Fuse #8

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dude, Where's My Review?

I am on the Newbery committee.

I didn't want to bring this up before, but I figure I should be honest with you. I am on the Newbery committee and I'm a blogger, a fact that has been causing a lot of heretofore unforeseen and interesting difficulties.

This was initially not a problem, but after much thought and debate it has been decided that I should remove all my reviews that speak of potential Newbery candidates. As you know, I've been doing a Review a Day for about a year now so... that's a lot of reviews. If you are an author who has linked to my review of your Newbery contending title, I apologize but that review is about to go poof! I'll be a little busy for the next couple of days, so be patient with me. The rest of the year I will primarily review 2007 titles, picture books, overseas titles, and the like.

I apologize if this is an inconvenience for any of you.

24 Comments:

At 8:58 AM , Blogger MotherReader said...

I kinda wondered about that. I think your decision is a good one, although a loss for the those great books. I suppose you could put the reviews back after January.

As much as I appreciate your middle grade book reviews, I far more appreciate your role of the Newbery committee. It means that maybe, just maybe, the bunny book won't win.

 
At 9:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard a Awards panel presentation at a conference last weekend with Mary Bauer, Marilita Freeny, Caroline Parr, Deborah Taylor and Fran Ware, and thought of you, wondering when you'd get your turn. :)

I know there is a confidentiality agreement, but at some point next winter, I hope you'll share some of your experiences (even if you can't share the contents of the discussion, of course).

 
At 10:09 AM , Anonymous jules said...

Bummer. But, yes, please consider putting the reviews back after January. Love being able to access them.

I am happy you'll focus on picture books a while, though, as your reviews are always thorough and I gotsa have my picture books. Speaking of thorough, thanks for the 'Wolves' review. Because it covers all of the book's greatnesses, I just might direct our readers to your review (was going to review it myself). The book's so good that it almost hurts. Ow.

 
At 10:32 AM , Blogger Walt said...

There's also that tricky feature of the web: Once published, you can't really disappear those reviews. They're cached all over the place...
Still, you're doubtless doing the right and necessary thing for primary access to the reviews. And can, presumably, repost them all after Midwinter.

 
At 10:35 AM , Anonymous elizabeth fama said...

You'll add a great voice to that committee.

 
At 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have time to answer this, Fuse, I'd greatly appreciate it. There is much debate in my writing circle over what the Newbery Committee looks for in a book. I have two points that I have often wondered about:

1. Many Newbery books are tragic somehow, usually involving death (often of parents). Is this just a strange coincidence?

2. Most Newbery books appeal strongly to adults. I've often heard mainstream readers in this age group say that Newbery books are "boring". Do you choose based solely on your adult perspective of the book, or do you consider feedback you've received from children as well?

Love your blog! Thanks for sharing with us :~)

 
At 11:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why Fuse,

Congratulations! That is news.

Katherine

 
At 11:47 AM , Blogger Roger Sutton said...

Fuse, I don't understand your reasoning. (But then, you really haven't shared it with us, and there's a suspicious use of the passive voice there ;-). Speaking as an incoming member of the Caldecott committee, I have no intention of holding my tongue on next year's picture books. Reviewers have long been members of the ALA award committees and there is no rule--and no reason--that forbids any member from comment, published or otherwise, on new books. You just can't share committee deliberations. Your opinions remain your own, to do with what you will.

 
At 12:52 PM , Blogger Elaine Magliaro said...

I'm with Roger! After all, you have already written your reviews of the books. Many of us have read them--and suggested that others read them. It seems a shame to have your reviews of particular books "disappeared"--as if somehow they never existed, as if somehow you had never expressed an opinion about them.

 
At 1:00 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Roger, you noted the passive voice. Well done. I'll e-mail you privately about the matter. And while I appreciate the support, this was a decision made after a great deal of debate. More info with come in time.

As you all can probably tell, I'm in an odd and shaky position. So as much as I'd like to gab about Newbery comings and goings, I think I'll keep my lips zipped tight for the time being. We'll see.

As for Anonymous's questions about what the Newbery committee looks for in a book, I know what you're saying. As a child the amount of depressing Newbery winners would regularly crush my tiny soul into a fine silt-like powder. However, let's look at some of the more recent wins. "Criss Cross", "The Tale of Despereaux", and books like "Holes" and "Bud Not Buddy" could be categorized as many things but not, in general, depressing. I feel that the older winners fit this model far better than the recent wins.

As for the adult perspective, the committee really does make an effort to get feedback from kids. I know that in my experience I've been using the homeschooler bookgroup I run as a very small test sample for some of the books I'm unsure of. Everyone has their own methods, but there really is an effort to get books that walk that delicate line between "good" and "something a kid might actually read". Fall too far one way and you get the Quill Awards. Fall too far another and you end up with your stereotypical depressing book written for the upper end of the 14-year-old spectrum.

 
At 1:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm a Newbery junkie, and it's quite fun to see which reviews you've deleted to try to get an idea of the real Newbery short list.

 
At 1:28 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Ha HA! Nice try, but the only reason I'm not getting rid of picture books is that I was told that they could stay. Trust me, it's all going. Whether I like the book or not.

 
At 2:00 PM , Blogger Roger Sutton said...

So I guess this means that picture books are NOT eligible for the Newbery. I hope Nancy Willard has hidden her medal deep in an undisclosed location.

 
At 2:48 PM , Anonymous Susan said...

Ooh, ooh, oooh, I know one you took down. I was going to link it this afternoon. Mum's the word.

And, congrats for being on the New-one-R-bery committee. That's cool.

 
At 2:55 PM , Blogger Little said...

Congrats! :)

 
At 8:17 PM , Anonymous Franki said...

I am just thrilled to know that you are on the Newbery Committee. Probably a good decision to delete the reviews. Lucky for me, I keep up with your blog every day. I've actually purchased MANY of the books that you've recommended. Who knows...maybe this year, we'll meet our goal at A YEAR OF READING, of having read the Newbery book before it is announced. Enjoy the committee!

 
At 9:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this have anything to do with Readerville?

(Understand if you can't say anything more. I just thought it interesting that you were mentioned at RV and then you posted this.)

 
At 10:09 AM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Was I? No, I have no ties to Readerville. Hadn't even realized I was mentioned there until you told me.

 
At 1:48 PM , Blogger Nancy said...

What a great thing to be on the committee! Looking forward to seeing the reviews come back in 2007, but in the meantime, ENJOY!!

 
At 4:11 PM , Anonymous eisha said...

First: Major, huge congratulations! That. Is. So. Cool. You give me hope.

Second: Does this mean you can't post any new reviews of MG/YA books until midwinter?

 
At 4:44 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Yup. Nuthing more until the January meeting. Sorry, m'lovelies.

Actually, I may do a 2007 title just for kicks now and then. But that's it.

 
At 4:46 PM , Blogger jmslsu01 said...

Yes-there was a link to your Edward Tulane review, and there was a question about your review vis a vis being on the committee. Right before you posted this. I assumed there was a connection-maybe not.

(Didn't mean to post anon last time.)

 
At 8:16 PM , Anonymous eisha said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11:13 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 

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