ALA Annual Conference 2021

Notable Notables

Beginning this year’s ALA Annual with the Notable Children’s Books Committee discussions was the perfect prelude to a well-rounded conference experience!  As the conference continued, I was able to apply the framework used for high-quality children’s book evaluations to view the subsequent sessions through a lens of relevancy to children’s publishing.  And it was a delightful highlight for me to recognize authors and illustrators during the conference whose work had been discussed in the Notables! 

This round of summer discussions by the committee was the beginning of a year’s worth of critical evaluation of children’s books by the Chair, Alex Bell, and the rest of the 2022 Notable Children’s Books Committee. As committee member April Roy pointed out, these sessions were shorter than the traditional all-afternoon meetings but the virtual format allowed for the discussions to be expanded to a diverse audience. Now, teachers, parents, future authors and illustrators can access and learn from these discussions about quality children’s books.  

The critical discussions could be kind of intense and I noticed they required a lot of focus to keep up with the skilled evaluators. I was grateful for the handout to follow along. One thing the committee did to keep things fun and light was to wave a stuffed animal or puppet on their Zoom screens when they were nodding in agreement or wanting to show a speaker that they were right there with them. Committee members have explained not only does that allow for some interaction among the committee, but it also provides upbeat feedback for the speaker.  

Photo caption: a glimpse of the stuffies at #alaac21 from home

If you’re wondering what books librarians are talking about as we enter the second half of 2021, check out the Children’s Notables discussion lists. Thanks to the Children’s Notables committees for their continued hard work!


Nicole Powell is finishing up her second year on ALSC’s Membership Committee. She is the North Branch Supervisor at Berkeley Public Library and a previous 2016 Caldecott Selection Committee member.  Contact her at npowell@cityofberkeley.info. Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC. 


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies:  IV. Collection Knowledge and Management and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

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