Monday, March 26, 2007

Mock Newbery: Way Down Deep

Title:  Way Down Deep
Author: Ruth White
ISBN: 0374382514
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux,2007
Starred review in: PW April 2007

"God is in that place where sleep takes us. Way down deep inside, where all the
answers lie."

Annotation In the West Virginia town of Way Down Deep in the 1950s, a foundling
called Ruby June is happily living with Miss Arbutus at the local boarding house
when suddenly, after the arrival of a family of outsiders, the mystery of Ruby's
past begins to unravel.

Appalachian fable with themes of sleep and dreams, reads like a fairytale. Opening
the book to find a map and cast of characters as long as your arm, this might
intimidate rather than inform. A sweet, charming dream of a book. A place where the
goodness of people is the rule for conduct. Who wouldn't want to live here?

Review by: Beth J., CLTR

Mock Newbery: Remembering Mrs. Rossi

Title: Remembering Mrs Rossi
Author: Amy Hest
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press,2007
ISBN: 0763621633

Without being overly maudlin, Amy Hest manages to explore a child's grief. Third
grader Annie and her father settle into their motherless life. Set in NYC.
Sympathetic teacher Misss Meadows. Bewildered father. Former students of her mother
write a touching eulogy book and present it Annie and her father. The students book
is presented as a conclusion. A fine introduction to the quiet grief that hopefully
none of the readers will ever experience. Was it too quiet, was it bibliotherapy?

Review by: Beth J., CLTR

Mock Newbery: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Title: The Invention of HUGO CABRET
Author: Brian Selznick
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Press,2007
ISBN: 0439813786

Imagine a combination of "Griffin and Sabine" and "The Thief Lord". Abandoned
(orphaned) child in a Parisian train station, theives out of necessistiy and keeps
the clocks running so as not to have his uncles's disappeatrance noticed. This
tender book is a combination of art that unfolds in cinematic fashion, echoing
(presaging) the events in the text. An automaton in need of repair holds the clue to
characters pasts and their futures. Skillful blending of text and art brings an
added dimension to the storytelling. While the book works on more than one level, is
this the finest of literature or an author's fancy?

Review by: Beth J., CLTR

Mock Newbery: A Friendship for Today

Title:  A Friendship for Today
Author: McKissack, Patricia C
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Press,2007
ISBN: 043966098X
Starred review: PW 1/8/07

Based on the author's real life experience, this novel of intergration in the 1950's
skillfully layers storylines.
Rosemary is the only black student in her fifth grade
class. Her best friend JJ
contracts polio, her parents marriage is dissolving and she
changes schools. Rosemary's family and community lend
her the strength and dignity
to face these challenges. Rosemary starts an unlikely friendship with
Grace, one the
Dead End kids, who used to make her life miserable. Rosemary and Grace team
up to
counter prejudice. Tolerance is the theme in and out of the classroom.

Review by: Beth J., CLTR

Monday, March 12, 2007

F.A.Q. for the 2008 Mock Awards

F.A.Q.s for the BCCLS Mock Awards, 2007:

Q: How do you choose the books you read?

A: All the books we choose receive starred reviews from authoritative review sources, including Booklist, KLIATT, SLJ, VOYA (we add books to our reading list that receive a 5Q, regardless of the P rating), Kirkus, PW, Horn Book. In the case of the Mock Printz, we also consider a nomination to YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults equivalent to a starred review. From the list of starred reviews, we see which books have garnered the most praise and begin with those. We also read according to our personal interests.

Q: How do you choose the books that appear on your short list?

A: Everyone on a Mock Awards committee puts a list together of their personal top ten candidates for their award. The ten books that appear on the largest number of top ten lists are the ones shortlisted for the Mock Awards.

Q: What other criteria do you use in choosing books?

A: When deciding what books to honor, we use the criteria from the ALA Awards. Most importantly, the awards are about writing quality, not popularity, and not emotional reaction. A book that sits on the shelf and collects dust could still be eligible for a Mock Award if the writing is strong enough.

For more information on the ALA Awards, visit the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz sites.

Q. Can I come to the Mock Awards program in January even though I'm a director? Not a youth services librarian? Employed by a non-BCCLS library?

A: Absolutely. All professional and paraprofessional library employees with an interest in literature for children and young adults are welcome to attend.

Q. Do I have to read every page of every book listed?

A: No, but it helps to have some familiarity with the book. Read enough to find out whether it's worthy or not. Read reviews! Check to see if the book has generated buzz among librarians, including discussion on children's and YA literature listservs like PUBYAC, YALSA-BK, and Adbooks.

Q: Does my library have to buy everything on the list?

A: No, but everything on the list should have a starred review from an authoritative review source. Check to see if this type of book is well-received at your library. Lists like these are a fast checkup for your collection.

Q: How can I give my favorite title the best chance of being on your list?

A: Contact one of the members of the BCCLS Youth Services Committee and ask that your book be read and considered. Campaign for it on the blog, or on the BCCLSYouth mailing list. Bring it to the program anyway and find out why it didn't make the list.

Q: Why isn't the final list published earlier?

A: We would miss too many great books fromt he fall publishing season. September and October are big months in publishing, and we have to allow time for libraries to acquire copies of these books and for committee members to read them.

Q: How do you read that many books in a short period of time?

A: Start by reading some star-reviewed items as they come into your library, especially items that have more than one starred review or are nominated to YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults. Look at the blog to find out what's getting a lot of discussion. Chances are some of the books you see listed here will make the final cut.

As for the rest, reading is part of the job. Turn off the TV, stay up late reading, and come in to work a little bleary-eyed in the morning. Also, consider listening to some of the selections. It's a great way to handle that horrible rush-hour commute, or to make time pass while you're chopping vegetables or on the treadmill.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

MocK Newbery: On the Wings of Heroes by Peck

The first title I finished for the Mock Newbery is On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck (Specifics at the end). Note I said finished and not the first started. I'm still attempting to slog my way through Corydon and the fall of Atlantis.

When I started Wings, I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, but I was soon drawn into Peck's characters and I kept thinking just a few more pages until I find Of course by the time I answered that question or plot point there was something else I wanted to know so I was strung along to the end mostly in one sitting. The plot wasn't terrifically original or new, but the characters felt real and the narrator's voice rang true, though slightly old for the age in the book, excusable since it's told looking back on the events. I liked the book, but don't feel that there was anything groundbreaking about it. The ending was a lose/lose situation for Peck....if the brother dies, then it's cliche and old; if the brother comes home alive from war, then it's too neat and idyllic. I'm not going to say which happens....just that I don't think there is a way he could have made everyone happy with any ending. Personally, I have mixed feeling about the end and wish that a few of the episodes in the book got a bit more attention (like the Chicago gangsters & fake gas books or even a bit of explaining about rationing and war stamps).

Starred review in: Kirkus 01/01/07
Peck, Richard
On the Wings of Heroes
Fiction 10+