Why We Do What We Do
Now that we are rolling, I want to take a moment to say that this will be my last season on Heavy Medal. I started it in 2008 with my colleague Sharon McKellar (Jonathan joined in 2009), but we’d been blogging about our Mock Newbery discussions a couple years before that, and I’ve been holding Mock Newbery discussions since 2003. Long enough!
The point of this blog for me has always been to encourage robust discussion about literature for children, with an eye towards the Newbery criteria, but not with the criteria as an end in themselves; rather to encourage fine writing for children, and not to settle for only what adults want for kids, or what adults find supports their own nostalgia about childhood. Kids, all of kinds, deserve as varied and remarkable writing for themselves as we do.
Many of you have already seen a new blog to which I’m contributing, Reading While White. Though my decision to wrap up here was long settled before Reading While White was spawned, I’m glad to be able to continue to further discussions of excellence in children’s literature in directions I think need our utmost attention today.
I was lucky enough to come to this profession through ACL (The Association of Children’s Librarians of Northern California) and the CCBC (Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Madison WI), both of which nurture the kind of examination of children’s books that we try to model here. I recognize that this blog is hard to read for many authors and those who work closely with them on their work, but there has to be a place for honest critical examination of children’s literature, and I’ve tried to make this one of them. The hope has always been that commenters on this blog are making others, and making the discussion accessible to those who have something new to add. So thanks: I know you are.
ACL will be continuing the Oakland mock award discussions, and this blog isn’t going anywhere, so stay tuned. I’m looking forward in particular to completing this season with you all, knowing that I’ve said most of what I have to say about the Newbery here, and looking forward to listening to and learning from others.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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