So many wonderful blogs, written by thoughtful, insightful, people, bringing out all sorts of interesting points about books for children and young adults. I love them, and the best of them model the respectful analysis that excellent books deserve.
But those same people are the very ones who used to spark intelligent conversation about books in a larger forum–child_lit, adbooks, yalsa-bk, CCBC, and others. No one could possibly argue that people shouldn’t exercise their critical and literary muscles in whatever form they choose. But if we don’t find a way to lure those bright, interesting people into continuing to add their thoughts and participation to the listserv communities instead of trying to lure people to each individual blog, we lose something as a group.
Likewise, when each year brings a new children’s or young adult prize, that’s a great thing. It means that a group of judges focus on some particular thing, such as nonfiction for young adults, and with their expertise can weigh apples to apples and come up with a great result. But I think realistically speaking, it also means that the value of the big prizes becomes diluted. I love the book awards, and I can’t keep track of them all anymore. The groups who award prizes also begin scrambling a little for turf, and start trying to make each prize a little narrower, a little more specific….and a little less grand.
It just feels like everything is becoming increasingly fragmented. I guess that is the opposite of having things controlled by a small group, which is almost surely a good thing, but I wish we could work toward making sure the conversations don’t all split off, either virtually or at conference, into dozens of tiny rooms without coming back together somewhere, sometimes.