What a flurry of activity in news reports the past few days! As a lover of both books and movies, having the ALA Youth Media Awards announced yesterday, and then the Academy Awards nominations today, well...it's been exciting.
The Newbery and Caldecott are often referred to as the Academy Award of children's literature. In some ways, that is quite appropriate. These awards are absolutely the most prestigious among children's literature, like the Oscar is in the movie world, and having one of those stickers on your book will make you an instant success, much like an Oscar will just about assure you a nice career in acting. But there are a few differences....
The Oscars are voted on by the entire Academy, which numbers somewhere around 6000. The Newbery and Caldecott have a slightly smaller votership: usually a committee around a dozen or so. Can you imagine if the Newbery and Caldecott were voted on by 6000 librarians? Hmmmm. Fun to think about, isn't it?
What if it were the opposite? What if the Academy Awards were chosen by a committee of about a dozen people? They would get to watch all the movies and narrow it down to a winner, with maybe one or two or three runners up, an arbitrary decision, depending on the year and the committee.
I suspect this would lead to a lot of hub-bub about who got left out or should have been nominated...Oh wait. That happens even WITH 6000 voters. I guess that's one more reason the Newbery and Caldecott are like the Academy Awards: you will never make everyone happy.
( As an aside, three movies adapted from books I loved are all up for Best Picture: Hugo, The Descendants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Maybe books are taking over the movies...)