ALSC Notables List
The ALSC Notables list is up…currently in a “final uncorrected” status.
From the webpage:
Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children’s books. According to the Notables Criteria, “notable” is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children’s books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children’s interests in exemplary ways.
According to ALSC policy, the current year’s Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, Sibert, Geisel, and Batchelder Award and Honor books automatically are added to the Notable Children’s Books list.
Though it seems straightforward, that last note is quite important to consider. One school of thought is: How can the ALSC Award books not be Notable? On the other hand…the Notable criteria are different than any of those other criteria. Still, I do think that for the public perception, it makes the most sense to include them. The Notables committee waits until after the award announcements, therefore, to do their final voting. For details, check out page 18 of the manual… the upshot is that a title must be voted as “Notable” by 6 (out of 11) members to make it on the list.
The Notables list might seem “lost in the crush” in the season of award announcements, but I think that it in some ways it holds a more important place for historical perspective on children’s literature. The Notables list seems to have the right volume and scope for scholarly surveys of a certain period of literature. I use it as a collection development tool when I’m trying to build core replacement lists for a certain area of my collection. (For instance, when I want to do a refresh of my picture books, I use recent high-demand lists, classics lists…and the last 10 years of Notables.)
There on the list today you’ll see many of the titles you’ve all appreciated here: CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG; NINTH WARD; A TALE DARK AND GRIMM; COUNTDOWN; KKK; UBIQUITOUS; MIRROR, MIRROR. There’s also a few more heartbreaks for some of us… mine, of course, is the lack of KNEEBONE BOY. I’m most surprised though by the lack of KEEPER. Also not on here, from our Mock Newbery shortlist: FORGE, SUGAR, and SIR CHARLIE. I understand most of these… KNEEBONE and SUGAR are divisive enough they may just not have been able to get the votes. SIR CHARLIE, while it has “venturesome creativity”, is also problematic. And FORGE might not be “notable” enough. I’m really just very surprised about KEEPER. I heard the discussion on it, and don’t recall anyone raising great concerns. Maybe it just didn’t rise enough in enough committee members’ estimation.
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About Nina Lindsay
Nina Lindsay is the Children's Services Coordinator at the Oakland Public Library, CA. She chaired the 2008 Newbery Committee, and served on the 2004 and 1998 committees. You can reach her at email@example.com
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