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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Joy at Macmillan!

(I couldn’t resist the bad play on Joy’s name, although if I do it too often she might just up and leave me with no right hand.)

Please read on for excellent coverage from my colleague Joy Piedmont for the Macmillan preview none of us were able to attend the week before last—Joy’s debrief back at school resulted in a tussle over the ARCs she received, and I’m really excited for all of these delicious books!

Also, I note that once again we’re looking at a heavy genre list, so maybe, maybe this is the year that genre sweeps it all?

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A moment of reflection

We had a plan for this week’s post, but we’re going to postpone for a day or two and instead add our voices to those remembering and mourning Peter Sieruta.

None of us were lucky enough to know Peter personally, but we knew him in that interweb sense, through his writing and his blog. I’m not really much of a blog reader–I tend to rely on Twitter as a feeder–but Collecting Children’s Books was one of the blogs I bookmarked and returned to again and again. And last year, right as we launched, Peter launched his own Printz blog, Printz Picks, and I very much appreciated the thoughtful commentary there (despite our wildly differing tastes!). One of my goals for this year was to comment more on Printz Picks and get to know Peter better, and I’m very sad that I will never have the chance.

Lots of our friends and colleagues out in the blogosphere have posted wonderful memories and tributes, so please take a look, and take a minute to mourn the passing of a keen mind and critical figure in our little field, a man who was by all accounts as wonderful of a friend as he was a book lover.

In the words of those who knew him better, here are posts from Jules at Seven Impossible Things; Betsy at A Fuse #8 Production; Liz at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy; Monica at Educating Alice; and the Blue-Hearted Bookworm. Thank you, all, for sharing your thoughts and memories, and thank you, Peter, for your rich contributions. You will be missed.

Preview preview!

Last week was an embarrassment of riches, with not one but two previews.

I didn’t actually get to go to both, and Sarah and Sophie didn’t get to go to either, but happily my amazing colleague Joy pinch hit for us (I think maybe she didn’t mind too much…) and so later this week we’ll run her coverage of preview two. Sadly, none of us, including pinch-hitter Joy, can make this Thursday’s Fall preview at Random House, so if any of you, dear readers, will be there, feel free to leave a rundown in the comments on this post or Joy’s Macmillan post. Otherwise we’ll try to find coverage somewhere to link, and we’ll have some more book buzz post ALA as well.

In the meantime, let me tell you about HarperCollins!*

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It’s All About Who You Know

An array of baggage for every reader. ("Prada Luggage" by Marcus Troy via Flickr user o5com, used under CC.)

Last week, I was lucky enough to host Paolo Bacigalupi at my school. He addressed a crowd of mostly high school students, and he, not to put too fine a point on it, rocked. He was kinetic and energetic, brought the audience right in, and had lots of interesting things to say.

And while I could devote a whole post to the awesomeness of the visit, what I really want to talk about is a very particular brand of baggage.

Last year, Sarah and I gave some thought to baggage, and ultimately concluded that it’s all ok because the committee ameliorates the idiocy of the individual.

(Have you noticed that this is an oft sung refrain? Committee work makes you really really believe in committees working, once you’ve experienced it working and seen how astounding it can be.)

We were looking at the baggage a reader carries, which is the obvious one. But there’s also the baggage that the author brings on board.

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HULK SMASH

Get it? Get it, guys!?

A long time ago, we started out thinking and talking about the Printz policies and procedures. And do you know what I said? What I typed, I mean?

Yeah, but who wants to be on a committee that picks a book everyone hates, y’know? I guess this is a good opportunity to talk about POPULARITY (since the criteria are yelling…) versus APPEAL. And whether either of those concepts have any business being in the conversation that is actually all about QUALITY.

Karyn pointed out the difference between popularity and appeal, and mentioned that appeal is, in the end, a pretty subjective concept. She also pointed out that at the Printz table, you have the luxury of stepping away from the question of appeal and just focusing on questions of literary excellence.

And then I stepped in and beat on the drum a little more about teen appeal and how that’s an important part of our work as librarians and shouldn’t we think of the teens WHAT ABOUT THE TEENS?? HULK LOVE TEENS, WANT TEENS TO READ NICE BOOKS. (OK, Hulk has nothing to do with this post at all, but we just saw The Avengers and so now all I want to do is type like HULK. WITH CAPS. SMASH SMASH SMASH.) Back then, we moved on to other parts of the P&P. Because we had a lot of words to cover and more thoughts to share.

But I’m still wondering: Can something be both really excellent and really boring? And, as my notes for this blog post so eloquently said, “appeal teens reading quality what is YA anyway arg halp!”

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