In February we are posting interviews with each of the 2012 Candidates for YALSA’ Award Committees. This week we are focusing on the’ Margaret A. Edwards Award’ Committee. Each day this week we’ll post an interview with one of the candidates for’ that committee. We are posting alphabetically by candidate’s last names.

The YALSA Nominating Committee for 2012 has been working hard to select candidates’ for this year’s election. The Edwards Committee is charged with honoring an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award recognizes an author whose book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young adults as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives. The book or books should enable them to understand themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationship with others and with society. To see more about this committee, please see their policies and procedures’ here. Committee size: 5, three to be elected, plus two appointed by the YALSA President-Elect.

This is your chance to get to know this year’s candidates that have been nominated to’ serve on the Edwards Committee.

Julie Roach is a candidate for the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee.


What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for the award position for which you are running?
I have had three incredible and extremely varied experiences on award committees (Boston Globe/Horn Book; Caldecott; and Geisel, chair). ‘ I also teach a graduate course in children’s and young adult literature where we do author studies and I truly enjoy considering and discussing an author’s body of work with a group.

Why do you want to be a member of this awards committee?
I love this idea of honoring an author in this way. ‘ I think this award is very special for young adult literature and for YALSA. ‘ Young adult literature evolves so quickly, but this award really helps define and pay tribute to a meaningful canon.

What are you most looking forward to in being a part of this award decision process?
I think that is what I am looking forward to most—being a part of it! ‘ Also I am excited by the prospect of considering outside the focus of the current year and really thinking about what has made a lasting impact.

What do you feel are the key factors for decision-making for this award?
History and longevity and how these play with the present. ‘ What authors and books have continued to reach teen readers over the course of time? ‘ Who do we recognize as having had and continuing to have an important place on the shelf?

The reading load for awards committees is very high, how do you plan on managing the work load of award committee life?
It’s important to stay organized and not procrastinate… and plan to sleep less! ‘ I think preparing for and expecting this to own a big piece of one’s life is an important part of it too.

What have you learned from past experiences on awards, juries, or other YALSA committees that you will bring with you to this committee?
I have learned that each experience is both incredibly different and amazing! ‘ But the things I’ve found to be consistently important are listening, keeping an open mind, and working as a team. ‘ Also, aside from good notes, I think the most important thing to bring is a solid sense of humor!

In your experience how has the YALSA Awards and Selected Lists helped you as a librarian or made your work better or easier or different than expected?
Serving youth in a busy public library, I think what the YALSA Awards and Selected Lists do for me is give leverage. ‘ It supports and champions literature for young adults on a grander scale–this body of work is important, it is valuable, and it is honored.

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