Saturday, January 10, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Talk About the Newberys

Oy vey. That poor Newbery medal is going to need to be hammered back into shape after this year of bashing.

Have a gander at this article about a recent study that claims the Newbery is all about white boys. (I found it in the Detroit Free Press, Liz B. in the Bloomberg News. It seems to be one of those articles that gets picked up and run verbatim by every newspaper with a slow news day.)

There are problems with the article and the study alike, which Liz B. at A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy examines in more detail.

The primary one, however, is that the Newbery is for literary quality, hands down. That's what it's about, folks. There are other awards to celebrate diversity or popularity or what-have-you, but every committee member, past or present, that I've ever heard from has come back to the same core: it's about the book.

Would it be nice to have a list of award-winners that perfectly reflects our society's gender/social/racial/ethnic makeup? Yes. Is it gonna happen? Probably not.

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