Behind the locked door – finale
Posted by lpearle on 28 January 2013
It’s over. By now, you know which of our five finalists won the Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award. What you don’t know is how it all happened.
When I last posted, the committee had just decided on the shortlist of five finalists. That was November, and since then we (the committee) have reread, rereread, rerereread (etc) those books, pondering the pros and cons of each. Can this perceived flaw negate that wonderful quality? Does this amazing story overcome a lack in another area? Is this the perfect book? HOW CAN I CHOOSE???
And, of course, because there’s an announced shortlist there is time for others – many others – to comment. How much weight do you give to the extra input? Some pointed out things that we noticed and commented on in our discussions, some found things we’d overlooked. Trying to ignore all that to form an opinion in a vacuum is impossible but….
The meeting last Saturday was long and draining. We sat in our locked room, copies of the books on the table. Each was examined again, with passionate discussions about all the wonderful qualities and equally passionate discussions about the concerns (over trim size, or photo layout, or paper quality, or writing style, or… or…). Often someone would say “I loved loved loved this book because….” only to say “this disappointed me because….” about the same book!
When all the books had been discussed, we voted. It was close, but (as you now know) we chose this one:
(Angela putting the gold Winner medal on Bomb)
I’ll miss the books, the committee and the weight of responsibility. The takeaway for all award committee members is that you have such an appreciation for the work the committees do and the difficulty they have reading so many books so critically.