Monday, April 20, 2009

Peeled Won a Newbery Honor? Really?

The Wall Street Journal's Scary Green Monsters raises good questions about when books veer into propaganda.

Too bad the author is a bit confusing about Joan Bauer: "Joan Bauer's "Peeled" (Putnam, 2008) won a Newbery Honor and hordes of young adult readers with its lively tale of a courageous teenage journalist who manages to outfox corporate interests that are trying to bamboozle a small apple-growing town." I triple checked; Peeled isn't on the list of Newbery Winners and Honors.

Bauer did get a Newbery Honor, but that was in 2001 for Hope Was Here.

Looks like the Wall Street Journal shouldn't have let go their librarian.

Edited to add:

This language is also in the print edition of the WSJ. See this post at Look Out for the Polar Bears for an image.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is...anyone (especially any woman with child(ren)) can write about children's literature; children's literature doesn't deserve basic fact-checking; or fact-checking is an illusion and the only difference between blogs and main street media is.... um, I can get this answer... they have a print edition?

Edited to add: WSJ Corrects Error

© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy


Durable Goods said...

I normally have liked Joan Bauer's work, but Peeled left me less than excited. I can't imagine that it would have won any award, honestly, and certainly not a Newbery Honor.

Liz B said...

Even giving the author of the essay the benefit of the doubt (she meant honor award winning author), did you also catch the "hordes of young adult readers"? I'm real curious as to the source of her numbers for those readers.

Sarah Rettger said...

Thanks, Liz, for being a just a bit more tenacious than me! I didn't think the mention of Peeled sounded right, but I also didn't bother to check it out. (In my defense, I was at work when I read the article, trying to, you know, do work stuff.)

Jennie said...

I read this article in the print edition this weekend. It was really... ranty.

Also, children's lit has been *full* of moral life lessons that adults think it important for kids to learn since... forever. Can she really be a big reader of kidlit and still be so surprised at this latest trend?

On one hand I get where she's coming from, as a child I did some of the same things the kids she mentions in the article did in attempts to save the world. On the other hand, that was 20 years ago.

Liz B said...

My current favorite about "moral lessons in books" are those works of fiction that still use the initial Columbine myths (bullied loners). So I kinda get what she is saying, even if I don't necessarily agree about it book by book. And obviously, her misuse/reliance on Peeled weakens the rant.

And yeah -- this stuff has been aimed at kids for ages and ages. It's not new. And kids being very black/white in how they handle this information, also, not new.

tanita✿davis said...

Wow - a quick visit to the ALA website would have given her some much-needed help in this. Hm. I know they got rid of their librarian, but you'd think a writer would know better...

Liz B said...

I just checked and this error still isn't corrected. I sent an email to the WSJ; we'll see if they see it significant enough to correct.