Sunday, November 11, 2007

Funny Books, Awards, and Kids' Lit

Check out this month's Edge of the Forest for an article by MotherReader about the way funny books are overlooked by awards committees. It's something I've growled about for a long time, and her summation says it perfectly:
. . . the Newbery tends to prefer the dead mother, the dead father, the autistic child, or the dying baby—and that's just the 2007 winners . . .

It may be Great Literature, but so is Wuthering Heights, and I only read that to cure insomnia. Not that people don't like it, but what annoys me is the feeling that you have to like it or you are Not A Cultured Person. Ease off, folks. Let the kids enjoy The Giver and Captain Underpants in equal measure.

We're probably not going to change anyone's mind. Dead mothers and dying babies are still going to have a leg up over fart jokes, at least on the awards ladder. But let's encourage people to see the awards for what they intend to be--a measure of how well-written a book is, rather than a measure of how many kids will enjoy it and want to read it.

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