It really is….we’re usually sitting in a ballroom anxiously awaiting the Newbery and Caldecott (and other awards) announcements on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year, it will be just a regular Monday (January 10) in San Diego.
As a result, I spent last week packing boxes and finalizing plans for the trip. Everything we need (or just about) for our booth (Booth #1911 – please stop by, say hello, and do some doodling!)) is either in a warehouse in Southern California or on a UPS truck. I always like these last few days before a conference, when I’m eagerly anticipating seeing friends and colleagues, but have most of the hard work done — at least until I have to hang the banner on the back of the booth on Thursday afternoon.
With the Academy Awards of the children’s book world in just one week, I’ve been doing a lot of reading of other publishers’ books. As our regular readers will know, I’ve read all the Newbery winners. Since finishing that feat in 2005, I want to read the winner before it’s announced. This makes being in the room that morning more exciting — because I’ve read so many of the contenders, I can cheer (or maybe not, if my faves don’t make it) along with everyone else.
In preparation, I spend the Fall reading books based on an Excel spreadsheet I create from various Mock Newbery lists I find online. Here are this year’s results — there are 11 lists and 105 titles on at least one of them. Assuming I finish the one and a half books still on my nightstand, I’ll have read 19 of them — 12 of the top 20. (To be honest, not my best effort.)
My faves, so far? The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger and Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. These are not my predicitons, just my personal favorites. The money should be on One Crazy Summer by Rita Garcia-Williams.
As for the Caldecott, I don’t compile a list. I find that I have usually read the winner and all the honors. By nature, the books are shorter, so as I see a starred review or hear good things about a book, I can just stop by the publisher booth or my local book store for a quick look. I have a few favorites, but I think the field is wide open for some surprises.
And starting next year, I’m going to add Printz reading to my list. But more on that in the months to come.
Hope to see you in San Diego! Otherwise, I’ll be tweeting during the conference and the awards presentation (@AlbertWhitman), and will blog about the entire experience next week.