The first children's book carnival of 2008 is here! Visit Wizards Wireless for the January Carnival of Children's Literature: Book Awards. There are a lot of good things to read, but what I zeroed in upon immediately was Lisa Chellman's love/hate relationship with the Newbery awards. Chellman writes:
I’m also bothered by school assignments that send children to the library specifically for Newbery and Caldecott winners. Of course I want children to appreciate great literature along with whatever else they read. But teaching children that these winners are “the best” is a double-edged sword. Maybe they’ll gain appreciation for the craft of writing and illustration. Or maybe, when they struggle through one of the more difficult winners, they’ll wonder why they hate the “best” books so much. Maybe, they wonder, it’s because they’re bad readers. Maybe it's because they don't understand what makes a good book. Or maybe it's because adults just don't get it.
Inside my almost 36-year-old brain are vivid memories of what it was like to be a child at different ages. I know what I enjoyed reading, and I appreciated it when adults offered books that stretched me beyond my comfort level, but I resented it when adults said things to the effect of, "If you don't see any value in this book, then you need to examine what is wrong with your thinking." Wiser adults would have said, "You're not ready for this book at this time. Put it away and try it again later."