January 08, 2016

2015 Final Countdown

Written by Deborah B. Ford

BostonIt’s January and the highlight of children’s book publishing season is just days away. Many of you are already in Boston for the Big Event (or hopefully safely on your way). On Monday morning at 8AM EST, the doors will open and the suspense will soon be over. Watch the Live Webcast here. Someone asked me the other day what I thought would win. Honestly, I’ve gotten my head buried in 2016 already. (With three imminent webcasts and a little bit of down time off the road, I’ve got to think ahead when I can.) So now that I’m thinking about 2015, I’ll give you a couple of tips to remember.

One is that the unexpected will happen. Remember last year when the Caldecott gave out so many honor books? The audience literally gasped. And the Pura Belpre gave out so few. We gasped again. There will always be books you never heard of and books you expect to win that get no love. With so many amazing books every year, it’s a tough job.

If you’re in Boston, pop by the Notable Committee meetings. Listen in on their discussion. The “big” awards are closed door, but notables welcome visitors. You’ll get a chance to see and hear about books you may have missed. Though you don’t get to put in your two cents, it takes the buzz a little further just to hear them expound on the favorites.  The Children’s Books and Children’s Recordings discussion list is online. Take a look at that. Remember that one of their guidelines is that children will love the books. When you get out your shopping list be sure to choose those as well.

Lastly, today is a great day to guess ahead and make sure you’ve purchased those “award winners.” Remember last year when Woodson won? You couldn’t get a copy of Brown Girl or Alexander’s Crossover for that matter. JLG members already had their copies. Browse through the book detail pages for award winners or go to our Outstanding Book Lists and get a jump on Monday. You’ll see the journal awards (SLJ, The Horn Book and such), as well as association notables, like NSTA.

You’ve heard me talk about my favorites. What’s on your expected list? What’s on your long shot list?

I’ll be heading out to Clark County Nevada Monday morning, so I’ll be glued to social media. You can follow along with #ALAyma. Wherever you are, you won’t want to miss Fuse#8 blogger Betsy Bird’s witty perspective on the awards—shared through SLJ’s Pre-Game and Post-Game shows, streaming to you live via Google Hangouts from Chicago. While you wait (since waiting is hard), you can read what Bird says is trending in kid lit. Catch up on all the events at I Love Libraries, including which awards will be announced.

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Deborah B. Ford

Deborah B. Ford

Deborah B. Ford, JLG’s Director of Library Outreach, is an award-winning library media specialist and international speaker with almost thirty years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools. Traveling across North America, she does workshops, library coaching, and professional development for school and public libraries. Deborah is the author of JLG's Booktalks to Go @ SLJ. She also maintains an award-winning coordinating online resource at Contact her at Follow her on Twitter @jlgdeborahford.

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