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!