Children’s Book Awards Get Snookied

The children’s book world is abuzz for good reason. In what should have been a banner week — the American Librarian Association announced the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery medals, the kidlit equivalent of the Oscars — Snooki from Jersey Shore bumped the winners off their traditional Today show appearance.

The Snooks pretends to have written a book (come on, who would she be foolin’), so she poofed into that book slot for the week, I guess. And the producer tried to claim that the show was booked in advance (but I guarantee everyone who can Google “American Library Association” would be able to find the date of the NEXT awards announcement pretty darn soon).

I was delighted that a fellow Kansan, Clare Vanderpool (below right) of Wichita, won the Newbery for Moon Over Manifest (Delacorte). And Erin Stead of Ann Arbor won the Caldecott Medal honoring outstanding illustration for A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Roaring Brook), which was written by her husband, Philip Stead.

I just don’t understand the Today show. First off, Snooki does NOT need any publicity — I mean, isn’t her 15 minutes LOOOONG over?! Second, isn’t Today the No. 1 morning show? Why on earth would they be worried about viewers switching to GMA or whatever that CBS show is these days.

Author Eric A. Kimmel had a thoughtful post about the brouhaha, pointing out that even within the publishing industry itself, the awards don’t necessarily ensure long-term success or even a next book contract.(Thanks to Roxie Munro for linking to that one on Facebook!).

This is just one more sign of the cult of celebrity driving the book world these days. Why should two really good books that can reach probably the most critical audience — our children — be booted in favor of Snooki?!

Author Jodi Picoult summed it up best on Twitter: “Valid questions: Who rushes out to buy the Snooki book? Why does Snooki think she can write a book? You don’t see me acting on Jersey Shore.”

Exactly.

 

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