A critical season: with the spotlight on book prices, let’s defend the right to read

Overall, awards season will celebrate the honored books and their creators. Yet such a high-profile occasion offers a unique opportunity to also celebrate and honor the right of children and adolescents to read and access content.

On the 100th anniversary of the Newbery Medal, we turned to our readers, hoping for some feedback.

When we asked them in a recent poll to describe the Newbery in one word, their responses were comprehensive. There were “prestigious” and “distinguished”, “incomplete”, “broken” and even “meh”.

In the centenary year of the prize honoring the best of American children’s literature, “the Newbery medal is as popular and controversial as ever,” Steven Engelfried and Emily Mroczek-Bayci conclude on the air (see “Testing the Medal ”).

An anniversary is inherently a time for deeper reflection as well as recognition, and this one comes at a special time.

The book ban efforts have become a nationally coordinated movement. And libraries – school and, increasingly, public – have been targeted alongside titles deemed “inappropriate” to combat racism or simply race, featuring LGBTQIA + themes or characters of color … it’s hard to know. where it will end. But probably not anytime soon.

Meanwhile, the Newbery, given its tenure and enduring status in wider culture – as part of the Youth Media Awards presented by the American Library Association each January – holds a special position. Capturing the attention of the national media like no other award of its kind, the Newbery remains a unique and public marquee of children’s books.

Overall, awards season will celebrate the honored books and their creators. Yet such a high-profile occasion offers a unique opportunity to also celebrate and honor the right of children and adolescents to read and access content.

The big one 1-0-0

To mark Newbery’s centenary, we look back and look to the future.

To begin with, there is a timeline; you can’t do 100 around here without one. We asked and the inimitable Betsy Bird answered the call to organize the timeline. See his highlights of the evolution of the Newbery so far.

Speaking of change, readers have ideas for the Newbery. With regard to the criteria and the process, the designated age range for eligible books (currently up to and including 14 years) has undergone particular scrutiny. “It’s hard to reward a book in such a wide development range! Wrote one respondent, who sums up the sentiment of readers at all levels. (See their proposed actions.)

“The Newbery may not be as valuable as everyone in our world considers it to be,” said Edith Campbell, associate education librarian at Cunningham Memorial Library, Indiana State University, in a discussion she moderated. in September for the Association for Library Service à Enfants, which administers the Newbery Medal. “Some of us value it so much that it sometimes feels like we often expect the committee to do nothing wrong.”

In a conversation spanning literary merit, problematic award-winning titles, and the need to diversify award committees, the panel looked at Newbery’s legacy.

In charting the future of this legendary honor, Megan Schliesman, librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, “I think it starts with an openness to think creatively to change the way things have always been done. “


Source link

Comments are closed.