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Posts Tagged ‘Hans Christian Andersen Awards’

In putting together library collections, we often rely on tools like award lists to inform and justify our selections—to assert that a particular book is ‘worthy’ of purchase and circulation. This is especially true for  international YA with its paucity of available and updated subject guides.

In previous posts, I looked at a variety of prizes such as: international YA awards (like the Batchelder Awards, the IBBY Honor List, and The White Ravens), general YA awards (like the ALA Alex and Printz Awards), genre awards (like the René Goscinny Comics Prize), and region specific prizes (like the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Lit and the Davitts for Australian mysteries).

However, what are the consequences of depending on these lists to represent international YA in the library – how comprehensive are they, and do they cover a range of topics and/or popular reading?

There has been some research into the disjuncture between what is award winning and what is popular amongst children and young adults. Ujie and Krashen (2006) found that Newbery or Caldecott award winners often circulated considerably less in the library than bestselling or popular titles (pp. 33).

So what does this mean for international YA in the library?

Broadly speaking, this has 2 impacts:

  1. Genre books like manga and graphic novels are most often always left off these lists (except for genre awards like the Goscinny) – in spite of their extreme popularity with international teens, especially manga in Japan and graphic novels in Europe
  2. Popular ‘light reads’ like humor or fantasy are often similarly left off in favour of more serious tomes on war and violence that tend to get labelled with ‘the best’ labels in far greater number — note the large number of WWII award winning YA novels for example

So my recommendation for international YA…?

Commit to going beyond award lists. They are great starting points but do not capture all the variety of popular reading world wide. Instead compliment award lists with publishers’ catalogues (I have linked some good ones in the toolbar on the right under the archives section), librarian booklists and corresponding subject guides (like Susan Stan’s The World Through Children’s Books (2002) which, while it doesn’t explicitly focus on YA titles, does include a good number as Stan defines ‘children’ up to the ages of 16) to get a more complete picture of international YA.

Because award list do tend to recognize what they define as ‘the best’…and leave out the rest.

And coming in my next post…international YA booklists.

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References:

  • Ujie, J. and Krashen, S. (January/February 2006). Are Prize-winning Books Popular among Children? An Analysis of Public Library Circulation. Knowledge Quest. 34(3), 33-35.

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