First things first: The ALSC Youth Media Awards broadcast this morning began with a plea to sign a petition asking that the the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) include dedicated funding for school libraries. So many great children's books were honored today, and there are stacks and stacks more whose names were bandied about as award-worthy, but they can't do nearly as much good as they have the potential to do without places to live in schools and librarians to help kids find the right one.
This year's crop of winners happens to be well-poised to capture the interest of a broad range of kids. I'm pleased to see a funny book, Jack Gantos' Dead End in Norvelt, win the Newbery, and I'm also, shockingly enough, cheering for the less light but wonderful verse novel Inside Out and Back Again. Caldecott winner A Ball for Daisy is ideal for showing the newest readers that reading is fun--colors! A dog! A story they can understand without a grownup because it doesn't have any words!
Like many of us, I've got some reading to do, and like most of us, I had some predictions blown out of the water. But that's part of the fun, if not most of it. This is our Superbowl.
Pass the bean dip. And then, pass a good book along to a kid.