Sunday, March 09, 2008

Printz: Criteria

Moving right along, it's time for a Printz policies and procedures post.

Criteria, taken from the YALSA website:


What is quality? We know what it is not. We hope the award will have a wide AUDIENCE among readers from 12 to 18 but POPULARITY is not the criterion for this award. Nor is MESSAGE. In accordance with the Library Bill of Rights, CONTROVERSY is not something to avoid. In fact, we want a book that readers will talk about.

Librarianship focuses on individuals, in all their diversity, and that focus is a fundamental value of the Young Adult Library Services Association and its members. Diversity is, thus, honored in the Association and in the collections and services that libraries provide to young adults.

The book should be self-contained, not dependent on other media for its meaning or pleasure. The book should not be considered in terms of other works by the author but as complete in itself.

Having established what the award is not, it is far harder to formulate what it is. As every reader knows, a great book can redefine what we mean by quality. Criteria change with time. Therefore, flexibility and an avoidance of the too-rigid are essential components of these criteria (some examples of too-rigid criteria: A realistic hope - well, what about Robert Cormier's Chocolate War or Brock Coles' The Facts Speak for Themselves? Avoiding complicated plot - what about Louis Sachar's Holes? Originality - what about all the mythic themes that are continually re-worked? We can all think of other great books that don't fit those criteria.)

What we are looking for, in short, is literary excellence.

All forms of writing B fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and any combination of these, including anthologies B are eligible.

The following criteria are only suggested guidelines and should in no way be considered as absolutes. They will always be open to change and adaptation. Depending on the book, one or more of these criteria will apply:

Story Voice Style
Setting Accuracy Characters
Theme Illustration Design (including format, organization, etc.)

For each book the questions and answers will be different, the weight of the various criteria will be different.

The ALA press release announcing the winner should stipulate why the title has been chosen for its literary excellence.
And now, back to Liz. I'm not sure why the "B" is showing up above instead of a dash; maybe my browser? And I still am incapable of figuring out tabbing in html, hence the "criteria" being way too grouped together.

I find it rather interesting that they use the names of books here.


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