Each Midwinter, I listen to and watch the immediate responses as YALSA’s media awards are announced, fascinated by how many interpretations audience members make of what doesn’t “win” and what the winning titles “say” about those who selected them. Over the years, I’ve served on three YALSA awards committees (Margaret A. Edwards, Odyssey, and Printz), a couple of YALSA list selection committees (former versions of these are now swept into what we call Amazing Audiobooks), and both award and selection list committees for other organizations (the Eisners, the Audies, and the California Young Reader Medal among them). For way longer, I’ve been reviewing books and media for an array of professional journals (Library Journal, School Library Journal, Booklist, VOYA, Public Libraries, Busted) and a couple of “general reader” publications; my typical annual review production numbers somewhere between 100 to 150 titles, mostly assigned to me by editors.
As a fairly long-term readers’ advisory practitioner and instructor, I read widely beyond what I review and what I judge for lists and awards. What I hope to provide here is some focus on how all these different book and media considerations differ in both purpose and approach.