Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
This blog may be as divided as our nation is when it comes to this book, but I gave MS. BIXBY’S LAST DAY a read and it just doesn’t rise to the top for me. Don’t get me wrong, I like this book very much, but it doesn’t scream Newbery to me. It is the writing itself, perhaps, that doesn’t knock me off my feet.
Unlike Facebook posts trying to sway my choice for this presidential election, I am willing to be swayed by your keen discussion. So, let’s play Mock Newbery here. Tonight, instead of biting your fingernails to the quick while starting at the television or computer, why don’t you take some time to tell me, in the comments, what about this book would make it a Newbery choice for you.
When writing their nominations, members of the committee are tasked with writing justifications of their picks. From the manual, “The written justifications serve as preparation for oral discussion at Midwinter and provide practice in stating clearly and succinctly your ideas about books that seem distinguished.” Clearly, you don’t need to write a formal nomination here, but it might be fun for us to practice defending a book along the lines of the below criteria. And if you disagree with a comment, let’s talk that through with the following in mind as well. I promise to join in!
Distinguished is defined as:
- Marked by eminence and distinction; noted for significant achievement.
- Marked by excellence in quality.
- Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence.
- Individually distinct.
And in identifying “distinguished contribution to American literature,” defined as text, in a book for children, committee members need to consider the following:
- Interpretation of the theme or concept
- Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
- Development of a plot
- Delineation of characters
- Delineation of a setting
- Appropriateness of style.
Also, committee members must consider excellence of presentation for a child audience.
You can find more Terms & Criteria in the manual, available on the ALSC website.
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About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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