Thursday, March 26, 2009

Peeps (or Snarks) From Readers

I'm very surprised we haven't heard an EA peep (or snark) about the Newbery / Caldecott / Printz et al from you. I thoroughly suspect that you are the editor of some of the top winnas. (or are miffed that your books *aren't* some of the top winnas). C'mon---let's hear something of your thoughts....
Ahem. As you have guessed, I have many thoughts about the books that won-- as indeed I do every year. As you've also guessed, I can't share some of those thoughts and stay anonymous. So I thought I had better not share any of them on this blog. But if anyone else has thoughts to share, please do.

11 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

No snarks...I LOVED Neil Gaimon's The Graveyard Book.

Chris Eldin said...

I also LOVED Neil Gaimon's book, but when I tried to give it to my sons to take a look at, they couldn't continue beyond the first few pages. Even with the cool title and scary book cover. The language style was prohibitive for them. And I have to say both of them are prolific (and early) readers.

So this is the third year in a row that they won't be reading a Newbery winning book.

Not sure if the girls are different, or if it's fair of me to generalize to all boys based on my own. But I do generalize some because they actually enjoy reading very much, and are looking for books to read.

So while I am happy it is a popular book because *I* liked it, I am disappointed a book that may be too difficult or challenging, thus inaccessible to large number of kids, got the nod.

I_am_Tulsa said...

I too loved Neil Gaiman's book! I also think "The House In The Night" is a beautiful book so, no snarking for me. I haven't read "Jellicoe Road" so I don't know what I feel about the Printz Award yet...but
I doubt I would want to "snark" at that either!

suzelle said...

Gaiman's writing is definitely clever, sophisticated, and engaging-perhaps too much so. I had the uncomfortable sensation that he was writing more for adults than his audience. And all the librarian gushing makes me wonder if I'm right.

I thought Savvy was the better choice. More children will identify with the characters and struggles in Savvy than in the Graveyard Book.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I was disappointed that Jellicoe road won and beat out "disreputable History" and "Nation."

Then, this week, I actually READ Jellicoe road.

I've changed my mind. Marchetta deserved the win.

Also, the blurb on the Printz site? Where it makes it sound like some sort of "Chocolate War" ripoff? Not accurate.

And I loved all the pay-offs at the end.

Definitely not a boy book, though.

That said, the last page of "Disreputable History" has really haunted me since I read it. You know, where she's sitting on the bench, watching the boys?

But I don't think I would have liked it during high school. I like it NOW, because it provides interesting insight on looking back on high school.

Of course, in High School I was reading Katherine Kurtz, Anne McCaffrey, and Merecedes Lackey-- and none of those are "Award" material. (And Pratchett... who mysteriously managed to become "Award material"... =) And the Xanth books.... which, toward the end, even Anthony started calling junk.....)

Which does raise the question-- When I was in high school, I pretty much read commercial fiction. So did my friends. So do almost all the HS kids I know now.......

So... who is the Printz award for? The students? Or the teachers?

Anonymous said...

Per Deirdre's comment above, I always get the feeling the Printz awards are way more highbrow than the average teen readers taste -- which is maybe why *I* like them so much.

I haven't read Jellicoe Road yet but I'm a little discouraged that so many people say it's confusing for the first 100 pages. I liked "Frankie," I just thought it read a little old-fashioned, like it should've been set in the 60's or something. The writting was nice, but I suppose I never really got what the big deal was about wanting to be in the boys club. They didn't do anything but have stupid so-called parties at the golf course, why was it such a burning need to dupe them? I'm still scrathing my head...

dawtheminstrel said...

I liked SAVVY a lot. The voice is fresh, and I also liked the way Law used "savvy" as a metaphor for everyone's unique way of functioning in this world.

Carlie Webber said...

Quoting Deirdre Mundy:
So... who is the Printz award for? The students? Or the teachers?

Neither. It's for the author. The Printz is given to a book that teens may enjoy, but popularity is not a consideration. Nor is message.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Carlie - Well, yes. But my point was that, like the Newberry, the Printz books, while really excellent, are also unlikely to appeal to most YAs.

For instance, I'd feel comfortable recommending Jellicoe Road to my non-YA-reading friends who tend toward 'book club' books.

And "The Disreputable History" really had the feel of an adult looking back on their high school motivations, rather than experiencing them. (Maybe that's just me, though...)

One thing about "Disreputable", btw-- I saw some complaints on-line that Frankie's budding feminism seemed preachy and forced.... BUT.... at least at my school, that WAS how we talked when we first discovered feminism. So that struck me as totally real.

So did the wanting to join the boys only club. Does a high school kid really need any other motivation than "It's exclusive and I'm excluded?"

But there were a couple of points, especially near the end, where Frankie's thoughts/actions really struck me as unrealistic--someone looking misty-eyed from middle age.

Especially her reaction ***SPOILER***

To the break up with whats-his-name (the golden boy). The total lack of bitterness, the feeling that the Basset Hounds frolicking were somehow beautiful, that seemed off for a teen.

*******
But as an adult, I totally enjoyed it. So my question was really:

"Are the awards useful to the students, who are looking for a good book to spend their Saturday with, or are they aimed at the teachers, who are looking for high-quality books with teen protraganists to TEACH."

Of course, the author is being rewarded, but part of an award is recognition and drawing attention to something. So what I really was wondering is, "Who's attention are they trying to draw?"

There's nothing wrong with that. I mean, there are all sorts of 'teen choice' awards for the Twighlights and Meg Cabots of the world, and kids know about the popular stuff anyway.

And some kids might pay attention to awards. After all, as a teen I paid attention to the Hugo and Nebula........

Anonymous said...

hmm hmm hmmm....so you really *are* Mme. Liberty....leading her peoples.

Just as I suspected.

mmmwah!

Del

Angela said...

Like The Underneath way better than The Graveyard Book.