The Post Award Aftermath - 10 Marge Truths

Post ALA youth media awards scuttlebutt is ever and always the same - as are my reactions.

People swoon.  People go nuclear. People swear and threaten (they clearly have had bad days for other reasons). People cheer. People go bat-shit crazy ("I knew it all along and finally everyone agrees with my superior book sense". Yeah, right...let me run and get you that mirror, oh self-regarding one). People sincerely thank the committee members. People bemoan a favorite frozen out. People question books they haven't heard of or haven't purchased. People dance. People have 20-20 hindsight or claim prescience. People insist the committee members are uncaring; nuts or craven. People sigh over how unpopular the winners or honorees will be with kids. People glow in agreement.

I'm going to tell you all what I think and know and how I react...my ten truths as it were.

1. The committee people work carefully, hard, diligently and conscienctiously.

2. There is never a moment during the year they serve that they don't take their charge extremely seriously.

3. No matter how widely and much you've read, you have NOT- and I repeat - NOT read the books like committee members have.

4. No matter how much you've discussed, tweeted or blogged about these books, you have NOT - and I repeat - NOT discussed them in the depth and defended and advocated them at the level the award committees have.

4.5 (Ok, Ok I was so hot on this topic I lost count. Dyslexia strikes again) These awards are not for mad or even mild popularity - they are for quality literature for youth. Believe me, without awards like these we'd mostly have Barbie, fart and Star Wars books. Period.

5. Book creators truly care about being recognized for quality work. Here is Tammy Pierce's reaction. Here is Peter Brown's. I still keep in touch with a couple of book creators from my award committee years and each has said how much the honor or award changed their life and career. These.awards.matter.

6. If a book is honored that comes out of left field, by the goddesses, I am happy to find it, buy it for the public, read it and promote it. What is better than discovering something new and amazing?

7. I am proud of ALA and all the youth divisions for celebrating quality literature for youth. It makes my job easier and opens up the possibilities for kids and teens of having an amazing read.

8. I want everyone to have an award committee experience. It is amazing. But you must join ALA and one of the youth divisions - plus it would be great if you served on many committees and not just award committees. Share your talents.

9. I am inordinately proud of every award committee member and thankful to their families and libraries for supporting them during a very busy, very tough year.

10. They done good.

I seldom refer so quickly again to a post but I will re-point you again to Monica Edinger's post in the Nerdy Book Club in which she helps readers understand the enormity of what committee members do. Read it again and some of these Marge-truths will make sense.

February 1. Plus this blog post by Kelly over at Stacked also gives you a little what-for and additional information.

Image: 'Sad'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/8830697@N08/5601369995 Found on flickrcc.net


  1. Your 4.5 point reminded me there was a great article in the June 2012 issue of VOYA about committee work for the Printz award!

    I'd also like to plug getting involved at your state level, too, for awards! Then you're primed and ready to go at the national level.

    1. Yes, exactly. WOrk on a local level and state level to hone those skills!

  2. FWIW: My definition of “distinguished” children’s literature -- http://bit.ly/PPWTHL

  3. Thank you Marge for these thoughts and helping to dispel many misunderstandings about the awards and awaards process.

  4. Thanks for this Marge!! What a great post!

    1. Oops, sorry for the seeming "evil" delete below. It was a repeat of this comment that slipped through. Not being mean to our GreenBeanTeenQueen,

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. You're welcome, you guys. I jsut don't think this can be stressed enough. And if people want a different award that stresses popularity - then propose and advocate for it. Don't try to twist something that "is what it is" into something it's not!