Thursday, January 6, 2011

It’s almost Newbery time! GET EXCITED!

The awarding of the 2011 Newbery Medal and Newbery Honors approacheth!  It’s less than a week till the big announcement on Monday morning, January 10th, during ALA’s Midwinter Conference in San Diego.  Here are some Newbery-centric links to get you through that excruciatingly long wait for the big day.

Remember those Hostess commercials where an animal would try to bite into something, discover that it’s a truck or a snowboard, and shout, “Hey!  Where’s the cream filling?”  Well, sometimes a book cover has sort of the reverse effect.  Sometimes a book cover is just too boring, or too odd, or too 80s or 90s, or otherwise too possessive of some quality that makes you say, “Hey!  There’s no cream filling in there!”  Or something like that.  Well, librarian Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes is attempting a solution for Newberies suffering this affliction.  He is systematically creating a new cover for each Newbery Medal Winner, and so far his results are updated, attractive, and much more interesting.  Click to find The Story of Mankind (1922), The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle (1923), The Dark Frigate (1924), Tales from Silver Lands (1925), and Shen of the Sea (1926).  Now that’s the stuff!

Hey!  Are you a librarian with lots of money?  Well, I hate to break it to you, but you don't exist.  But if you’re a librarian with at least a little money, you could take this ALA Online Learning course provocatively titled “The Newbery Medal: Past, Present, and Future.”  Oooh, I am tempted!  Starting February 7 and ending March 18, this course will provide you with all sorts of cool Newbery knowledge and skills.  Being neither a librarian nor in possession of very much money, I am jealous.

Here’s a 17-minute video put together waaaaay back in 2000 by librarian Mona Kerby and the International Reading Association called “The Newbery Award Video.”  It’s hosted by the late Lloyd Alexander and it’s totally worth watching just for the featured authors and their experiences writing Newbery-winning books.  

Part 1 features sage advice from Sharon Creech, a brief Abraham Lincoln montage, and some distractingly long fingernails.   

Part 2 has an adorable boy introducing the book Joyful Noise, some interesting green screen consequences arising from an unfortunately striped throw pillow, and a fascinating book talk that leaves out the title (I believe that sentence is from Belle Prater’s Boy). 

Two interesting views on the demographics of the Newbery:  on the Publisher’s Weekly blog ShelfTalker, Elizabeth Bluemle takes a look at the “Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz by Gender.”  She finds that 55 women have won 59 Medals, while 27 men have won 28.  147 women have won 197 Honors, while 65 men have won 87.  Woohoo, looks like things are working in my favor here!  Sorry, dudes.  Maybe you should get into art:  looks like the results are the opposite for the Caldecott.  Meanwhile, at DisabilityScoop, Michelle Diament tells us that a study has found that between 1975 and 2009, out of 131 Newbery Medal and Honor winners, “just 31 included a main or supporting character with a disability,” and that this does not represent the real-life rate of children with disabilities.

Fear the Cube of Trials.  As you can see here, in a 2009 test, it picked the same Newbery Medalist for that year—Neil Gaiman—as the actual Newbery committee did.  And it looks far more entertaining than sitting in a conference room for hours on end dissecting dozens of books.  Librarians, I ask you:  would you rather sit in a conference room for hours on end, or get tagged in by a distinguished author to wrestle one of your colleagues?  Plus, imagine how fun Cube Newbery predictions will be, when instead of reading and discussing all the books published in a year, we can debate the authors’ thumb strength, running-around-the-room speed, or relative handsomeness.  We could hold a Mock Block Newbery!  Ouch, that was bad.  Pretend you didn't just read that, and watch James Kennedy’s video.

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