An Argument with Myself: An ALSC Graphic Novel Award
Here we go again, Travis. An ALSC graphic novel award? I hate to tell you this, but you’re beating a dead horse.
Yeah, I know. A Fuse #8 Production had an excellent post talking about a graphic/illustrated novel award. Educating Alice had a great post (with a different perspective) too – but that was almost four years ago now (Edited to add: Jonathan Hunt talked about the topic more recently at the blog Calling Caldecott). Isn’t this still something people want? Shouldn’t we recognize the best this wholly different form of storytelling has to offer?
Allow me to deflate your dreams. I have a quiver full of DDAs (dream-deflating arrows). I don’t think this new award is happening.
Jeez, you have dream-deflating arrows?
First off, how many awards do you want? Adding one more award will make the Youth Media Awards spontaneously combust, ending them for all time. That’s what you want?
I think you’re exaggerating. Who cares if the ceremony takes 5 more minutes? Does one more award make a huge difference?
Secondly, we have a current award that sort of considers graphic novels – the Caldecott. And if that isn’t enough for you, the ALSC should change the Newbery or Caldecott criteria to open the awards up more to these types of books.
Yes, I know the Caldecott technically considers graphic novels, but it was created (and has specific language in the criteria) to recognize distinguished picture books. And as for the “change the Newbery or Caldecott criteria” comment, that’s like saying “we have an award for the best car of the year, but boats will also be considered.” It doesn’t work for me. The forms are too different.
Well, what about age range? Graphic novels run the age gamut. So you want to toss the latest Toon Book in with the latest Gene Luen Yang creation? You think that that will make sense?
It should follow the Schneider Family Book Award template – one award, broken into three age categories. Simple as that.
It’s too difficult to tell what a graphic novel is these days. As soon as you create an award, there will be a bunch of books that don’t quite fall into the “graphic novel” basket that will be crying foul – illustrated novels in particular.
Look, I say the award should be for graphic novels. Pictures in panels. But perhaps the criteria for this new award can also include illustrated novels as well.
Graphic novels are a huge category of their own these days. If, down the road, another form emerges that is as clearly different and defined as graphic novels, then give it an award as well.
Quiver of dream-deflating arrows empty. You didn’t convince me.
Okay. See you again in four years.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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