January 23, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Well, here we come to the end.  The book awards will be announced soon.  Many have weighed in on the possible picksBack in November I threw out the idea of giving up on awards altogether.  I was mostly playing devil's advocate to see what kind of defense would be put up.  Kiri8 over at Elbows, Knees, Dreams had a god one: "I like teaching a room full of four-year-olds to recognize Caldecott medals, and to hear them exclaim, "Cow-di-cot!" when they see one on a book I'm holding.

No argument with that!

But Roger Stutton reminded me that the best thing about any awards is the arguments they start. Ok, sir!  I bow to your expertise!  And I quoted him on this before, but it's good to keep in mind:

"...just because a book has won an award does not mean it is the right book for any one particular child. Maurice Sendak tells a funny story about encountering a mother who proudly told him that she read his Where the Wild Things Are every night to her child despite the fact that the girl screamed in fear every time. When Sendak asked her why she didn’t choose a different book, she replied, 'But this one won the Caldecott Medal.' Members of award committees read widely and well but, in the case of the Newbery and Caldecott awards, are charged with rewarding aesthetic achievement rather than predicting popular appeal. They also lack ESP and thus don’t know about your child’s interests, abilities, or idiosyncrasies... Prizes are designed to call attention to good books, but as the wise Nora Ephron once wrote, 'Even if it is good you do not have to like it.' That’s a maxim to remember both for your own and your child’s reading."

(top image CC Vimages)