Children’s Book Awards: Love Them or Hate Them?

BookendsLynn and Cindy: ‘Tis the season! No, we don’t mean Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or even New Year’s. It’s the season of awards and award speculation. Most publications’ year-end lists are already in, and now the next big event is only days away. ALA Midwinter 2016 is early this year and the points and counterpoints are already being debated by the sidewalk superintendents. The folks who really count, the committee members, begin their official deliberations January 8.

We have been lucky enough to serve on several award committees and we love the lead-in to the big announcements, even if one of us (that would be the cranky Lynn) is feeling a bit disenchanted by some of the commentary. Still, those Jan. 11 ALA Youth Media Awards are an important event in so many ways.

But, wait! ARE awards like these important? Who are they really for? Do they serve young readers in a substantive way or it this just a game adults play? Do the awards serve young people’s literature in the largest sense or do they just give bloggers and critics something to talk about? Do they highlight some books to the detriment of others? Do your readers look for the shiny stickers, or do they avoid them when they are browsing? Which award is your favorite? Are there changes to award criteria that you would like to see? We know there are diverse opinions out there and we want to hear them.

What do YOU think?  Let us know!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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