Heavy Medal Finalist – All’s Faire in Middle School
I’ve been a strong supporter of ALL’S FAIRE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL from the start. I found the plot more compelling, emotionally, than that of REAL FRIENDS, our other graphic novel on the list, although I think that I may be in the minority there.
Among the things I found especially strong about this title is the relationship between Imogene and her brother. When he stops speaking to her, she is forced to face the consequences of taking out her pain on someone even more vulnerable than she is, and I appreciated that this wasn’t resolved easily or immediately.
The setting is fun, unique, delightful, and perfectly suited to tell this character’s story.
I would argue that when, as the Newbery Manaul dictactes, we are making our decision primarily based on text, this is a text worth consideration. Even moreso, if we are going to consider this title as potentially doing the best at what it sets out to do, I think it does. This is the absolute right format for this story, and how we consider the format is a complicated and exciting (and obviously ongoing – year after year) discussion. I still struggle with the best way to talk about graphic novels against Newbery criteria, and yet I feel strongly that we should and that they deserve fair due.
When there was talk about creating a separate medal for graphic novels, I was amongst those who felt that was unecessary because we already have such an award. We have the Caldecott to award illustration and we have the Newbery to honor literature. And the last years have shown that Newbery Committees have found ways to do just this.
Filed under: Book Discussion
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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