When awards and honors and lists are announced, I sometimes haven’t read the books.
I read a lot; I tend to like the kinds of books that get awards and on lists; and I like to predict what will be on the lists. So, it makes sense that often I’ve already read the books on the lists.
Sometimes — no, let’s be honest, often — I haven’t read a good many of the books. Last year’s Printz? I hadn’t read any of the Honor Books. This year’s NBA shortlist? Only read two of the five.
What’s nice about reading the books after they get the nod is I can read with the knowledge “this got a nod” and then read the book thinking, “what did they see in this book?” I know I’m about to read something good, and I read looking for the good.
For those reading the NBA Young People’s Lit shortlist, we have a bit of a bonus this year: the judges have shared some of their thoughts!
Both Nikki Grimes and Will Weaver have blogged about the shortlists. Nikki Grimes at May I Have Your Attention, Please: “We read, discussed, and deliberated over these books for four months, and we chose as carefully and thoughtfully as we could. The work was arduous, and the hours long, but we considered it an honor, and handled it accordingly.” Will Weaver at The Best of The 2011 Books for Young People explains, “our five judges each have written a summary of one book. It doesn’t matter which judge wrote which summary; we are a group, a cohort of authors that read, discussed, had conference calls, argued, lobbied, laughed, cringed (at the error when the finalists were announced), got angry, discussed–well, you get the drift.” So, while those blog posts are unique (and you should click through to both of them!) the summaries of the books are identical.
At this point, I’ve read all five books, I just haven’t posted reviews of all of them yet. At this point, there are two questions — what do I want to be the winner, and what do I think the judges will pick as the winner.