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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Boxers & Saints — Or, What Defines “Book” Anyway?

I had hoped to post this before the NBA was announced, but fate (and also one very lively 6-year-old) intervened, and then intervened some more.

Regardless, here’s a verbatim transcript of my thinking when I finished Boxers & Saints:

Wow.

Also, hmmm.

I read the two volumes back to back in the intended order, and I’m looking at them together in this post — but of course, that’s the crux of the question: I can go ahead and tell you all the reasons Boxers & Saints, as a single entity, deserves recognition as one of the year’s absolute bests, and I might be 100% right — but those arguments mean nothing if the RealCommittee considers them as two individual texts.

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Aaand We’re Off!

crowd 500x375 Aaand Were Off!

Here we are, a diverse, vibrant, occasionally unexpected crowd. Together, we’re going to analyze the $%&* out of some books.

Well, Labor Day has come and gone, which means our labors are beginning again!

Which means it’s time to say:

Welcome to Someday My Printz Will Come, 2013 edition.

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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...]

Stars in my Eyes (or, Starred Reviews vs. The Printz, round 2)

4688797296 1178e349f6 o 263x300 Stars in my Eyes (or, Starred Reviews vs. The Printz, round 2)

CC-licensed image ("Starry Eyed Gaga") by Flickr user mellydonut. A bit literal, but really, isn't this how we all feel when we read a really excellent book? Also? I find Blythe dolls weirdly compelling.

Between Roger’s piece way back and Sophie’s thoughtful assessment of stars in our playground, I’m not sure what more really needs to be said.

But never let it be said that I passed up an opportunity to air my opinions.

Last week, I read a Mary Poppins of a book.* It deserves a dozen stars. And it won’t, and shouldn’t, be considered by the 2014 Printz committee (the book is a 2013 pub. I had no business reading it. But… it was pretty! And calling my name. And sometimes we need to succumb to siren songs.).

Because perfect, or even merely really excellent, books are not always so big on the Literary. In this case, the writing is pitch perfect, which is not always a given in even a star-earning book. The plotting is tight. The characters are engaging. The world gets a big “mwah” for being so much fun and well established without any needless exposition. It’s well written, but it doesn’t, in the end, offer anything more than a diversion.

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Defining the terms, part 2

Still with us after Friday’s mega post? Yay! This one tackles the second half of the criteria, and it’s actually a bit shorter.

So, picking up right where we left off… [Read more...]

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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