My Reading Resolution


I’m going to do it. I’m actually going to make a New Year’s Resolution, something I haven’t done for many years now, possibly because I’m a bit of a pessimist (no, a big pessimist) about the chance of keeping it. But my fellow Books Around the Table writers are coming up with writing resolutions of their own, so I’ve decided on a reading resolution. Here is what’s inspiring me: The upcoming American Library Association announcement of 2016 Youth Media medal winners and honor books. It happens on Monday, January 11, coming to us via live webcast from their midwinter conference in Boston.

My New Year’s Resolution is to read the winners (or honor books – my choice) in the following categories (explanations of what these categories represent can be found at this link): Caldecott (I’ll read the winner and all honor books for this),  Newbery, Sibert, Pura Belpre, Coretta Scott King, T.S. Geisel, Batchelder and Prinz. And I’ll read them some time before next year’s announcements are made. I’ve got 12 months to read approximately 12 books (well, in addition to other non-kid books that I’ll be reading.) This might just be the year I keep my resolution!!

Read, read, read – that’s the best advice a creative writing student can get. Read like a writer, read for techniques of structure, voice, pacing, setting, character-building. Read!  It’s time to follow my own advice. Speaking of time, the announcement webcast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time on Monday – easy for East Coasters, harder for those of us on the West Coast. The ALA is setting up a contest involving the time factor:


When I taught at Vermont College of Fine Arts, our winter residencies sometimes coincided with the ALA announcements; we held Mock Caldecott discussions, led by the divine Leda Schubert. If the announcements were being made on a residency day, we took a break from our tightly-packed schedules to watch and listen carefully, see how we did with our predictions, and either 1) dance a jig because a book we loved had been chosen or 2) stand silent and dumbfounded because a book we loved (and/or one that had gotten many starred reviews and/or had been mentioned in many Best Books of the Year lists) didn’t even get a nod. Committee-made decision are usually quirky, and committees making the choices for 2016 categories will no doubt run true to form.

I have some favorites but feel superstitious about mentioning them – bad luck follows? But here are some books bound to get the attention of the committees:


For the Newbery and the Sibert, maybe?  Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg & the Secret History of the Vietnam War

A big favorite for the Newbery, though, seems to be this one:


And for the Caldecott…?


April Chu for her illustrations of In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van…



The Night World by Mordecai Gerstein (a long shot…?)



so many other wonderful choices….

and I’ll be reading the ones that get chosen.

5 responses to “My Reading Resolution

  1. Excellent resolution, Julie. (I like resolutions that involve more pleasure.) I just finished Most Dangerous and it is edge-of-the-seat suspenseful and a powerful portrait of a painful moral shift. Sheinkin accumulates small details in a way that is an inspiring model for fiction as well as documentary.

    • Thanks for your comment, Sarah. So true, that having a resolution involving pleasure helps increase (by leaps, bounds, etc.) my chance of following through on it! I got Most Dangerous from the library before Christmas but had to return it unread – busy season! I look forward to getting it again and settling in for a thought-provoking read. Fingers crossed it will make it into winner or honor book status for the Newbery or Sibert.

      • Tonyia Vining

        I’m with you on this one Julie. I had just started Laura Amy Schlitz which pushed out my first choice of Kimberley Brubaker Bradleys “The War That Saved My Life” (I should have stuck with my first choice) when I saw your post. Now I’m torn. And hurrah for Portlander Victoria Jamieson! Shall we meet to discuss? I have also wanted to read ALL of the Newbery winners from the beginning.

  2. UPDATE!! Winners and honor books have been announced – Lots of surprises!! Oh, my gosh, Matt de la Pena’s picture book Last Stop on Market Street got the Newbery!! I taught with Matt for a couple of semesters at Vermont College of Fne Arts – he’s so sweet. PLUS it got a Caldecott honor for illustration. Unbelivable. (Most Dangerous got the YALSA Non-Fiction – and M.T. Anderson’s Symphony for the City of the Dead got a YALSA Non-Fiction Honor – hooray there….) And my sweet friend Rita Williams-Garcia got the Coretta Scott King!! There is much to celebrate this morning. Here’s a link to all the winners –

  3. Tonyia – YES, let’s get together and talk books! I didn’t see Hired Girl anywhere on the list, not even an Honor. That’s a shock. Must go back and read the announcement again…and double check.

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