I am typing this at 8:18pm, Pacific time, on January 22, juuust over nine hours before this year's committee announces the winner of the 2012 Newbery Award, the prize given to the most distinguished book written for children that year!
I realize many of you are not as moronically excited about this as I am. That's okay. You and I are very different. But I love children's books, and I am a sucker for this last minute drama. By this time tomorrow, the 2012 Newbery winner will be slapped with a gold sticker and placed in a special spot on my library's shelves.* It's a book I'll recommend to parents for the rest of my career. Or not recommend, but one way or the other, I will hold an opinion about it. Newbery books get criticized for being boring or out of touch, but they become a part of the historical record of children's literature. Each one declares "you guys, the year I came out, I was the BEST." And it's at least kind of right.
Also, the Caldecott! Although I never get quite as excited about the Caldecott as I expect. A lot of the illustrators I really love were never Caldecott winners, or they won for a book I'm not really wild about. And the Caldecott committee considers overall design, type, etc. in their decision, so it's not *just* the illusration.
So! Last year I drew a comic about the Mock Newbery, the process by which a bunch of total kid lit geeks debate and choose their own Newbery winner, in mini committees all across the country. That first link is part one, and part two is here. That's about what we do leading up to the day of the Mock Newbery. Posted below for your enjoyment is a comic I did at this year's Mock Newbery, and this one is about the day of. Read all three for maximum enjoyment.
Also, you should read my director's blog about her 8am encounter with a Newbery committee member this morning. They'd chosen the winner by then, sometime in the wee small hours of the morning, and today like every Sunday before the award is announced they spent wearing their poker faces and trying not to slip. Which just makes it all so much more exciting.
Okay, the cafe I'm in is playing this stupid easy listening version of "Mrs. Robinson" which makes me think they are trying to close, so no more dilly dallying. Mock Newbery 2012! Enjoy!
*Unless we haven't bought it! which has happened before! ha ha