The morning that the ALSC/YALSA Youth Media Awards are announced is one of my favorite days of the year! In past years, I’ve watched the streaming video and enjoyed it immensely. But this year was even more fun being there in person, hearing the cheers for my committee’s picks. SO MUCH FUN!
I have to say that I am very proud of the work the Geisel Committee did this year! It’s really odd to be on a committee with such a short history–this was only its fifth year. But that was also a cool thing, because it made you examine very carefully what the criteria for the award were, what fit, and what didn’t. I learned a lot about how children learn to read and what gets in their way.
We picked another Elephant & Piggie book for the gold medal. It’s the nature of easy readers that every once in awhile, a very strong series comes along and magically hooks kids into reading, and we are privileged to be living in the time when Elephant & Piggie does just that. Our Honor books make a very nicely rounded group of books: A picture book (One Boy), a nonfiction book (Wolfsnail), a very traditional easy reader (Chicken Said “Cluck!”, and a graphic novel (Stinky). And yet I can assure you that balancing the honor books was not part of the criteria–we just picked the books that we thought worked the best on every level for new readers.
Calling the authors was fun too! One author had never heard of the award, but was pleased nonetheless. Mo Willems of course HAD heard of the award, and made this charming and funny response, date-stamped because he (and Trixie) were sworn to secrecy until the awards were announced.
Being on a committee like this is a ton of work, and incredibly rewarding. I highly recommend joining ALSC, filling in those volunteer forms, and attending conferences. It enriches you personally and professionally, and it enriches the library you represent, too.