Thinking about the Newberys

Anita Silvey’s article about the Newbery Awards in School Library Journal asks

“Are children, librarians, and other book lovers still rushing to read the latest Newbery winners? Or has the most prestigious award in children’s literature lost some of its luster?”

The issue isn’t new. Back when I was a Children’s Librarian, I remember a kid who came in looking for something to read for a book report who loudly declared, “Don’t give me any of those books with that gold thing on the cover!” And he added that those books provide a disappointing reading experience — that’s a paraphrase. A few other kids jumped in with their agreement, citing a number of truly awful books they had been forced to read by teachers, all because of “those gold things!” It made me want to rip the gold seals off all my Newberys. One girl said, “Some of the books with the silver thing are OK, though,” which made me feel better. I thought it was interesting how aware the kids were of these seals of approval, and how free they felt to express their own dissenting opinions.

Has the Newbery Lost Its Way? “Snubbed by kids, disappointing to librarians, the recent winners have few fans”
Anita Silvey — School Library Journal, 10/1/2008