Jan. 15th, 2010

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"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."
-"Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon

By which I mean, I know it's been a while. And there are many half-written/never posted blog entries swirling around my noggin and even a few on the computer itself.

But, the Caldecott and Newbery awards will be announced on Monday - just a few miles from where I sit, actually. And this year I may even have read some of the award or honor books! So let's talk award-quality books.

As a children's librarian, I don't find that tend to read to keep up with the buzz. I'm actually much more likely to read something because a publisher sends me a box of review books and it catches my eye. And so it went with the two Newbery contenders I've read this year.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
by Jacqueline Kelly

Review and Discussion )

Could it win? Maybe. Far more likely that it would be an honor book.

Should it win? I would be okay with it as an honor book. It is not a book that will have wide appeal, and I would like a Newbery book to have a decently wide appeal. This is a long, complex, and involved story. And the type of kid that likes books like that will adore this one. But is for more of a niche audience.

Heart of A Shepherd
by Roseanne Parry

Review and Discussion )

Could it win? Doubtful. First, there is the religion aspect. While that shouldn't keep a book of this caliber from being a contender, I think it could bother the committee. Which is a darn shame. Second, I am not sure how well known this book is, which means the committee may not have heard of it. Another shame.

Should it win? Absolutely! This is by far the best children's book I've read in a long time. And I read plenty of them. It's got everything a Newbery winner should have: good writing, good story, strong characters, kid appeal, it could easily be taught in a classroom, and a timely story that is not tied specifically enough to the war in Iraq to make it date badly in the future.

Now we move to picture books.

The Lion and the Mouse
By Jerry Pinkney

Review and Discussion )

Could it win? Yes. It's a beautiful, special book, and Jerry Pinkney deserves to win the actual Caldecott for once. This would be an excellent choice for that distinction.

Should it win? See above.

14 Cows For America
by Carmen Agra Deedy

Review and Discussion )

Could it win?I don't put this one up as a possible Caldecott winner. I suppose it could take that distinction as the art is quite good. No, I think this will win another prize. I'm just not sure which one - maybe the Siebert?

This concludes my round-up of possible prize winners I've actually read this year. I could certainly speculate on other winners, and I wouldn't be surprised if I've read/seen other Caldecott possibilities. But, these are the four that come readily to mind.

The next few entries will probably be my Best Lists for 2009. I will hopefully get a chance to compile them after the craziness of two conferences here in Boston this weekend.

This blog entry is cross-posted here at Blogger.


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