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Aaand We’re Off!
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.
The purpose of this blog is to speculate, with textual evidence, about books that are potential contenders for YALSA’s Michael L. Printz Award, given annually to a YA book for literary excellence.*
Speculate. Potential contenders. Literary excellence. What these words share is the unknown. We don’t know what the RealCommittee is looking at; we don’t know what they are discussing about the books; we don’t even know what this year’s committee will use as their measures of excellence.
So instead we operate as a kind of shadow committee, emulating the process as transparently as possible and having fun discussing the best books of the year on a level most of us rarely get to do.
There are three of us whose names can be clicked for information, but a committee of three is a pretty paltry thing, especially when the three members are so similar (we’re all NYC librarians currently working in independent schools). To keep it honest, we need a large, more diverse pool, so our shadow committee includes all of you who read and comment.
With that in mind, let me rephrase the welcome statement.
Welcome, committee members, to our virtual, speculative discussion!
Our first order of business is to determine what literary quality means.
Required reading for this discussion:
- The RealPrintz Policies and Procedures, the go-to for the RealCommittee and for us.
- The very long discussion (part 1 and part 2) Sarah and I had in Someday’s first year about the P&P, which raises many of the issues; the comments on part 2 are a great discussion in their own right.
- Last year’s revisit of Literary Excellence as a concept, with some discussion of how a committee needs to determine the criteria as a group.
Okay, so have you caught up on all the previous discussion? Great!
The comments are open, so start talking — and listening — and let’s try to craft our own consensus about excellence, or at least have a rousing disagreement about how we each define excellence. Remember that love has a place in our reading, but for the Printz (Real or Pyrite) we are looking for the more tangible and less subjective standards. Objectively speaking, what is it that makes a book great?
*Our predictions, conversations, and speculation about potential RealPrintz contenders and winners reflect only our own best guesses and are not affiliated with YALSA or the RealPrintz committee. You probably figured that out on your own, but we like to make it clear!
About Karyn Silverman
Karyn Silverman is the High School Librarian and Educational Technology Department Chair at LREI, Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School (say that ten times fast!). Karyn has served on YALSA’s Quick Picks and Best Books committees and was a member of the 2009 Printz committee. She has reviewed for Kirkus and School Library Journal. She has a lot of opinions about almost everything, as long as all the things are books. Said opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, YALSA or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @InfoWitch or e-mail her at karynsilverman at gmail dot com.
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