Jonathan mentioned feeling “warm and fuzzy” about DARK EMPEROR, and I’ll lay claim to the same feeling…not only do I feel particular affection for it as the dark horse winner of our live Mock Newbery (and of course also for ONE CRAZY SUMMER which pretty handily landed the win in our online voting), but its place among the honors strengthens every other title’s place there, by proving that the committee process worked in recognizing a true variety in ”distinguished literature for children.”
Vicky Smith at Kirkus did tell me to consider MOON OVER MANIFEST for our shortlist here, and her post on “getting it right” is well deserved. MOON shows remarkable complexity and attention to audience in its multilayered “interpretation of theme or concept”…a confluence of themes of “story,” “home” and “belonging.” (Interestingly, I also see that theme in ONE CRAZY SUMMER and TURTLE IN PARADISE…though each of their distinguished elements is drawn out differently…). I applaud this year’s committee for keeping it interesting, and getting a debut author on the podium…even though I know this was not part of the agenda.
I share Jonathan’s hope that “a diverse mix of titles [through the decades] grows organically from the consideration of the entire field.” He hastens to add that “A committee can’t really go in with that as an agenda” and the ensuing comments on that post circle back round our usual and vital debate about how to (or not to) interpret results. I believe that it’s this debate that keeps the Newbery thriving in our profession…keeps it responsive both to changes in the field of publishing, and to its original core purpose which has proven it stands the test of time. The mere fact that the results truly cannot be predicted is a measure of its strength.
Jonathan and I will be taking just a little more time this month to finish commenting on the winners and their reception, and take a quick look ahead to next year. And try to answer the question of whether it was Snooki, or–my guess–Tiger Mom that edged out the interest for the Newbery/Caldecott winners on the Today Show.