My goal WAS to read all 5 of the NBA nominated books in Young People’s Literature before yesterday’s announcement, but I am going to admit that Charles and Emma was too intimidating. I never got to it, even though it sat innocently (beggingly) on my shelf for weeks. I think I’m still a little burned out on Darwin thanks to it being around a lot this year (see Calpurnia Tate)
That said, this year’s winner was Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. As you recall, I liked this one, but I didn’t predict it as the winner (Janssen, on the other hand, thought this would be the one).
Even being nominated for the NBA is a big deal, since it gets your title a lot more attention, and I think that that alone is worthwhile. As more and more books get published in the teen world, having these committees notice a title helps, even if it’s not always a title that will see huge popularity or circulation. Why? It’s a great opportunity to think about the factors that make good books good books to an awards committee (which you generally do not understand or have inner knowledge of) but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to think about the factors you personally hold important in judging books. Appeal is important to me, but so is an important story, and I think Claudette Colvin definitely hit the mark there. I hope that this award will help get the book into classrooms and hands of students interested in American Civil Rights history. I know it gave me a lot more knowledge and interest in the topic.