Maureen Mann, a past judge and coordinator of the CBCA Book Awards, shares some personal strategies she employs when selecting titles on the Notables list. Maureen poses some pertinent questions to help you get started to engage with this wonderful array of titles and invites readers to share their own processes.
The Notables list was released Tuesday 25 February 2020 and I do hope you have already seen it. What are the Notables? They are the books which the judges have voted the best from the 517 entries into the 2020 Book of the Year Awards, organised into categories. Each list includes the shortlisted titles but they haven’t yet been announced. It also includes books which have strong merit in some way, but don’t quite reach the quality of the Short List. If you haven’t seen the Notables list yet, visit the CBCA website and explore the section under Book of the Year.
|Eve Pownall title.|
I was a little disappointed in how few I had read from any of the categories. So, now begins my search. How do I choose from this exciting list? My first place to look is Libraries Tasmania. I have to prioritise because I can’t place holds on everything I want.
|Older Readers title.|
This year, though the Picture Book category is my favourite genre, I started with Older Readers. I am always very aware of how much my choices are determined by the covers: design, colour, font and image. I know I am attracted by book covers which have a lot of blue, whether it be the font or the image. There are a lot of blue covers across all categories in this year’s Notables list. Are you aware of what attracts you, when faced with a shelf of titles? It’s even harder when all we can see is the spine. Font and colour become even more important. There are several Older Reader covers which just don’t appeal to me at all, but I recognise this bias in myself.
|Younger Readers title.|
When choosing what I place a hold on I like to try new authors, that is, the ones which are new to me. There are several well-known children’s authors included in the Notables list, but many new or relatively new authors too. How many authors on this year’s Notables list have you not read before? What titles do you think the judges should have included?
|Picture Book title.|
The Book of the Year Short Lists will be announced on 31 March 2020. It’s always fun to try to predict the judges’ decisions and then to work out how and why they made those choices. I know I will have my own short list before the official announcement. I also know I will be disappointed when my favourites have not been included. However, the process is rigorous, so I accept the decision. The ensuing debates are always interesting and good for Australian children’s literature.
|Early Childhood title.|
Which books do you think should be included on the Short List in each of the categories?
PS The covers shown are the 6th listed title in each category. No other reason!
Retired teacher librarian and avid reader
Editor’s note: Watch out for notification of forthcoming meetings to share your thoughts on the shortlisted titles and other notable favourites.