Monday, January 23, 2012

Reflecting on Award Season - Slice of Life

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

So as many of you in the field of education or in the world of books know, yesterday was a pretty big day. I might not know which teams are going to the Super Bowl but I do know that today was the ALA awards. As you might have guessed from reading a few posts on this blog, I was pretty excited. But, until today, I didn’t realize how invested I truly was.

Arriving to school I rushed to my classroom to log on to the live feed. My student teacher, Jackie, and I watched the first few awards come in. I cheered for a few, showed Jackie where those books were in my classroom library, and gave some impromptu book talks. Then the students strolled in. Quickly they figured out what was going on and a group gathered in front of our Promethean board to watch before we had to switch classes. Then, darn it, I had to work. I tested students for their fluency benchmark all morning long. Between students I’d check Twitter. The Caldecott was announced, I knew all four books, had just read the medal winner yesterday. Then, the Newbery. I had read Inside Out and Back Again, I had heard of Dead End in Norfleet but I hadn’t read it yet. Hadn’t even heard of Breaking Stalin’s Nose. Honestly, I saw those titles and my first reaction was a letdown. There were so many books I LOVED this year – where were they? My feelings were like a roller coaster rolling between letdown, angry, hurt, and more.

Then I began to process. First, I realized that what I always preach applies here too, not every book is for every reader. I LOVED Breadcrumbs by Ursu, my mom wasn’t a huge fan. (If you are reading this by some miracle, sorry Anne!) I thought it was a magical world, it wasn’t my mom’s cup of tea. Doesn’t mean it still isn’t an excellent fit – just not for my mom. And honestly, I haven’t read two of the Newbery’s yet – I might love them. I was just angry for my favorites (books and authors – to be honest, I was having a hard time separating the two.)

So my healing had begun. It fully swung around after reading Teri Lesesne’s blog post tonight. She said it better than I ever could. Just go here, read it, and come back. I’ll wait.

Read it? Isn’t she brilliant? And if you don’t follow her on Twitter, remedy that immediately. She’s @professornana on there and what a reference she is! Amazing. Anyway, I loved how she said what I was attempting to point out above. Not ever book is for every reader. But I bet I can find a reader for Dead End in Norfleet and that kid will love it just as much as I loved Laurel Snyder’s Bigger than a Bread Box. (And, while I’m handing out directives today, if you haven’t read that – remedy that as well.) So, was I a bit disappointed today, yep. But I now have several books I’ve added to my “to be read” pile. Not a bad thing. And for a while today, books dominated the “trending” list on Twitter. Happy Day! I congratulate all the winners and look forward to another year of racing through books to try and predict again.