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The wise and wonderful Nancy Dickinson has hit that nail on the head: what do the 
people for whom Lucky was intended--actual children--think of the book? Knowing 
that the Newbery committee does not pick a book by its expected popularity, we 
still find the most important part of the award for librarians is to see if our 
kids will read and love the book and be satisfied with the experience. 
The committee is looking for the most distinguished contribution for American 
literature for children--that's its mandate. As a member of the year 2000 Newbery 
Committee (and I just had a mini-reunion with our chair, Carolyn Brodie, at the 
Alaska Library Conference in Juneau, which was just gorgeous and wonderful--Hello 
Alaska! As of last week, I have now given children's literature workshops and 
speeches in every one of the 50 states!), I think we fulfilled both 
things--choosing a book that was the most distinguished book of the year AND that 
kids love. Our book was Bud, Not Buddy. I'm always gratified when I'm visiting a 
school and am speaking to, say, 150 kids, grades 4-6, sitting on the floor of the 
gym, and I mention the title. Invariably, they cheer. Does my heart good.
I don't think kids will cheer for Lucky--it's not really that kind of book, and the 
boys will most likely avoid it--but I'm so curious to hear what they think of her. 
Will they understand the book? Like or love the character? Finish the book? Step #1 
for every one of us librarians: Read That Book! We can't talk about it 
intelligently until we've read it.
Sure, we should buy the book for our libraries--it's the Newbery, it's for 
elementary kids, and they'll be asking for it, so we need to have it, love it or 
not. Will it cause controversy? Oh, yeah. Look at the customer comments starting to 
pile up on to gauge people's mood. They're on all sides of the fence. 
It's fascinating. And it sure hasn't hurt sales--she was #121 on Amazon last night. 
Susan Patron has been on CNN, NPR, you name it. The publisher must be dancing in 
the streets (and smiling all the way to the bank).
I'm in California this week for BER and can't wait to hear how the librarians here 
are dealing with the situation and what they think of the book. (Then it's off to 
Hawaii on Thursday night to speak all day Friday. Alaska & Hawaii in the space of 7 
days. Can you say Jet Lag? But SUCH fun!! Snow-covered mountains; palm trees; oh, 
I'm hoping Nancy will post a hit of her responses. This has been a most fascinating 
LM_NET thread, the saga of Lucky. The thing that we all hate is seeing the 
ridiculous and insulting headlines & statements--images of the hundreds of 
librarians throwing down their book stamps to protest Lucky and conspire to have 
her banned. Utter rot, all of it. We need to continue to answer every one of those 
charges--write to each newspaper & reporter who spreads these silly and destructive 
Our reputation has sure taken a hit, but hey, it's gotten us lots of attention. We 
can capitalize on that, letting people know that we're the ones who stand up for 
books and the rights of kids to read them. If every article gets a response from 
concerned and thoughtful librarians, we'll see those letters in print, which is 
essential. Some of the letters I've read on LM_NET have been perfect. If we don't 
defend ourselves (and in beautiful California right now, the ratio of school 
librarians to children is 1 to 4,500!), no one else will, that's for sure.
Happy reading.
Judy Freeman
Children's Literature Consultant
Author of the all-new Books Kids Will Sit Still For 3
(Libraries Unlimited, 2005;
65 North Sixth Avenue
Highland Park, NJ 08904
732-572-5634 /
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