Did you start reading blogs because you wanted more, more, more about children's books and the people you know in "real life" think there's something off about someone who doesn't challenge themselves to read "real" books?
Did you start because you were tired of people saying it was "cute" how you took these books so seriously?
Did you at first think, "I'm the only adult rediscovering children's books, this is something new" and are just now realizing there is a vibrant community centered on children's books that includes everything from Ph.D. programs and serious, critical study to review journals to teachers and librarians to blogs?
If part of the reason you're reading, and blogging, about children's books is that you want to discuss what you've read in detail, then you should be reading Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog at School Library Journal.
The two bloggers at Heavy Medal are Jonathan Hunt, a teacher and librarian, who "reviews for the Horn Book Magazine and has judged the Newbery Medal, the Printz Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards;" and Nina Lindsay,
librarian, who has been "Chair for both the Newbery and the Sibert award committees, and reviews for School Library Journal as well as BayViews, Horn Book Magazine, and Kirkus."
Read Heavy Medal if you are curious about what may win the Newbery; if you like watching two smart, articulate, people people discuss books; and if you want to join in on that conversation via comments.
Other bloggers discuss these matters, other blogs are about the Newbery or mock Newbery. Does it make a difference when the conversation is started by two people who have participated in the process? Hell to the yes.
Now, I'm not one of those who sniff and say snobbily, "if you haven't participated, you just don't understand, and you cannot comment or criticize or question or join in." What I love about the blogosphere (and what the FTC cannot comprehend) is that it allows people who are not privileged (by money, geography, profession, etc.) to participate in and contribute to and be part of the book world. There is no "but you don't live in NYC/ don't go to conferences/ don't have a PhD/MLS/MFA." Rather, people read your blog (and your comments elsewhere) and judge you on the content. Which is kind of scary, actually. And there is a risk to this, which is something we've all seen; but the price to pay for that great, insightful blog is the five done by those who are talking without listening or participating or researching.
So, I'm not a snob. But -- the ALA Award process is unique and incredibly time consuming, with service in an award committee like the Newbery covering a long time period dedicated to a specified focus and is intense. So, yes, those who have been involved in it do bring a unique view that is well worth reading. Add the seasonal Heavy Medal blog to your "must read" bloggers list.
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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
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