Earlier today, the National Book Award announced the finalists for their book awards. I really wanted Anne Ursu’s The Real Boy to be named a finalist. I mean, I REALLY wanted it to be named the finalist. I went so far as to think about how I could find a way to stop in New York City on my way to NCTE (Boston) to attend the National Book Award ceremony. It is an invitation only event, but I had managed to figure out a bunch of ways in which I would be able to sneak in. None of them legal.
When I learned that The Real Boy wasn’t named a finalist I felt physically sick. My heart was sad. Anne’s book is brilliant and I want to see it win all the awards and make every “best books” list.
I have only read 3 of 10 books that made the National Book Award short list. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of desire to read the other 7 books nominated. Does this make me unqualified to say that the NBA committee made the wrong choice in leaving The Real Boy off their list of finalist? Probably, but that isn’t the point. Just because I don’t watch every college football game doesn’t mean I can’t be bummed with the player from my favorite team doesn’t win the Heisman Trophy.
The point here is that I have fallen deeply for a book. I care enough about this book that it hurts me that it might not be read as much because it was left off a list.
I want reading to become as much a part of my students lives as Duck Dynasty, Minecraft, and the Detroit Tigers.
I want them to debate about which books are better, like they debate over whether Michigan or Michigan State is better.
I want them to be disappointed when their book doesn’t win the Newbery, and I want them to celebrate when it does.
Book awards give us an opportunity to celebrate, champion, and promote the books we love. Even though The Real Boy isn’t a National Book Award finalist, I’m feeling thankful that I had the opportunity to celebrate the book today.