Maybe back in each writer's mind is a tiny thought--could this story win an award someday? How do judges choose? I'd like to share my notes from this session. One of the main questions was "Why have awards?" And then "What makes a book award worthy?"
|Leonard Marcus, Dr. Murti Bunanta, Deborah Ahenkorah|
Dr. Murti Bunanta is a children's literature specialist and President of the Society of the Advancement of Children's Literature, a researcher, folklorist, and an international award-winning author of 50 books. She has judged many international illustrations competitions.
She said that awards make writers happy and make them want to continue their work. If your book is even published in another country, that in itself is an award-- that it is being recognized by another country! She said make a book worthy for the readers, not just for a competition. A fun fact about Murti: She has 30,000 books in her house!
Leonard Marcus is a historian, writer, book critic, exhibition curator, and author/editor of more than 25 award-winning books. He teaches at NY University and the School of Visual Arts.
Leonard said that a hundred years ago there were no awards. Then in 1922 the first Newbery Medal in the U.S. was created by librarians. Children back then were an important group, but they weren't allowed in the library with their sticky fingers. Most immigrant children weren't getting a good life. So three reasons for having an award:
- To get 1st rate writing for kids and to rethink the value of kids' books.
- To give parents an indication of the best books for their children.
- To build a nation culturally--Previously America looked to England and Europe for children's books.
Today books are given awards to correct misconceptions and fill in gaps. For example, nonfiction children's books have been sparse in previous years. So the Sibert Medal was created in 2001 for informational children's books. There was a gap in African American literature. The Coretta Scott King Award was created in 1969 at the ALA Conference. And so on.
Leonard also said awards try to correct misconceptions. For example, there's a misconception that elaborate pictures are better than simple pictures. However, Eric Carle, one of the best-known illustrators, has never won a prize. Another misconception is that photography isn't an art form. Or that short stories are less significant than novels.
Deborah Ahenkorah of Ghana is the founder of the Golden Baobab Prize and CEO of African Bureau for Children's Stories, a publishing house. The Baobab Prize is now going on its seventh year. She created this award because of the gap in African American books for her country. She wants stories to represent the people who read them. She says the reasons for a book award is to have recognition, money, and to get people to create. If you are a citizen of Africa and have a children's story in English, do check out the Golden Baobab Prize!
Lastly, now that you might be wondering if your manuscript might fill in a gap for an award, I want to leave you with Leonard Marcus's criteria questions for an award-winning book.
1. What is the author trying to do?
2. How well has the author accomplished the goal?
3. Is this book appropriate to the audience?
4. Has the author brought something to the book that is a fresh, new experience?
|Leonard Marcus was Chief Judge of the Scholastic Asian Book Award|
Go forth and create people! Find those gaps and write and illustrate.
What fun to see you at your first conference and to learn of your success and what awards really mean.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Kathy. I thought it was interesting the thought processes behind awards.Delete
Thanks, Tina. We are always learning and growing as writers. An award would be icing on the cake. So glad you had a chance to experience thisReplyDelete
It IS the icing on the cake. Thanks, Sherri!Delete
Thank you for an interesting post, Tina. I have to admit when I first saw your title, I thought the post was going to be about why some awards are considered prestigious and others aren't very meaningful. I was part of a discussion recently with some other authors about an award that pretty much just means an author paid the money to get it. Maybe a topic for a future blog post?ReplyDelete
Yes, I agree, Ev. I had an email for that sort of award as well, and I didn't think it was much of an award if you pay to have it!Delete
Fascinating information, Tina! And I admit that in a wee part of my heart is a desire to win recognition for something that I've written...ReplyDelete
And I hope you do!Delete
Thanks for posting, Tina. It's good to start to unravel the mysteries of why some books win awards and others don't....ReplyDelete
I like that--unravel the mystery! Thanks, Mary Kay.Delete
Thanks for a very informative post -- and congratulations, again!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Christy!Delete
Thanks for sharing your notes, Tina. I agree, creating some that fills the gap in the market is key. 👍ReplyDelete
Right on, Tracy!Delete
It's good to enjoy another good article from that fabulous conference, Tina.Delete
Further award thoughts -
Lenita Joe, an esteemed children's librarian in Florida, taught me that
she knew little children in a hurry to select a book in a library or bookstore would benefit from knowing to look for an award sticker.
Also, the state awards & other children's choices awards allow the young readers themselves, to select titles to honor.
This award topic is a really good one, to dig into.
You're right, Jan. There are so many good awards out there for books.ReplyDelete