This weekend at the conference, I have used the time between sessions and meetings to watch, and listen to the Notable Children’s Book Committee discussions.
The 12 eloquent and articulate members of this committee read, analyze, and discuss hundreds of children’s books. These books are then narrowed down to become the Notable Children’s Book list.
The discussion proceeds one title at a time, starting with a summary, followed by appreciations and then concerns. As an audience member it’s fascinating to listen to the discussion. The committee only has a few minutes to dedicate to each book, so the members are concise and focused in their comments. I noticed many members had organized binders full of notes on each title.
Only committee members are allowed to discuss the titles, and observers are required to be as quiet as possible. For me, this is particularly difficult with a title about which I feel very passionate, whether positively or negatively. Thankfully, someone on the committee almost always mentions the things I wish I could.
Taking time to visit the Notables discussion is always on my conference to-do list, and I highly suggest you add it to yours, too.