follows– Newbery Medal THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt Newbery Honor ERUPTION! by Elizabeth Rusch We had our winner on our first ballot, and this is how the voting went. CLEMENTINE AND THE SPRING [...]

Saving the Best for Last?

Saving the Best for Last?

What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost.  The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and daring, and the ancient ghost . . . well, let it only be said that his intentions were good. If more heavily seasoned with romance, this might have made [...]

True Blue Scouts

True Blue Scouts

Earlier, Nina described this book as peacocky, and I think that’s an apt description.  No other novel on our shortlist, save FAR FAR AWAY, has such a striking, distinctive narrative voice. OFFICIAL SUGAR MAN SWAMP SCOUT ORDERS keep your eyes open keep your ears to the ground keep your nose in the air be true [...]

2013 Best Books Overlap

2013 Best Books Overlap

Well, it looks like Jen J beat me to the punch.  She must get the print copy of the Bulletin whereas I have to wait for them to post online, so I’m taking her word for the Bulletin Blue Ribbons. six lists- BOXERS/SAINTS five lists– ELEANOR & PARK LOCOMOTIVE MARCH: BOOK ONE MR. TIGER GOES [...]

Whale Watching

Whale Watching

PICTURE BOOK  VS. POETRY When last we discussed IF YOU WANT TO SEE A WHALE, Leonard brought up a good question: Should we consider this text as a picture book or a single poem?  Ultimately, I’m not sure that it really matters how we classify it, but it’s definitely helpful to look at it through [...]

Clementine and the Spring Trip

If a book is challenging, and suitable for 13-14-year-olds but not for younger readers, is it eligible? Yes; but it can be given an award only if it does what it sets out to do as well as or better than other, younger books that are also eligible. Of course, we may say the same thing for [...]

December Nominations

December Nominations

This is the third and final time that the Newbery committee will trade nominations (3 in October, 2 in November, 2 in December).  In order for a book to be on the table for discussion, it must first be nominated, so we may see many people use their final two nominations, not to build consensus, [...]

Can Mythology or Folklore Win the Newbery Medal?

Can Mythology or Folklore Win the Newbery Medal?

Every once in a blue moon the Newbery committee recognizes a work of mythology or folklore.  Don’t hold your breath, though, as the last book recognized was IN THE BEGINNING by Virginia Hamilton (1989), and before that WHEN SHLEMIEL WENT TO WARSAW (1969) and ZLATEH THE GOAT (1967), both by Isaac Bashevis Singer.  THE WHITE [...]

If You Say It Right, It Helps the Heart to Bear It

If You Say It Right, It Helps the Heart to Bear It

After a series of wonderful poetry collections about sundry animals in their natural habitats, Joyce Sidman turns her prodigious talents to the most fascinating one of all: the human animal and its singular talent for language. BLESSING ON THE CURL OF CAT As cat curls in a circle of sun– sleek and round,  snug and [...]

P.S. Be Eleven

P.S. Be Eleven

There’s no doubt that P.S. BE ELEVEN is one of the best books of the year, and most of the criticisms that I’ve seen about this book (including one of my own) fall on the peccadillo side of the fence rather than the fatal flaw side of the fence.  Let’s consider a few of them [...]

The Animal Book

The Animal Book

Can a reference book win the Newbery? Yes, it can, according to Jonathan Hunt of the blog Heavy Medal.

San Diego Mock Newbery

Some of you may have noticed a new change in my bio statement recently, but if not then I’ll take this opportunity to mention that I took a new job at the beginning of October as the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education.  Which means that I will, unfortunately, not [...]

Can Randolph Caldecott Win the Newbery Medal?

Can Randolph Caldecott Win the Newbery Medal?

If I’ve heard this once this year, I’ve heard it a dozen times: It’s a weak year for nonfiction.  Actually, this isn’t really true.  It’s an average year for nonfiction, but it seems weaker because (a) last year was so unbelievably awesome and (b) the strong nonfiction this year isn’t the kind that tends to [...]

National Book Award

National Book Award

Tonight, the winner of the National Book Award will be announced.  While I was disappointed that the longlist did not include more genre/audience diversity–Are 9 of the top 10 books for children in any given year really prose novels?–I must say this is one of the best shortlists in recent memory.  There really isn’t a head-scratcher [...]

November Nominations

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“Okay, it’s time for us (and the real Newbery committee) to submit two more nominations for the month of November,” writes Jonathan Hunt, on the blog Heavy Medal.

Jinx

gold letters, figure to left, lots of green

JINX by Sage Blackwood is another January publication that has waited patiently for some discussion.  This one scores high for me in all the criteria, and yet I find myself sort of lukewarm about it as a Newbery hopeful, and I’m not exactly sure why.  It does have a Lloyd Alexander/Diana Wynne Jones vibe to it–which [...]