Monday, January 22, 2007

opinion time

Okay, it doesn't take me long before I just can't help myself.

Newbery--A graphic novel as a winner? Huh? AWESOME! Way to go committee!!!

Caldecott--Why oh why does the same book essentially win over and over again? Wiesner (just like Eric Carle) is essentially making the same book over and over again. Does he need to keep winning for the same thing? Can't the committee come up with something more fresh and original?

I'm going to now call out for a NEW AWARD. It will be an award for something NEW FRESH ORIGINAL DIFFERENT. That's what we need! Stop awarding the same people for the same things.

Meghan (who doesn't care if she's an author and illustrator and shouldn't publicly voice her opinion--she is anyway!)

p.s - these opinions are only those of Meghan's and not the rest of the BRG


Courtney Pippin-Mathur said...

Flotsam is a beautifully illustrated book (and I love Tuesday) but it would be nice if an illustrator could only win once. I think it becomes a bit redundant when the same illustrator wins 3 times.

Anonymous said...

American Born Chinese for the Printz.

Meghan, did you see that a graphic style picture book won a Sibert Honor? To Dance, by Sienna and Mark Seigel.


Blue Rose Girls said...

Ooops, I got my awards mixed up. Ignore me.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you did. I never would. Well, I might now that you've broken the ice.


Grace Lin said...

I love David Wiesner's work, but I was sad to see that talents like Julie Paschkis, Sylvia Long and others are still ignored. I hope someday they will get the recognition they deserve. Oh, I forgot to add Meghan Mccarthy, Anna Alter and Linda Wingerter to that list...

Overall, other than being green-bean with envy, I was really happy with the newbery picks. Not a one that made me flinch and bemoan the future fate of a very depressed young reader.

And, I think ALIENS ARE COMING was robbed of the Sibert!

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to realize that 17 out of the last 20 Caldecott awards went to Men!
Every conference I have been to, their are wayyyy
more women than men.
Isn't that a curious statistic?


alvinaling said...

Laura, that little tidbit has definitely not gone unnoticed by some people over the years. I'm not sure what to make of it, but I'd love people to discuss it!

Anonymous said...

David Wiesner is amazing, of course, but this was so entirely predictable, as always. My feeling is that the winners are always deserving, to be sure, but that the committee is perennially wowed by (their understanding of) technique.

Before the announcement I was thinking of ALIENS, or a quiet book like FLETCHER AND THE FALLING LEAVES - both so fresh and wonderfully in sync with the stories that they are telling - and I felt annoyed knowing that books like this are rarely honored by
the Caldecott.

gail said...

I have to respectfully disagree with Meghan. I think “Flotsam” is a near perfect picture book. I think it is a deserving book for this award. I know it’s annoying when someone wins more than once, but the guy is a conceptual genius. (I say say near perfect because, although I love concept books and the whole "wordless" thing, I find wordless PB difficult to read to children. Great for kids to read on their own, but I miss the lyrical sound of words, and the interaction when “reading” a story.)

I think that Kadir Nelson is a great pick. I love his work. There is so much emotion in it. He has a quality that reminds me of a modern day Rockwell. I haven't seen “Gone Wild: an Endangered Animal Alphabet” by David McLimans yet, but the cover does look cool.

That being said, I think there are tons of other “genius” PB’s out there that very well could have won this honor. (I was secretly rooting for “Dear Fish” by Chris Gall!) Judging is always so subjective. To quote an AD friend, it’s all about “dumb luck”. I went to a presentation a few years ago (the year “My Friend Rabbit” won) given by a librarian who was on the judging committee. I was so surprised to hear that the judges, for an art based competition, do not all have a background in art.

On the topic of men in the field, I’ve noticed too that out of the small number of men that pursue this field, a higher number of them are successful at it. Is it just a numbers thing?!!!


Little Willow said...

I also want a book to be TRULY fresh and original - not just doing something for the sake of selling it, or because it's a hot topic, trendy, etc etc. Something that is a fresh take on an older storyline, or something that is truly, wholly new.

Blue Rose Girls said...

Here's what I think part of the problem is. People who aren’t' trained in the arts are easily wowed by realism. Speaking as someone who can do it quite well I must say that it's actually easier to do! For me, if I'm using photo references, it's a no brainier. I copy what's in front of me and that's it. Of course Wiesner's pictures are creative but I think it's odd for him to repeatedly win for the same concept. Nothing fresh is being done. I don't see how one can say otherwise.

Another thing I've noticed is that the winners are almost always well known (no one too "green" wins these things). Oftentimes the winner (not this year but in past years) is a well-known illustrator who has changed his style (I'm saying "his"' because it's safe to do so.)

What the book industry needs is a panel of judges who KNOW ART but are NOT directly connected to the PB world. From what I’ve seen with some of the other awards, I think there's too much politics involved (favors and that sort of thing). I would pick a panel of editorial illustrators mixed with some well known and respected art teachers from the best schools... perhaps some animation people too... and a few well known painters. These people would have to know and respect kids' books but would not be in the field themselves. I think if there was an award with those sorts of judges then we WOULD get something new and fresh! I guarantee it.


Grace Lin said...

>panel of judges who KNOW ART but are NOT directly connected to the PB world

I don't know if I agree with this. Politics do play a part on who gets rewarded, but it's unfortnately like that in this industry (just ask a fine artist trying to get into a gallery). I think you have to have judges familiar with picturebooks because it is an artform unlike all others. The storytelling ability, the flow, understanding how well somthing intergrates with the words are things only people familiar with picturebooks truly understand. I personally think a better panel of judges would be a mixture of librarians and a couple of respected picturebook artists (heck, let David Wiesner be a judge). That way you have the balance of a trained artist who can really discern artistic techniques and innovative AND you have the people who understand the book in the entirety and its effect on their target audience.

Greg Pincus said...

I'd disagree that the Caldecott should be judged by folks who don't know picturebooks. It's not an award for art alone, after all. I know that I wouldn't want my picturebook texts judged by my screenwriting peers, even though they know how to write, often brilliantly. But they aren't familiar with how picturebook text and images work together and how that impacts the writing, for example. Makes a big difference.

Blue Rose Girls said...

I wasn't talking about the Caldecott! I meant (but probably didn't explain properly) that I'd like to see an award just for the art and judged by artists... and every book would be equally judged whether it got a starred review or not. The Society or Illustrators has something similar but lots of kids' book people are judges and I think that makes things a tad messy.