Saturday, December 30, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
MockNomination for Freedom Walkers
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
But judging a book by the Newbery criteria is a very different way of looking a book than most of us do on a casual read. You have to explicitly UNconsider:
- The lovely illustrations or quality of the pages and binding (unless they detract from the writing.)
- Other books it is similar too, except for those being discussing. It’s not a valid criterium that the book is the best of this author yet…or just like another book that was written last year.
- Personal reading preferences!: whether or not this is a book that you just "like" or "don't like" don't matter. Unless you can explain...very specifically...why.
It's a fabulous excercise, but a heckuva lot of work, and I'm whining about doing not one-hundredth of it. If you know someone on the Newbery Committee this year, now's the time NOT to invite them to the movies. Give them a kiss, a pat on the head, a good light, and some reading glasses.
MockNomination for The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
MockNomination for Gossamer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
MockNomination for The King of Attolia
Saturday, December 16, 2006
MockNomination for A True and Faithful Narrative
In her work of historical fiction Sturtevant presents details of setting and custom seamlessly through the presentation of her narrative, and communicates the perspectives of people in 17th century England through her characters’ differences in opinion. These characters are vivid, and realistic to their time. Even Meg, a “modern” woman in many ways, is understandably closed-minded when it comes to people of other colors and faiths. Sturtevant has also created an engaging coming-of-age novel with elements of romance and adventure. She creates tension through gesture and conversation, creating layers that the readers understand without needing to be told. No other book on our list (with the possible exception of King of Attolia) exhibits such distinguish craft in writing.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
MockNomination for Alabama Moon
Saturday, December 09, 2006
MockNomination for A Drowned Maiden's Hair
(As promised, here's the first of my "justification" statments for the books on our discussion list. If I were on the committee, I'd be writing this in order to convince other committee members that this book (which they might not care for) does stand up to the Newbery award criteria. No plot summary necessary, since everyone's read it. You get about a hundred words in which to make your colleagues re-read the book with a different eye, in the hopes that when you come to the discussion table, most of your persuasion has already done its work....)
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair stands out for its complexity within a predictable form, and distinctively engaging narrative. Schlitz takes her time to develop a plot and characters, but the pace never lags. Her talents as a playwright show in the way she sets a scene, develops tension, and uses conversation. She has a dramatic flair, right from the opening sentence, that shows an attention to and appreciation for her audience, framing the story in two parts or “acts” with a coda, that has the pacing of a play. The climaxes in action serve to further unveil the complex Hawthorne sisters to Maud and the reader, resulting in a deeply nuanced version of a classic orphan story.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Don't forget to take a look at other Mock Newbery lists
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The final discussion list
How did I decide what to include? Well, first I was looking for books that I truly like, with writing that I feel stands up to the Newbery criteria. Second, I'm looking for a little diversity and interesting discussion. "Diversity" means in genre, style, first-time vs. "proven" authors, etc...as well as in all the other expected categories. It's not possible to come up with a perfectly diverse list of course, but I do want to make the discussion enlightening as to the process of the actual award, and since we really only have time to discuss eight or nine titles, and the real committee is discussing usually thirty or forty or fifty...
How does the acutal committee come up with their discussion list? Feel free to take a look at the whole manual if you're so inclined, but here's the short version. Committee members have been reading all year long--hundreds of books. They keep each other informed, through the chair, monthly, of titles they want to make sure are being considered by all members. Towards the end of the year, each committee member formally nominates six titles (three in October, and three in December); there's always some overlap, so between fifteen members with six nominations apiece, that's how you end up with the 30-40-50 range. These nominations usually comprise the discussion list, though there's always room to throw in late contenders or second-thoughts if necessary. This discussion list is never made public.
When a committtee member nominates a title, they have to write a 100 word justification of why they think it meets the Newbery criteria. I'll start posting my mock nominations of these nine titles in these weeks leading up to our discussion, to give you a taste of what we'll be focusing on...and a head start in case you want to build your own attack or defense! Feel free also to post comments to these justifications to start an online discussion.
Interested in coming to the discussion? See the previous post about participating, and make sure to let me know.
Trying to get your hands on the books? If you've got an Oakland Public Library Card, you can check them out by requesting the item to be sent to your local branch. I'm replacing the title links in the sidebar from Powells to the OPL Catalog page, as that title comes available in our catalog. (Patience...some are still coming through the order process!)