"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Thursday, November 17, 2011

To read old award books or not?

Several years ago I decided to read all the past Printz Award and Honor books. At the time I had read none of them and started down the list with great zeal. Now, six years later, that zeal for reading the past winners has waned, though, over the years, I have completed 41 out of 57 of them. So I've done pretty well. When I began I was a "beginning" librarian and eager to read as many good YA books as I could to make recommendations to my students. I still am, and I read all the current winners, but I must admit to souring a bit on past books because kids want to read the latest and greatest. And I want to stay current and do my best to be familiar with what is available for teen now.

It sounds like I am talking myself out of completing my goal to read ALL Printz award books.  In fact I was darn near that decision until I picked up Carolyn Mackler's book The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things this week and consumed it in two sittings. (Yes, I was reading at work. And yes, I had other things I was supposed to be doing.  But, hey, don't you think reading should be part of a librarian's job description?)
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.-Book summary in library catalog.
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things was a Printz Honor book in 2004. Even though there are dated examples of computer usage in the story they aren't distracting enough to wreck the plot. The story is as fresh, funny, poignant, original, relevant, and encouraging in 2011 as I'm sure it was in 2004. This book deserves the award that it won and it deserves to be read and appreciated by teens today. Fortunately for this book the title is an invitation to kids looking for a funny, lighthearted read and it is often checked out. But what about older award books without clever titles?  Hmm...I think I will still continue with my quest to attempt to read all the Printz books. I have found very few that I didn't think were worth the effort.

P.S. For my high school librarian, blogging friends: I created a lesson plan for an English teacher where the kids were required to read an award book. Their graded assignment related not only to the book but to the award.  The teacher dropped in a few days ago and exclaimed that the kids were really responding positively to it.  If you want a copy of my lesson to try at your school, email me at work: abennett(AT)bethelsd(dot)org.


  1. I love this book! I read it when it first came out as a college student and really enjoyed it.

  2. I do love it when I get a little time to read at work in the library. I figure I am being a good role model for the students!


I look forward to your comments and interactions! Join in the conversation.