Monday, February 12, 2018

The Oscars of Children's Books

In honor of the ALA Youth Media Awards, which are being announced this morning, I came to school in a sparkly silver dress.  It has long sleeves and is a bit sack-shaped and is from the Gap, but hey, if Sharon Stone can wear a black turtleneck from the Gap to the Oscars, then this dress is certainly festive enough.

The ALA Youth Media Awards are the Oscars of children's literature.  In fact, just like the Oscars, they save the "big" awards until the end.  Since the ALA Mid-winter convention at which the awards are announced is being held in Denver this year, we don't know the winners yet, as they begin the announcements at 8am Mountain Time.  Therefore, the Caldecott and Newbery Medal and Honor winners won't be announced for another hour or two.

As the Children's Book Oscars, I think ALA needs to step things up a bit.  I want a red carpet, with librarians, authors, and illustrators asked who they are wearing.  I want to hear about the jewels loaned by Harry Winston.  And I want them televised.  To that end, I have a few suggestions.

1. Move the awards to the evening.  No one is going to watch awards at 8am.  No one gets dressed up at 8am.  No one drinks cocktails at 8am.

2.  Nominate a short-list of 10-12 books for each award.  Without nominees, you can't invite authors and illustrators to the award ceremony because the field is wide open.  The Oscars went from 5 nominees for best picture to a maximum of 10.  There must be some procedure for the ALA membership to vote and make this change.

3.  Contact ESPN.  If ESPN can televise the Spelling Bee, it can surely televise the Youth Media Awards.

Until then, I'll be sitting in my sparkly silver dress, watching the live feed in between classes coming to the library.

Next year, the red carpet!

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