May 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Up for Debate

Up for Debate header


Should Awards Committee Conversations Remain Confidential?

Under current rules, all Newbery and Caldecott Award Selection Committee deliberations must remain strictly confidential. Should those conversations stay sealed forever—or made public, as some have recently argued, so that scholars, authors, illustrators, and readers may benefit from knowing how decisions were made? Three experts weigh in.

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Recalling a Book: Bowing to Pressure, or Righting Wrongs?

Is it ever right for a publisher to withdraw a children’s book based on public criticism, as in the case of A Birthday Cake for George Washington, which Scholastic pulled after objection to its illustrations of cheerful slaves? Instead, should readers be able to evaluate these controversial depictions themselves? Do we run the risk of only publishing narrow, “politically correct” portrayals of racially sensitive subjects?

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anonymous reviewers

Are Anonymous Book Reviews Necessary?

Young adult author Kathleen Hale’s tale of her response to being catfished by a reviewer, which ran in The Guardian last October, incited hot-button responses and discussion in the book community. What role can anonymity play in book criticism? Is it invaluable or irresponsible? A critic and an author respond.

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Are Ebooks Better than Print Books?

Ebooks are here to stay, and the offerings geared toward young children expand every day. Still, the debate about their use among early learners rages on. What is the case for and against ebooks in supporting early literacy? And what about screen time? Two sides weigh in.

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Up for Debate: Diversity photo

What Can Be Done to Increase Diversity
in Literature for Children and Teens?

While the population of U.S. children is increasingly non-white, the representation of diverse cultures in kids’ books has remained paltry, little changed over decades. Why the gap? And what can publishers, librarians, teachers, and parents do to change this?

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