Yesterday, after a busy Sunday shift at work I participated in my second favorite thing about being a children's librarian, book discussion with other librarians. We gathered over food and drink to discuss books in the Newbery, Caldecott and Sibert style. Being the first mock award event I've ever attended (and having yet to get to that stage of the process for the actual award committee I'm on) I wasn't quite sure what to expect.
What a blast! We started with an ice breaker, guessing which year (or decade) past Caldecott winners were from. Then the host, Miss Pea from over at Purled Pouches and Things Unstrung, read aloud the voting system used by another mock awards discussion group, followed by a discussion of the criteria for each award.
We started with our Newbery selections. Initially Hugo Cabret was the clear front runner, but a fairly quick conversation eliminated it as not meeting the requirements for the award. Each round of anonymous voting was surprising, both in the votes that changed and those that didn't. Conversations were both thoughtful and passionate, and likely could have lasted twice as long.
The Caldecott and Sibert discussions were much quicker, as not only was the group in more agreement, but the hour was growing late.
Discussing books in this manner is so much different than the day to day conversations in the childrens office, which generally go something like this:
"Did you see this book?"
"Yes, isn't it fantastic. The third graders will love it!"
I think a regular book discussion group may develop from this. In the meantime we wait with baited breath for the 2008 award announcements. Did we pick books that are destined to win or will something I've never even heard of win again?
Our choices were:
Elijah of Buxton by Chrostopher Paul Curtis
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Amy Laura Schlitz
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Pssst! by Adam Rex
Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson ill. by Loren Long
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offil ill. by Nancy Carpenter
Tracking Trash: flotsam, jetsam and the science of ocean motion by Loree Griffin Burns