In CLN’s Chapter & Verse, with six of our bookstores reporting, we had no clear winners for our mock Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz Awards. Steve and I have visited many of these locations, talking with the book club members. Each book club has its own character. The members bring different life experiences, different reading preferences, and different professional lives to Chapter & Verse. That’s as it should be. It makes for lively conversation. Many of these clubs have been meeting for more than five years. They know each other well and welcome new members with open arms. Another person with opinions! How wonderful.
Each month when we have discussions, we report the results on our Chapter & Verse blog. Reading through the reports, it’s clear that the group dynamic creates a different overall feeling at each bookstore. We try to recommend books and report positive results, but it’s very clear that there are always dissenting opinions. We’ve heard people say, frequently, “I walked in here tonight not liking this book, but I’m going to go back and read it again. I heard people say things tonight that have convinced me I need to take a second look.” How cool is that?
Reading is an individual activity, yes, but discussing your reading with a group creates another lens for looking at what you read. We look forward to our book group in the same way people all over the world value theirs. We think having the opportunity, as adults, to talk about books written for the youngest kids and teen kids and in-between kids is an opportunity to cherish.
In anticipation of Monday’s announcement of the ALA/ALSC Awards, we’ll report the results from our mock discussions.
You need to know that we have four books in each category to discuss. They’re chosen because they’re among the most buzzed-about in a variety of media. Book club members are encouraged to bring in books on our meeting night that they think deserve to win the award. The four nominated books are chosen because the mix engenders good discussion.
Mock Caldecott Award Winner
Bookcase of Wayzata: Oh, No! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann
Bookstore at Fitgers: No decision
Mackin: That is Not My Hat by Jon Klaasen
Red Balloon Books: Words Set Me Free by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome
Redbery Books: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and David Small
Mock Newbery Award Winner
Bookcase of Wayzata: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Bookstore at Fitgers: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Mackin: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Red Balloon Books: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Redbery Books: The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
Mock Printz Award Winner
Bookcase of Wayzata: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Bookstore at Fitgers: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Mackin: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Red Balloon Books: The Year of the Beasts by Cecil Castellucci and Nate Powell
Redbery Books: Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick
See what I mean? It’s a good experience for all of us to understand the wide and differing needs that people have for the books they read.
And then there’s the kids. Adults have one set of expectations for the awards. Kids have another.
The Beardicott, given by the K‑5 students of The Blake Schools, at the Highcroft and Hopkins campuses, was won by Creepy Carrots! (Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown) with an honor book being Baby Bear Sees Blue (Ashley Wolff). Their teacher librarian, Paula Huddy, does not read the books to her students. She “talks the book” and then has her students seriously consider the book’s illustrations. They follow the Caldecott guidelines. They understand that text is not a part of the awards. Very important to consider what the kids themselves find valuable in the books they read.