That’s a lot of books

Last year, you may remember, I was selected to serve on the jury for the Andre Norton Award. I checked out books from the library, I grabbed ARCs from NetGalley and Edelweiss, I bought a few books (mostly ones I would’ve bought for myself or my son anyway), and publishers and authors sent copies of books for consideration.

I didn’t read everything. I didn’t even finish every book I started. I did read a lot, and I can say there is a huge variety out there in middle grade and young adult books.

(stacks of books)

There’s SF and steampunk, dark fantasy bordering on horror and dystopia; there’s humor and graphic novels, fairy tale retellings and ideas drawn from myth; alternate history sits side-by-side with secondary world and urban fantasy. There were books that are first or second in a series, and others that were the culmination of one. There are debut novels, novels in translation, and novels by established favorite authors. In other words, something for everyone.

Oh, and that picture up above? It’s incomplete. That I can think of, both Greenglass House and Marina are missing (my son probably knows where they are), and there are almost certainly others that aren’t occurring to me at the moment.

What happens to them now? A good chunk are going to my son’s reading teacher. The reading teachers like to have books on hand in case students forget theirs or need ideas on what to read next. I don’t know whether she’ll share with the other teachers at the school or what, but the books will be appreciated.

Would I do it again? If I were asked by the head of the jury to participate, I’d most likely say yes. However, I spent a good chunk of the year feeling behind and knowing I wasn’t doing as much as other members of the jury, and I think they might be better served with someone else. If you’re in SFWA, enjoy MG/YA, and are up for a lot of reading, consider applying to be on the jury. I guarantee it’ll open your eyes to the breadth of the field.

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10 Comments

  1. You’re right. That is a LOT of books ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wish I had had that much variety when Steven and David were in middle grades.

    • Well, the age range here is probably all the way from fifth to twelfth grades. Dirty Wings and Grasshopper Jungle, for example, slant older (in my opinion), while David Lubar’s books and the Game of Clones fall on the younger end of the spectrum. But yes, it’s a wonderful variety.

      And my husband really wants them to stop taking up so much space in our house! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Congratulations for taking on such a massive undertaking. It’s a good idea to donate all of those books.

    • Thanks.

      I’ve packaged up five boxes to drop off Monday (the smallish ones that books often get shipped in because giant boxes full are too heavy), and I’ll do the rest later this school year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Yep, being a book judge really gives one an appreciation of the best (and the worst) that’s out there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. LOL on the space, but yes, it’s wonderful there are so many. It makes it that much more likely every reader will find something to suit their tastes. It also means it’s harder because there’s so much to choose from, but once you have a comparison book, I’m sure others would be happy to point to those meeting the same needs :).

    • Totally. There were a couple (the names of which I’m blanking on) that I said, “Ah, written for fans of the Hunger Games trilogy.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wow, that’s quite a bit of variety! I stopped going to bookstores because the adult Fantasy/SF shelves didn’t have as much variety in fantasy, most of which seemed to be the same kind of UF or SF series I fell out of love with for various reasons. Maybe I should have started looking in the YA and MG shelves; sounds like there’s much more variety there.

    • There is a lot of variety. Of course, not all these books will be on the shelves at once, and not all bookstores will carry them all. Still, definitely worth checking out. (I think the same is true of adult SF/F, by the way — it’s not that it’s not getting published; it’s just not guaranteed to be on the shelves.)

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