How does a book Win? Part 1: Nominations
I’m going to end this year with a post that gets a little bit into process. I know this will be review for a lot of you, but it’s nice to talk about and a reminder is always good! So, how does a winner get picked? And what about honor books? What has the committee been up to lately and what will be they be doing at the Midwinter Meetings in just a couple of weeks?
Let’s start with nominations.
Throughout the year, as we know, the Newbery Committee has been reading and reading and re-reading eligible titles. Over the last couple of months of the year, the committee members will nominate seven titles each in three rounds. During the first round, three titles are nominated then two more in each of the next two rounds. These nominations will include a write-up of why the nominator thinks the book is worthy of consideration, applying the Newbery criteria to the title. All nominated books are up for discussion at the Midwinter conference and books that are not nominated are off the table under most circumstances.
With 15 committee members and seven nominations, the committee could be looking at, discussing, debating, and maybe voting on upwards of 100 books over the course of a couple of days! Of course the same title is often nominated more than once, so that number may be smaller.
Nominations can be strategic. A member might choose to nominate a title to make sure it is on the table even if it isn’t one of their top seven picks if they feel it is worth discussion. This makes sense especially if a member knows their top picks are likely to be nominated by others (or already have been). Every member has the freedom to nominate as they see fit.
When Jonathan and I announced our short list it was a mock of a much larger discussion list that the real committee will be using. We also try to write blog posts that demonstrate what a nomination might look like. I know you’ve already commented on our short list over here, and shared some of your mock lists. What, though, if you weren’t trying to build a perfect mock discussion that had books of different types for different ages that are particularly fun to compare. What if, instead, you were tasked, like the real committee, to just nominate the seven you most want to talk about and that you feel are the most distinguished. What would your nominations be for?
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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 email@example.com.
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