This morning we watched the ALA Youth Media Awards livestream (and please, can the stream enter the 21st century? Just a pan shot of the audience/committee members or two, a few interior shots for the Caldecott and Geisel and various illustrator awards? We don’t need much, but something more than the really not-exciting slideshow for the folks at home?).
And we were delighted!
Because oh, how we did not call it!
The Printz Committee recognized the full four possible honor books plus, of course, the winner.
Here’s what we said about each of the books:
Winner: Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley
The Returning, by Christine Hinwood
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey (Confession: still unfinished on my nightstand)
Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler, art by Maira Kalman
Strangely, you might notice that the above list of five titles contains only four distinct links. That’s because we lumped two of the books together, and when I say we, I mean I, because I was the one who was all urg, arg, can’t finish this one, please inspire me.
(For the record, dear readers, you were not terribly loud on the protests. So while I take the blame for poor literary assessment skills not once but twice this year, I ask that next time, please, please, won’t you save me from the egg and just tell me to get over myself and act like a big girl and finish the damn books, dammit?)
On the bright side, we definitely called The Returning, or at least prayed for it, and didn’t exactly predict but did strongly support The Scorpio Races. And while our coverage of Where Things Come Back was perhaps not even remotely predictiony, we did say lots of nice things. Mostly nice. Sarah for sure said that it might be a different book indeed with a reread, which is almost exactly like saying it’s like a super serious, prediction level contenda, right? No?
So, boys and girls, what have we learned?
Well, as per Twitter:
— Janice Harayda (@janiceharayda) January 23, 2012
But really, here’s the thing: there are 9 people on the Printz Committee. Nine people reading until their eyes cross. Exchanging ideas and insights, arguing, discussing, analyzing, and fully immersing themselves. In the end, nine people locked in a room, probably consuming vast quantities of sugar and caffeine, talking until the dust settles and a set of books rises to the top.
And that process is pure magic.
Did I see the flaws in Jasper Jones (just to take the biggest egg) and get stuck? Yes.
Did any of the committee members? Probably; no book is perfect, and someone probably saw flaws I didn’t see, too.
But they kept going. They held it up and looked again and again, and in the end they saw that the great outweighed any flaws, and that’s why they rock: because the committee pushes through their own baggage (I was tired! The chapters are really long!) and makes sure they are looking at each book carefully and above all objectively.
Because they rock.
These are brilliant books, and the RealCommittee deserves our applause, our kudos, and our thanks.
Now, if anyone wants to talk about their personal heartbreaks (without, we beg you, slamming the actual winners), comments are open for therapeutic purposes, so go crazy!