Newbery Notes – Reading, Reading

It’s time for Newbery Notes – I’m blogging about the process of being on the Newbery committee – without mentioning ANY eligible books by name.

I’d hoped to do this weekly, but it’s going to fall off. I need to be reading! I need to be reading! That’s what life is now – a struggle to find time to read.

I got to go home three hours early today (because of working three hours on another day) – and I was very frustrated with myself that I took a nap. I did get in my regular two hours of reading (my current goal), but had hoped for extra.

Anyway, I’m also hoping to get this Newbery Notes post written! When I write these, I set the timer for one half-hour. However much I can write in that time is what will get posted.

No matter how much I read – the books I want to read are piling up faster. But the good part is that this is fun! I love to read! There are nice things about having to make my favorite activity a priority.

And tomorrow I get to visit a local middle school and talk about the Newbery with students! I’ve done this at several other schools, various grades, and it’s really fun. It’s impossible to disguise how excited I am about the process, and that comes across. If this gets kids all the more interested – that’s a super cool result of my committee service.

Now, the past couple weeks, I hadn’t received many books from publishers – then yesterday four different packages arrived, containing a total of 25 books! So now I have received a total of 151 books from publishers. And it is only April.

My reading totals are as follows:
Middle grade books: 77 books, 16,190 pages (9 not finished)
Young adult books: 27 books, 8,367 pages (2 not finished)
Picture books: 149 books, 5,648 pages

That comes to a total of 253 books and 30,205 pages. Oh, and one of those books was a reread. There will be a whole lot more of that as time goes on.

Let’s just say that the pile of books I need to read is a whole lot bigger than the pile of books I have read!

So that’s what I’m trying to do at this stage in the process: Read, read, read. Last weekend, I was finally able to do some out on my balcony! And of course my weekly Silent Book Club is an awesome way to get a couple hours in – with friends!

People ask if there is a list of eligible books. Nope. Any book published in English by an American publisher with an American author (citizen or resident) is eligible. So the job of the committee at this point is to read as much as we possibly can. We don’t want to miss wonderful books.

There’s also a suggestion process. All 15 committee members submit Suggestions each month to our committee chair. We’re submitting on the 15th of the month, so I just made my suggestions for April. When I get the list of books others have suggested, I will make sure I’ve read all of them. March was our first month making suggestions, and I was a happy that I’d read all of the suggested books – and agreed that almost all of them were worthy of consideration. (We’re going to have a good list!)

Did you know that ALSC (Association for Library Services to Children) can also make suggestions to the committee? We’ll read all suggested books. The ones suggested before ALA Annual conference in June we’ll discuss there – though our official decision won’t be made until January 2019.

And there’s my half-hour up. I’d better get back to reading!

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