Jonathan’s post on sentence-level style reminds me of Monica’s "Thoughts on Newbery" posts over at Educating Alice, most of which she posted while serving on the committee (with me) that ultimately selected Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!
This level of discussion–about exactly what identifiable qualities in an eligible book make it "distiguished"–is the type of discussion we try to emulate in our annual live Mock Newbery discussion. This year’s will be held on Sunday, January 10th, from 1pm-5pm, at a location in Oakland CA tba. We’ll be announcing the discussion list, in stages, on this blog…with the first four titles to be announced imminently.
The discussion list is usually not more than 8 or 9 titles…and we try to select for broadness of discussion (different genres, etc.) as well as (and sometimes even more than) what we actually think "might win." Predicting a committee’s choice is really an impossibility, as no one else but the committee ever reads as many titles in a year, at such a level of scrutiny, with such a particular focus. I’ll post some more on the committee process…but you can also get a small but vivid taste of what it’s like by participating in the Mock Newbery.
Participants must read all the titles on the discussion list, so that the voting process works as it does on the real committee. If you’re near me, I’ve usually got spare copies to lend. If you’d like to attend (adults only please), please RSVP to me. Registration’s now open.