For the past few weeks, I have been a member of the ALSC online education course called “The Newbery Medal: Past, Present, and Future.” This is the first time that I have taken advantage of ALA’s continuing education courses, and I have to say that I couldn’t be more pleased.
The virtual class was taught by K.T. Horning, who is the director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been involved all over ALA, and will be delivering the 2010 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Needless to say, we were in good hands!
Over the six weeks that the course was in session, we read at least 9 Newbery winners of our own choosing, along with course guest, and Newbery winner Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard. We also read many articles questioning and championing the Newbery Award dating back from the 1920s.
All of the reading was very rewarding, of course, and I did find some new favorites that I had overlooked in the past. But the true beauty of the course was the dialogue that went on in the “forums.” This is where class participants would rant and rave about certain titles, try to puzzle out the elusive idea of “distinguished”, and make connections with each other. It was refreshing since there were many points of view, and few titles had participants in full agreement.
I highly recommend taking advantage of the classes that ALSC is offering virtually. I certainly learned a lot, made some great professional connections, and had quite a bit of fun!