Book Awards

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.



6 thoughts on “Book Awards

  1. On Tuesday, the Ontario Library Association posted their list of nominees for Red Maple (fiction for gr 7 and 8 – winning book is voted by this age group). The list appeared (the OLA were having Internet issues on their end). I wish the nominated authors could have seen the excitement because their book was on the list and the disappointment that another favourite did not make the list! In May, we go to Toronto to attend the festivities when the favourite book is announced.

    There is more excitement about this than the Toronto Maple Leafs current winning streak!


  2. I think that often this award looks at a different side to children’s books than Newbery, so perhaps we should be glad The Real Boy was only honored, and hope that the Newbery committee does the “right” thing by it! I was hopeful too.


  3. But you know what, Colby? Awards have their influence, sure—BUT—don’t discount the power of “word of mouth” especially when those words come from people like you. You’re someone who reaches/touches many people—esPEcially your students. By you loving, talking about and promoting the books YOU love with SO much passion, that book will be read by more people and has already won a very special award: The Colby Sharp Book Lover Award 😀 And as I’ve said many times before—God only knows how many books are gems that, simply because they haven’t won awards, aren’t read by more people. So when we really LOVE a book, we need to spread the word 🙂

    Btw, GO TIGERS! 2-2 😀


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