With yesterday’s announcements it is easy to think that we are now done with 2010 books and on to those of 2011. But not so fast. This year’s Battle of the Kids Books (more commonly known as the BoB) is revving up! The contenders were finalized in December, the judges are all in place, a new blog in the works, and an official announcement is forthcoming any day now. Just as there were surprises galore at yesterday’s Youth Media Awards press conference, count on a few when the BoB’s 2011 list of contenders is unveiled. While waiting (and it won’t be long now, I promise!) do check out last year’s blog for more on how it all works. For example, from the BoB FAQ, here’s how we come up with the list:
Each year Monica, Roxanne, and Jonathan start emailing each other in the fall with numerous versions of the list of contenders. The first year, even before we made up our long list, we spent a lot of time considering criteria. For example, how would a picture book fare against a YA novel? Recognizing that there had to be some form of unity among the books on the roster we decided that the “fairest” thing was to select titles for a similar audience (middle grade, middle school, and high school readers). Once that was settled we spent many weeks working on a very long list that was winnowed down to the final 16 contenders in early December.
As to which titles finally are included each year – we won’t bore you with the details of the dozens of emails and negotiations between the three of us. Suffice it to say that we look both objectively and subjectively, considering fan favorites, awards, stars, and our own critical views, keeping in mind that no matter which two books are paired together no single title can be an obvious winner.
Of course, as is inevitable when such a list is made, blood is shed; each of the three of us has had to leave behind favorites on this particular battlefield, but we always end up pleased with the range and diversity of the final list.