Saturday, July 31, 2010

An ALA Award for Children's Poetry? What Do You Think?

There’s a discussion going on over at A Fuse #8 Production about whether ALA/ALSC should create a new award for children’s poetry.

Baby Wants Another New Award: Poetry Time!
By Elizabeth Bird

Here’s an excerpt:
An ALA award for children’s poetry?

It doesn’t exist, you see. Yes, I was as shocked as you when I thought about it. Joyce Sidman fools us by having her illustrators win Caldecotts left and right, but that doesn’t mean that the poetry itself is winning. Pretty sneaky, Sids.

Lee Bennett Hopkins drew my attention to this gap in our awardin’ saying, “RE: Your plea for a new ALA Award. Are you aware that there never has been an ALA award for POETRY? Methinks that should happen before a Graphic Novel Award.” I don’t see why we can’t have both (though perhaps not a Graphic Novel Poetry Award, as such a book for kids does not yet exist).

Mr. Hopkins then let me know that for years the only approximate award out there was the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, established in 1977, which he chaired twice and won last year. He went on to say, “I was adamant there should be an award for poetry, thus I founded the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award in 1993. After many years it is now given by Penn State University as part of PLA; it is an annual award with a cash prize of $1,000.00; the only award of its kind in the nation. More angry, in 1998, I founded the Lee Bennett Hopkins/IRA Poetry Award given every three years to a poet who has published no more than two volumes. The last, 2010, was Greg Neri, who you recently blogged about regarding his new graphic novel.”

Should ALA have an award for children’s poetry? What do you think? Go on over and join the discussion.