Monday, March 19, 2007

Newbery/Caldecott Criteria

A Fuse #8 Production has posted about some potential changes to the Newbery/ Caldecott Criteria, as reported in the School Library Journal.

Go and read the whole thing. What I find interesting: opening up the Newbery & Caldecott beyond American citizens or residents. Which the Printz already does. So, while Fuse mentions a potential "too many books, too little time" problem if the N / Cs are open beyond US authors, it's something that the Printz authors have not had a problem with. So I say, make the change!

I almost agree with a second point that Fuse champions: in light of the Printz, why keep the Newbery at 0 to 14? Why not change to 0 to 12? It seems those books published for kids between the ages of 12 and 14 get two bites at the apple (as long as they are US citizens or residents.) These middle school books are tricky.... are they really Newbery? Or Printz? Without the higher age in the Newbery, would a gem like Hattie Big Sky be overlooked? I look at the age range of the past Printz winners and Honor Books and wonder.

My last point is graphic novels. If Newbery is just about text, and Caldecott just about pictures, then the graphic novel as a format will continue to be shut out from both of these awards. So if they are considering changes, I hope that is one change they ponder!

What do you think? Head over to Fuse's post and share your thoughts.


fusenumber8 said...

Actually, a co-worker of mine had a really good point about the Printz today. Consider, if you will, the fact that there are far fewer halfway decent YA novels out there when compared to children's younger and middle grade titles. The Printz committee has a MUCH easier time of it when you take that into account. The sheer volume of children's books vs. teen titles shows that there really is no comparison. So bringing up the Printz, while valid, isn't entirely fair.

Your point about whether middle grade novels might be overlooked by the Printz is incredibly valid. Maybe they would be. I'm just tired of books for teens winning the biggest children's award we have. Then again, we don't want to create some kind of Middle Grade Award, so there's probably no easy solution.

Liz B said...

Ha, I was wondering if someone would poke a hole in that balloon by using actual, you know, facts. (I wonder... is there a place where we can go to know how many books were actually read by the respective committees?) And, arguably, if you remove the 12 to 14 books, would that somehow "balance" the whole thing?

The middle grade books being overlooked by Printz; I'm just very afraid this is already happening, but arguably removing them from Newbery would increase the pressure on the Printz to not just look at older "almost adult" crossover books as the definition of "literary".

And WORD on not adding yet another award.

Unknown said...

There's another problem with comparing the Printz and the ALSC awards in this way. Publishers can submit their own titles for consideration for the ALSC awards, but the Printz criteria clearly says, "Publishers, authors, or editors may not nominate their own titles." That means that the Newbery and Caldecott committees are, I assume, swamped with submissions from publishers, whereas the Printz nominations are limited to only those that someone else thought worthy of consideration. It probably makes a huge difference in the number of titles that the committees have to consider.