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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Pyrite Printz: Deadlines!

The Pyrite Printz* nomination period is drawing to a close!

Nominations are scheduled to close Wednesday, 11/28.

You may nominate any YA title published in the US in 2012. You may only nominate one book. Ready? Head over to the original nomination post to nominate via commenting.

Straw polling/ranking/winnowing will take place on 11/29-30, with the goal of posting the shortlist (10 titles) on 12/1. Use December wisely to read and marshal your arguments! We’ll discuss each book in early January, and the final vote will happen probably over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the weekend before the ALA Midwinter conference and the Youth Media Awards announcements.

Read on for the formal nominations thus far.

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Pyrite Nominations Are Open!

Your fearless leaders have special socks! With crowns! To celebrate the Pyrite and because we are just that cheesy. Also, feet shots are trendy and we do like being on trend.

We are at roughly the 50% point for covering the contenda list*, and most of the year’s books are available to readers, so we’ve determined that the time has come (the walrus said) to launch our Pyrite Printz!

The Pyrite is intended to be fun, maybe even raucous, but it’s not just for fun.

Part of the RealCommittee’s process is culling the initial “list” (created through conversations and personal reading lists) down to a formal nomination list, and then, through in-depth discussion, further shrinking that nomination list to the shortlist.

We could just create a shortlist on our own. Certainly we all have a few books we think are the top contendas. But one of our major goals all along has been to make the RealCommittee process more transparent by emulating it as much as is possible via blog, so we need your nominations!

Nominations are open to all 2012 YA books, whether it’s a title we’ve already covered, an upcoming book from the contenda list, or one we haven’t even mentioned. Note: we are artificially limiting nominations to one per person for the time being, so think carefully about what you want to nominate and read through the list before nominating. This is not at all in line with the RealCommittee process, but we also have a lot more than 9 people likely to submit nominations.

A few other technical details: We might vote the list down at some point, much as the RealCommittee uses straw polling, with the goal of a tight list of 10 or so nominations to be revisited in early January (after all the contendas have been covered). We are hoping that everyone who chooses to go the distance with the Pyrite will read all the titles on the shortlist for those January discussions, which is part of why we wanted to get this going now. And then we’ll vote shortly before MidWinter, and see how our process compared to the RealCommittee’s. We will ask that you don’t vote unless you have read all of the shortlist titles, although we may also run an open vote, as we did last year, because it’s always interesting to see those results as well.

So (we say, finally getting to the good stuff) submit your nominations using the comments here!

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The Whys & Wherefores of the Printz Award, Postscript: Practical Matters

Image from flickr user kodomut. Used under cc license.

We’ve looked at the Printz process, and ruminated on the idea of literary excellence. Now it’s time to look at some of the more practical details: how do you find books to read? How do you get all that reading done? How do you remember the books you’ve read? [Read more…]

The Whys & Wherefores of the Printz Award, Part 2

In many ways, this post is more the what than the why.

Because it’s time to tackle the really complex, almost undefinable heart of the award: the definition of literary excellence.

Sarah and I took a run at this last year, and it took two really long posts. I still stand by everything we said there (click if you want to see if you stand by what we said, too: part 1 and especially part 2), and I encourage anyone who is interested in the Printz to read the comments on part 2, but after a year of thinking on this question of excellence I think it’s worth revisiting — and glancing again at the Policies and Procedures that guide our understanding of what it is we’re seeking when we look for the book that deserves the Printz award.

So let’s go once more into the fray to the Policies and Procedures. [Read more…]

The Whys & Wherefores of the Printz Award, Part 1

I’m thinking if you’ve gotten as far as reading this blog, you probably know a little something about the Printz, more formally known as the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

But maybe not, because (and this is a matter of some concern for us) it’s not a well known award, although that situation improves every year. More than that, it’s not very well understood.

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Anticlimactic: I don’t believe in Printz Genre Bias

So I’ve been writing and rewriting a post on genre bias and the Printz for — I’m not kidding you — the past two weeks. But it boils down to a very drama-less post about a lack of genre bias in Printzland and how things seem to me to be fine. Which: good news for Young Adult Literature, but bad news for an interesting post, eh? [Read more…]

The Curse of the Serial Book, or Why Series Titles Get No Lovin’

Looking back at Sophie’s rundown of series books that have been recognized by the Printz Committee over the years, a trend emerged that seems to draw a line between shared universe vs. truly serial works. By and large, truly serial works have only been recognized at series launch, with two duology conclusions and one single middle volume as exceptions, and that one volume is a verse novel, which may—by virtue of verse automatically leaving so much unstated—be a different animal altogether.

So let’s stand back and consider what we mean when we say “series,” and why genuine serial series books are at a disadvantage when it comes to being named the finest work of writing in any given year.

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Printz 2012 Celebrations Whirlwind Recap!

Double Awards! So Fancy & Shiny!

I flew to Anaheim, my suitcase packed with dresses, knowing intellectually that it would be the end of my term on the 2012 Michael L. Printz Award Committee, but in completely emotional denial. We’d all be having book discussion meetings, right? We’d be arguing passionately for the titles we thought best embodied the award’s criteria! Yeah! Um, no.

Fortunately, I quickly got my head around the notion of this being our time to celebrate our wonderful winner, Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley and our amazing four honor titles, Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler & Maira Kalman, The Returning, by Christine Hinwood, Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey and The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. Oh, YEAH, that’s what all these dresses were for — the four Printz events I’d be attending over the course of the weekend! [Read more…]

Series, Schmeries: What’s the Big Deal?

And now, for the epic throw-down you’ve all been waiting for: series vs. stand-alone books! Dun-dun-DUNNNNN! I freely admit that I worked myself up into a rhetorical tizzy as I drafted this post. Last week, I cheerfully volunteered to write the first entry in our exploration of series vs. stand-alone titles. Let’s just say that I’ve lived to regret that nonchalant confidence.

Let’s go!

According to the song (and Omar Little, perhaps its most famous fictional interpreter), the cheese stands alone, but to be considered for YA literature’s highest prize, must a book stand alone, too?

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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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