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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Defining the terms, part 1

The Printz is a funny animal. On the one hand, it’s loosely defined—no 90 page manual here. But at the same time, we all seem to know what it is when we see it (“it” being a book worthy of the award). How, with so little guidance, does each year’s committee come up with a winner and usually the full complement of four honor books? What is a Printz contender, and how do we know them when we see them?

The entire policies and procedures takes about 5 pages, the criteria just one. The criteria are the alpha and omega for committee members. We cited them frequently, and referred to them, brief as they are, numerous times throughout our discussions.

But they aren’t exactly black and white. In fact, almost every aspect is open to interpretation, making the criteria an exercise in decoding and application.

Let’s take it section by section — but be warned: this is one long post!

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Once upon a time there was a Newbery blog, which discussed contenders both real and mock. And people loved it. (They still do: head here to see for yourself, unless you came from there, in which case, pull up a chair! Stay!). But some of those readers wanted something a little different. For those who wanted picture books and a discussion as much about the art as the language, Calling Caldecott came along to keep them reading and discussing happily into the future. Others of those readers served teens, and they wondered where they should go for the Printz speculation. And lo! Along came their Printz Charming, smiling and nodding and speculating, with reference to the criteria and eligibility.

So that’s it, the story of where we came from and what we’re doing. Both of us have served on the Printz Committee, and while no two committees are ever the same, we do have a sense of how this crazy process works (really well, in case you wondered). So here’s how it’s going to go: we’re going to read. We’re going to write. We’re going to scour other blogs, bookstores, review journals, and our friend’s and colleague’s brains. And each week we’ll talk about some of this year’s eligible titles, or the conversations around those titles. We’ll do our best to bring you the kinds of conversations and reflections committee members might be having. Hopefully, you’ll join the conversation too!

Welcome to Someday my Printz Will Come! Join us as we kiss—I mean read!—all the frogs in the pond.