Yesterday was a big day. The Saturday of ALA Midwinter is when the youth award groups make their decisions. After a year of reading/viewing/listening to submissions, it is time to make a final choice. Some committees (the ones with fewer to submissions to judge) finish early–mine was done by 4:00. Some may have continued discussing and voting until midnight. But today, the decisions have been made.
Tomorrow will be a big day. The Monday of ALA Midwinter is when the youth awards are announced. Right before the awards begin, authors and publishers of the Newbery, Caldecott, and other big awards get the big phone call, and then the prizes are announced at the convention, usually with a huge, vocal audience. You’ll be able to watch it here, if you log in a little earlier than the start time of 8am Pacific Time.
Today is the day between big days, when everyone on the committees knows their winner but are sworn to secrecy. If you meet up with someone on a popular award like the Newbery, they will probably announce immediately, “Don’t even ask!” I can’t say that I get a lot of people trying to pry information out of me about the Carnegie Medal for Best Children’s DVD, but I couldn’t tell them if they tried. It’s an odd sort of twilight time, where the work has finished but the celebration can’t yet begin. And yet it’s a sweet feeling, too, especially when you are on a committee that does a great deal of work to prepare.
So yesterday was the big day, and tomorrow is the big day, and today is…the day between big days…for everyone except the Notable Book committees, who soldier on while everyone else gets to play.