Meet the Printz Award 2009 Candidates

The 2009 Michael L. Printz Award Committee is charged to select from the previous year’s publications the best young adult book (“best” being defined solely in terms of literary merit). Now is your chance to meet the hard working folks who want to spend the next year reading, and rereading, and rereading, and taking extensive notes on hundreds of titles competing for this prestigious award.

Running on the spring ballot for the 2009 Printz Committee are: Elizabeth A.Burns, Donna S. Cook, Stacy L. Creel-Chavez, Alison M. Hendon, Celia Holm, Ellen Loughran, Karyn Silverman, and J. Marin Younker.

Candidates:

  1. Please introduce yourself.
  2. Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit.
  3. And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then. Hmmm….

Thanks!
Cindy Dobrez
2007 Michael L. Printz Award Chair

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7 Comments

  1. Marin Younker [Visitor]

    Please introduce yourself.

    I am a Teen Services Librarian at Seattle Public Library’s Northgate Branch. I graduated from the University of Washington in 1997 before it was the i-school and am finding it hard to believe that Buffy the Vampire Slayer came on the scene 10 years ago when I first started my career! I’ve been a Teen Services Librarian for pretty much the last 10 years in both Oregon and Washington and have meet some amazing teen advocates. I love teen literature: fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. I read all sorts of genres, I don’t have a favorite one. I think one of the funniest questions to ask a librarian is “What is your favorite book?” – an exercise in impossibility, at least for me! It all depends on the mood.

    Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit.

    Like so many librarians, I have that very useful B.A. in liberal arts, mine in history. With many novels analyzed in History and English classes, I am prepared to go beyond falling in love with a character and/or story, to also examine the literary execution. These past couple of years on Popular Paperbacks and other, local literature groups have taught me to listen to the opinions of others, argue passionately for a book, as well as separate my personal reaction to the merits of a particular title.

    And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then. Hmmm

    One of the very first teen books that I read as a green Teen Services Librarian was Pullman’s “The Golden Compass.” A brilliant book that has so many layers; a literary masterpiece that can be read on a purely entertaining level to discover what exactly is happening to the children to a deep, philosophical discussion on organized religion. Completely deserving of the Printz!

  2. Stacy Creel [Visitor]

    Please introduce yourself:
    I currently teach Young Adult, Children’s, Public Libraries, and School Media Courses in St. John’s Division of Library and Information Science. I graduated in 1996 and 1997 from Florida State University and anticipate graduating from University of North Texas this summer. I began my career in NYPL as a YA librarian, was the YA manager for HCPL in Houston, TX and have made a full circle back to NYC to teach “the good stuff and fight the good fight.” I love all things YA – from programming to books and am a voracious reader.

    Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit:

    I think that teaching YA literature has helped prepare me in many ways. Although we focus on all aspects, we spend a great deal of time on figuring out what quality is. My three years on Quick Picks has certainly prepared me for the volume of reading that comes with being on a reading committee and helped me develop a critical eye based on given criteria. Even my years spent in the public library on selection committees and as the selector for a 36 branch and central library system have helped prepare me for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year.

    And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then:
    Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (1993) – an incredible book that has powerfully written narrative with characters that have stayed with me all of these years in a setting that still rings true…

  3. Ellen Loughran [Visitor]

    Please introduce yourself

    My name is Ellen Loughran. I currently teach Young Adult Literature, Children’s Literature and Programs and Services for Youth at the Pratt School of Information and Library Science. I also work as an adjunct reference librarian at two City University of New York colleges: Hunter and New York City College of Technology – a welcome return to direct work with the public after years of administrative work for the Brooklyn Public Library.

    Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit.

    I think that my background in study of the written word – from undergraduate concentration in comparative through service on the Alex Awards Committee – has made me highly qualified for service on the Printz Award Committee. I’ve been reading young adult books since the majority of titles were formulaic and mediocre. I’ve watched with great interest the improvement in literature for young adults – both in writers’ recognition of teen tastes and in publishers’ willingness to put out there books that are edgy or exceptionally well written – or both. In the best of my professional committee work, (e.g., the Alex Award Committee, RUSA Notable Books Council, the Caldecott Award Committee), the process lead to a transcendent experience – one that informed and broadened my understanding of literature and its importance in the intellectual and emotional lives of library users – young or old. Should I be elected, I would bring to this process a passion for exquisite writing, an open mind and respect for the opinions of others.

    And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then:

    Had the Printz been in existence in 1993, I think that Francesca Lia Block’s “Missing Angel Juan” would have been a strong contender. The most lyrically written of the Weetzie Bat books, Angel Juan stands on its own as an independent novel while delivering those unique qualities that characterize a Block book – eccentric loveable characters. a supportive family of choice and touches of the surreal.

  4. liz burns [Member]

    Please introduce yourself.
    I’m a public librarian. I work with teens, and wear other hats as the manager of a small branch.

    Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit.

    I am the YA fiction selector for my 21-branch library system and I read a lot of YA in preparation for my work on the Garden State Teen Book Awards committee and participation in the JHunt and Cybils online book awards. Some of the books I read are discussed on my blog, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy. From these, I look at books beyond the subjective (what I like, how I feel) to the actual words and content of a book: How is the story crafted? What does the author bring to the book? What does the author expect from the reader?

    And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then.
    Wow, what a question. That covers so many years and so many books! I’m going to go with Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. It’s original storytelling, with its mix of realism and fantasy. FLB creates a world where you really expect a genie to appear and to grant wishes. I also like how FLB creates such a strong sense of place, and such vibrant characters, with so few words.

  5. Donna Cook [Visitor]

    I am a high school librarian, and I have a mission to get the best information and reading materials to my students. I realized how successful I’ve been at my high school when a recent survey of circulation statistics from 30 schools showed my high school circulated 10 items per student and the closest other high school circulated 6 items per student in a set period of time.

    One of the keys to my success is the promotion of the Printz Award, the Alex Award, and the Tayshas (Texas high school reading list) Award books. I teach my students about the good books; I make sure they are part of the on-line catalog; I give awards and praise to those who read these titles; I make bulletin boards; I do everything I can dream up to make the titles of award-winning books known and attractive to my students. I was on the Tayshas committee in Texas for three years, and I know the work it takes to produce a list of best books for teens. I am a discriminating reader with a passion for spreading the word about these wonderful books.

    There have been lists made of books pre 1998 that would have been Printz Award winners if the award had been in existance. The English Journal published such a list written by Patrick Jones and Sarah Cornish in January, 2004. I’ve tracked down all those titles and made sure that they are in our library collection with catalog notations and that all our students know about them. I’m going to pick We All Fall Down by Cormier (1992) as my favorite because it is typical Cormier with its suspense and twist at the end, and because it is in constant demand and on hold in the library–a sure sign that students love it too.

  6. Alison Hendon [Visitor]

    Please introduce yourself.
    I’m Alison Hendon, and I have a wonderful job at the Brooklyn Public Library – I buy all the YA print material for the Central Library and our 58 branches. I can honestly describe it as a dream job! I get to see so many wonderful new books come across my desk (though no, I don’t get to read them all!)

    Tell us what experience has prepared you for the challenge of selecting the best book of the year based on literary merit.

    I’ve had several years experience in making purchasing decisions for our library – of course merit isn’t our only criterion, but I do get to compare books for literary quality, style, etc. and I’d love to use this experience on the Printz Committee. I served on the Outstanding Books for the College Bound – literature section and I think that was a great prequel to this committee. I also participated in the Best of the Best YALSA Pre-conference which was quite an experience, choosing the best books of the assigned years.

    And, give us one YA title, published in 1998 or before, that you think would have made an excellent Printz Award Winner if the award had been in existence then:

    Well, Annie on My Mind was published in 1992, and I think it would have made an excellent Printz Award candidate. I found the author’s writing touching, moving, poetic, and lyrical. I’m so glad that Nancy Garden was recognized with the Margaret Edwards Award!

  7. ahendon [Member]

    Sorry for the typo – should have been 1982, not 1992, for Annie.

    Alison

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