Saturday, December 02, 2006

The final discussion list

Because I have to say "stop" sometime, here we are--a mock short-list of nine titles to discuss on January 7th.

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, 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!)


Blogger Monica Edinger said...

What a fantastic line-up! I'm a big fan of your last two additions, Alabama Moon (which one of my fourth graders --- a survivor buff --- is currently enjoying) and A Drowned Maiden's Hair. Sure which I could be there for the discussion. Ah well, I'll get the skinny somehow!

7:41 AM  

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