It’s time to hear from election candidates again – this time those running for the Margaret A. Edwards award committee in 2010.

Candidates are: Terry Beck, Roxy Ekstrom, Kathie Fitch, Cathy Lichtman, Mary Anne Nichols, and Maren Ostergard.

First, tell us a little about yourself.

How do you decide if a book is a “window to the world” for young adults?

What strategies would you use to help the group achieve consensus on a winner?

What new, ineligible author do you think might make a great MAE winner in the far future? (Remember that eligible books must have been printed 5+ years prior to the current award year.)

Thanks for sharing your answers with the membership!
Erin Downey Howerton, MAE committee member 2008

3 Thoughts on “Meet the 2010 Edwards Award committee candidates!

  1. Mary Anne Nichols [Visitor] on March 4, 2008 at 7:50 pm said:

    Tell us about yourself.
    I am a full-time faculty member at the Kent State University School of Library and Information Science where I teach classes on Library Services to Young Adults, School-Age Children, and Marketing the Library, a course which I designed. I also teach workshops on Young Adult literature and non-print materials. In addition, I advise students specializing in young adult and public library services. My husband, Allen, and I co-edit a series called the Libraries Unlimited Professional Guides for Young Adult Librarians. My book, Merchandising Library Materials to Young Adults, was published as part of that series. I formerly worked for a public library system as a children’s and teen services specialist. I also enjoy working out, spending time with my husband and children and being active in their school.

    How do you decide if a book is a “window to the world” for Young Adults?
    I consider a book’s ability to reinforce a teen’s role (whether large or small) in society. The teen books that remain with me long after I have turned the last page are those that speak to their audience in an authentic teen voice. The characters have to be real so that teens can relate to them. The plot must keep the reader engaged and make him or her think about the bigger picture of life and how he or she fits in to it. No matter the genre or setting, whether it ends neat and tidy or sad, yet hopeful, these main points make a book enjoyable and award-worthy to me.

    What strategies would you use to help the group achieve consensus on a winner?
    I think a committee member needs to be open to ideas and discussion, while making sure that his or her own ideas and concerns are heard. I realize that committee work requires some give and take, so participation is key while listening and responding to other points of view.

    What new, ineligible author do you think could make a great Margaret A. Edwards award winner in the future?
    Patricia McCormick for Sold. This haunting book brought to light a serious subject that many teens do not realize exists. While I ached along with Lakshmi, I saw spots of hope. Many teens experience similarly tormented lives, and while their situations may not be as drastic, it is just as serious in their minds. There are many deep lessons to be learned from reading this and I think it begs for serious discussion and thought among teens.

  2. Terry Beck [Visitor] on March 5, 2008 at 3:53 pm said:

    First, tell us a little about yourself.
    I’m the Manager of Readers & Information Services for Adults and Teens for a two-county library district just north of Seattle. I’m a lifelong reader who still fondly remembers the Beany Malone series that I read (and reread) in grade school. As a mom, I read what my daughters read and tried to act as a guide for their reading, while admitting that they had much broader tastes than I. It’s a joy to discover that I raised readers! I served on the ALEX Award committee as administrative assistant, as a committee member, and as chair and I miss those discussions so much. My husband and I live in Seattle and when I’m not reading, I’m in the garden.

    How do you decide if a book is a “window to the world” for young adults?
    I think that you have to learn more about the world that you’re opening up and what world your readers know. Is their reading experience going to resonate somewhere, sometime. I don’t look for the immediate connection because sometimes it takes a while for it all to sink in. And you have to learn to talk about what you read.

    What strategies would you use to help the group achieve consensus on a winner?
    Listening to each other and keeping the dialogue open and free-flowing are critical things. This is a decision that everyone has to feel comfortable with and it can take time to reach that point.

    What new, ineligible author do you think might make a great MAE winner in the far future? (Remember that eligible books must have been printed 5+ years prior to the current award year.)

    Oh my gosh! Sherman Alexie for The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I’ve always known that he was a YA writer and now he does too!

  3. Roxy Ekstrom [Visitor] on March 12, 2008 at 1:19 pm said:

    Tell us about yourself.
    I have made the Youth Services Department of the Schaumburg Township District Library (suburban Chicago) my second home for almost 20 years. I am currently the Collection Development Librarian, my dream job, as I oversee the ordering for all areas of the YS collection and catalog the non-fiction materials. Between library careers I spent many years teaching HS English and cannot quite get over my cravings for YA literature. To help feed that I review for VOYA and speed read as much new fiction as possible.

    How do you decide if a book is a “window to the world” for young adults?
    The starting point is my own reaction to the book. Are the characters believable, is the story line plausible, have I learned something, does it make me think, and do I really care? If the answer to all the questions is yes, there is a good chance it will resonate with YA readers, too.

    What strategies would you use to help the group achieve consensus on a winner?
    Good conversation with lots of give and take and careful listening. Reliance on thoughtful questioning. And, foremost, always keeping an open mind.

    What new, ineligible author do you think might make a great MAE winner in the far future? (Remember that eligible books must have been printed 5+ years prior to the current award year.)
    I have been mentally juggling four authors to come up with a choice for this question. My answer today would be Jordan Sonnenblick for Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie. He is right on target for YAs and probably should be required reading for their parents, too.

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