Tag Archives: William C. Morris Debut Award Committee

Happy Book Birthday

24 Aug

On Tuesday, along with other members of the Beaverton Education Association executive board members, I attended a district event for new teachers. We greeted them, provided coffee, snacks and swag, and our president told them about how the union works. While handing out swag, we veteran teachers reminisced about teachers we’d mentored and how we feel like part of their family.

It is not unlike being a member of YALSA’s William C. Morris Committee. I feel as though I have a connection to the five authors we chose as finalists, and that is why I am excited to tell you that it is the book birthday of one of those authors.

Stephanie Oakes’ second novel, The Arsonist,  was released this week!

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Publisher’s Summary: Code Name Verity meets I Am the Messenger in this riveting YA novel from Morris Award finalist Stephanie Oakes, in which three points of view are woven together in a story that’s part Cold War mystery, part contemporary coming-of-age, and completely unputdownable.

This is a complex story. As each character narrates, your mind is trying to figure out how it all works. Oakes is crafty, telling us just enough from one character’s point of view in a chapter, then switching to another – a move that kept me reading.
Like her previous book, The Secret Lies of Minnow Bly,  the ending isn’t necessarily a happy one. But it is maybe the most realistic outcome we can hope for in a work of fiction.
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Mid-August Morris Update

17 Aug

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been on a reading blitz to read as many Morris eligible books as I can before school starts. Although school doesn’t begin officially until September 8th, I’ve already been back a few days. This week, I have a 4 day writing workshop with the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. Staff have to be back on August 30th for Inservice week and I will probably go in to unpack boxes and begin setting up my new classroom the week in between.

So, is my current Morris status.

I have read 50 books. Each eligible book needs two readers, so I haven’t read everything on out master list. My piles have become even more organized!

Here are the stacks of books we have yet to discuss. The tallest pile on the left are the books I have read. The other two piles are books other people have read, or have committed to reading.

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Th two out from are still in need of at least one more reader. That pile used to be bigger, but we are all hunkering down to get as much read as we can.

In addition to the books on the list, all committee members must read all books, that have been nominated. I have read a number of these but still have a few more to go.

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The pile on the left is actually 2 stacks: nominees I’ve read are behind, nominees I still need to read are in front. (I deliberately tried to keep the titles in this photo illegible) The pile to the right are books I’ve signed up to read but haven’t yet. That is down to six. Our next online meeting is scheduled for August 31st and I hope to have most of these six read, especially the ones for which I am the second reader. That will give us more titles to discuss.

The master list is a work in progress. New titles get added as we become aware of them, so my stacks and piles are also in a continuous state of flux. All in all it is rather exciting.

Keeping Secrets #SOL15

11 Mar

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I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. But this one is hard.

I am on the 2016 William C. Morris Debut Award Committee, which selects ” a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature”. I am honored and thrilled to be doing it. But I can’t share much of my joy.

I can’t tell you what I’ve read, though I can tell you I’ve read 6 books so far.

I can’t tell you what I thought of those books.

I can’t tell you which book I’m reading now.

I can’t tell you the titles of books publishers have sent me.

And I have to keep not telling you until December, when the committee announces the five finalists we’ve selected.

Until January 11, 2016 when the committee’s decision is announced along with the Newbery and Caldecott Awards.

I have to keep it all top secret.

It is hard.

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