Posted by Amy Alessio:

This committee has to choose the best titles for Young Adults from 2007. When I see all the input in YALSA-BK about the winners each year, I am amazed that only 15% of YALSA members vote on the ballot. Now is your chance to meet the hard working folks who will be reading hundreds of titles on this committee.

Running on the spring ballot for the 2008 Printz Committee are: Julie Bartel, Janet Buttenweiser, Donna Cook, Elizabeth Elam, Walter Mayes, Lynn Rutan, Tricia Suellentrop and Cheryl Ward.

This blog gives them a chance to introduce themselves and let you know why you may want to vote for them.

8 Thoughts on “Meet the Printz Award ’08 Candidates

  1. Having just finished three years on Popular Paperbacks, the last as chair, I find myself without a committee on which to serve. It was my first YALSA committee, and I loved every minute of it. Knowing this was coming, I decided to throw my hat in the air for the Printz.

    You see, I am a man who wears many hats, and most of them involve reading a lot of YA books. As a library media specialist at The Girls’ Middle School in Mountain View, CA, as a reviewer (VALERIE & WALTER’S BEST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN), and as a presenter of seminars for teachers and librarians for the Bureau of Education & Research (THE BEST YA BOOKS OF THE DECADE), I spend the majority of my time reading, teaching, and discussing the books of the year with a variety of readers, from teens to adults.

    I realize my experience on PPYA was very different from what a potential Printz term would be like, and I am excited about the possibility of focusing on the books in a more in-depth, intense way. I would be honored to serve on the committee.

  2. I became a Young Adult Librarian because I adore teens and teen literature. I have spent the past four years working as a YA Librarian for various branches of the King County Library System (WA). One of my favorite parts of my job is engaging teens in literature — whether it is the avid readers from my book group, or reluctant readers to whom I give book talk presentations. I would love to serve on a committee that recognizes books that engage teens in a similar fashion.

    I have just finished a two-year position on YALSA’s Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults. I love all of the work of being on a selection committee: reading piles of teen books, making impassioned pleas for books I feel strongly about, and getting to be part of a team of YALSA members doing impressive work all over the country. Last year I was on my library system’s Mock Printz committee, and enjoyed discussing the sometimes slippery notion of “literary quality” with my colleagues as we picked our top choices of the year.

    Although I have just left my position at KCLS in order to do some writing, I still work directly with teens and teen literature. I coordinate two book groups on a volunteer basis – one with teens from my most recent library, and one at a local alternative school that doesn’t have a formal library. I remain active in YALSA, and I continue to be a reviewer for the Washington State Young Adult Materials Review Group, something I have done for the past four years. I would be thrilled to serve on the Printz Committee.

  3. Why me?
    -Michael Printz was from Kansas(as am I).
    -I’m willing to argue with Walter the Giant even though he is twice my height.
    -In 2003 our Mock Printz in Kansas City picked the winner (Postcards) & upon hearing the winner I actually leapt out of my seat @ the press conference & due to my excitement level was mistaken for the author. I hope it was due to my excitement since the author is a man!

    Like Janet and Walter I served on PPYA for 2 terms (99-03)so I understand the deliberation and thought that goes into picking books- while the Printz is one title versus 25 the skills and experience I learned have prepared me for this exciting adventure.

    I have been the Teen Services Librarian @ the Johnson County Library (KS) for 8 yrs. Like many of you I facilitate several different teen reading groups, have way too many books checked out waiting to be read, and enjoy a vigorous dicussion about the merits (or not) of a particular book.

    So in the words of Meredith Grey/Grey’s Anatomy…
    Pick me, choose me, love me!

  4. I’ve been a member of YALSA for many years now, but am still fairly new to committee work so my name won’t be familiar to many of you. Therefore I’m going to be very long-winded here and I apologize in advance for what I’m sure will be way more information than you need or want about me.

    I am currently chair of the YALSA Publications Committee, as well as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board and the YALSA 50th Anniversary Task Force. I lovelovelove working with the many amazing people I’ve met through division work and highly recommend becoming involved in any way possible. As my term as Publications Chair is up after Annual I decided to accept the nomination to run for the Printz Award Commmitte, an easy decision, really, because the Printz is the award that most excites and frustrates me. I desperately want to help publicize this wonderful award, make it meaningful and relevant, and make sure it gets the attention it deserves. I know that there are books out there that teens adore, books that are oozing with literary merit *and* teen appeal, and I would be honored to be part of the selection process.

    Up until late last year I had the privilege of being the system-wide selector for teen materials and graphic novels—pretty much my dream job—and though I’m currently working as a system-wide selector for AV materials, my passion is for teen services and I long to be back in the Canteena (our main library teen department.) Happily, I’m still coordinating (with my co-worker Brooke Young) our YA Galley group (another brilliant YALSA program which I encourage you all to investigate) which has almost 40 members and a hoppin’ electronic list where we discuss books on a daily basis in addition to our monthly meetings and written reviews.

    In addition to my education and work background, crazy personal reading habits, and intense love of young adult books, I also have extensive experience evaluating literature. Not only did I work for many years as the editor of a small press literary journal, but I have also served as a judge for the Utah Book Awards. I currently coordinate and help judge the Utah Speculative Fiction Award, a spin-off of the Utah Book Awards, both co-sponsored by the Utah Center for the Book.

    I read all kinds of books, but mostly mythic fiction/fantasy/magic realism and all kinds of ya books. The books I read over the past month or so include Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud (that ending!); The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier (who has never written a less-than-perfect book); Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (brilliant.); Printz Award Winner Looking for Alaska by Jon Green (which I liked quite a lot); National Book Award winner The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (possibly the sweetest book ever written); and Firebirds Rising, edited by Sharyn November (even better than incredible the first volume!) I’m currently reading the highly-anticipated-by-me Blue Noon, written by the prolific Scott Westerfeld, and Drift House by Dale Peck, which is turning out to be a rollicking good time.

    To sum up, there is almost nothing I love more than arguing about books; aforementioned co-worker Brooke and I even have a regular staff training session where we booktalk all our favorite books of the year and argue about their merits (we have almost completely opposite tastes and are therefore apparently very funny.) I would love to have the chance to argue with my esteemed colleagues for the next couple of years.

  5. I know this is an election and we are supposed to say why we would be a great choice for the Printz committee, but it feels uncomfortable to do that. I like Tricia’s method 😉 I will however say that serving on the Printz committee is something I have hoped to do since the very first year of the award. What librarian, teacher or lover of teens and their literature wouldn’t want to have this experience? To read with intensity, to think and re-read and discuss thoughtfully is a dream assignment.

    I’ve been fortunate to serve on several YALSA committees that I think have given me some great experiences and helped me to hone my analytic skills. I served on Popular Paperbacks, and am currently serving in my third year of Best Books for Young Adults. I chaired BBYA last year and also served as a sub-committee chair for the Best of the Best PreConference in Chicago. I am a school librarian in Holland, Michigan where I serve 900 very opinionated teenagers. I have reviewed for VOYA, which was also a great training experience.

    Besides helping refine literary analysis skills, BBYA has taught me other useful things such as how to read anywhere, anytime, in any light; to take notes that make sense 6 months later, and to become an expert on the varieties of eye drops on the market. It has also made me even more passionate about the quality of literature for teens and the importance of making sure that teens everywhere have access to this wealth. I would be honored to be able to serve on the Printz committee

  6. I feared that I’d be the last Printz candidate to post on the blog–an internet device a bit out of my comfort zone. But, after the gentle reminder of a friend, who could not find my comments and graciously provided a shortcut to this site, I decided to comment because I very much wish to be selected to serve on the Printz committee and I believe that I would be a valuable committee member.

    I am a librarian in East Hartford, CT., at a wonderfully diverse high school with a population of 2500 students and over 160 teachers and support staff. Suffice it to say, my staff and I perform over 1000 one-minute tasks each day. I have also been a middle school and elementary school librarian so I come to the committee with a strong background in literature for all ages.

    Booktalking and authortalking are important components of our library program not only because I believe in the importance and the power of reading, but also because of our efforts to improve reading scores for our all too test driven district. Besides our traditional methods for acquisitions of titles, I make frequent trips to Borders and B&N to spend monies on new books. Often, the particular request of a student is my major motivation. If I am asked for a particular title, I’ll provide it. My greatest pleasure is in matching the student with the book.

    My comfort zone can be found inside the pages of a book and I truly read, to quote Gary Paulsen, “like a wolf eats!” Over the years, I have served on many book selection committees: Genrelist(that was before Popular Paperbacks,) Popular Paperbacks, Quick Picks for YAs, and Best Books for YAs. When the latter’s three-year term ended in January, I halfheartedly announced that I intended to spend time reading “adult novels,” the juicier, the smuttier, the better. I discovered that I just couldn’t stay away from my pile of new YA galleys, and, surprise, surprise, I actually preferred reading books I could introduce or share with my teens. I am often asked, “Miss, have you read all of these books?” I can honestly say that I have read most and that I can find a book you will love.

    I prefer reading realistic fiction, especially if the characters are multicultural since my students do want to hear their voices and identify with characters who walk their walk and live their lives. (I am currently finalizing arrangements for an author visit by Kalisha Buchanon because we’re all reading her UPSTATE and loving it.) I do, however, read all types of genre because I have many serious fantasy and science fiction lovers and my boys gravitate to nonfiction: biographies, sports stories, etc.

    I’m afraid that frankly being a bit long in the tooth has made me a bit long winded, but I’m afraid to edit this text, lest I should need to start anew. So…

    Finally, my most recent favorite teen title is THE BOOK THIEF by Zusiak. It is utterly amazing!

  7. Cheryl you’re not the last on the ballot to comment–I have that distinction. And I’m completely speechless with admiration for the other candidates’ comments. What a wonderful bunch of YA librarians! Just to be on the ballot with each of them takes my breath away.

    I’m the Cinderella candidate–I have the pumpkin and the mice, and election to the Printz Award committee would turn them all into royal transportation.

    My experience includes chosing titles for the Tayshas list for Texas high school students. I served on that committee for 3 short years, and I know the give and take, the tension and the joy that comes with working with fellow librarians whose lives ARE YA literature. I want to be part of that world, and the Printz Award is like getting called up the big league from the farm team. And I’ve had good training on that farm team. I never missed a committee meeting, no matter where it was convened, and I always got the reading done–even when it seemed a Herculean task. The Printz Award and the Tayshas list are similar in their newness and their need for committee members to also be evangelists.

    During and since my committee time with the Tayshas list, I’ve become a state-wide promoter of the list. I’ve trained YA librarians from all parts of Texas at workshops and seminars how to use and promote the list. As a Printz Award committee member, I would be an untiring promoter.

    I am a library teacher in a school of 500 high schoolers. I am embedded with the front line of the assault on high school indifference. I don’t have an aide or clerk. There is nothing between me and the real world of YA attitude toward literature. I’ve taken each of the past Printz Award winners to my students, presented them, and watched the magic happen each year as the books win over the most indifferent, and the Printz Award grows in respect and admiration.

    Oh, to be on the committee that can work such magic with the perfect choice!

    Your vote for me will get a dedicated committee member, an in-the-trenches-library-teacher, a voracious reader, a trained and skilled reviewer, and an undying evangelist for the premier YA list. After reading all the comments of each of the candidates, I don’t see how you can go wrong with your vote. There will be a fantastic committee, and I’m honored to be considered.

  8. aalessio [Member] on April 20, 2006 at 10:02 am said:

    Posted by Amy Alessio from candidate Elizabeth Elam:

    A while back, probably ten years ago, I had the notion to “take a break” from ALA/YALSA committees. Never again! I felt as though I was in exile from my native land.Best Books for Young Adults was my first book committee, followed by Outstanding Books for the Collegebound-Fiction, the Margaret A. Edwards Award and being Chair of the Science Fiction Genre List.In Maryland, I was on the Books for the Beast Steering Committee for fouteen years. I am currently serving on two YALSA committees, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults and Professional Development.In addition, I was on the YALSA Board of Directors,1993-95, and the YALSA Liaison to the AASL Conference(Baltimore)1990-92.Educational and enlightening as the non-book committees have been, the book committees have been most valuable for increasing my skills and knowledge as a Young Adult Age-Level Specialist at a large public library. The most gratification comes from knowing I am doing what I do best, sharing knowledge and passion for books with others. My favorite genre is science fiction/fantasy, followed by humor and realistic fiction. I am currently entralled with Kenneth Oppel and Scott Westerfeld.I went to the Boston PLA last month just to see the man who wrote Airborn and am guiltily sneaking in Skybreaker midst the Popular Paperbacks prospecctive titles.I am delighted to have been nominated for the ballot for the 2008 Printz Committee.

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