Every year, ALA gives the Printz Award to a "book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."
But it's not the whole of ALA that does this-- it's a committee of librarians, some elected and some appointed that read through mountains and mountains of books and work together to find the best ones.
If you are an ALA and YALSA member, you get to vote for committee members.
I asked Sarah a few questions about the Printz and books to help you get a better feel as to why she should be on the committee.
What makes a book truly Printz worthy?
I think for a book to be truly Printz worthy it has to be a book that will engage readers and get them talking. It has to be a book that librarians can pick up and be proud of (although there will always be disagreements!). But I think it has to be a book that librarians can read and say "this is why I do what I do-why I serve teens, why I read YA, and why I advocate for teens and YA lit." I also think it should be a book that best represents YA lit-that shows non-YA readers the value of YA literature. And I do think there should be some reader appeal too, although that's not the focus of the award or even mentioned in the criteria. But you want teens to read Printz books and hopefully they love them. But even if they don't, at least they can have a great discussion about it.
What's your favorite Printz winner or honor?
I have so many that I really love, but I think my favorite would have to be A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. It's historical, it's mystery, it's coming of age, and all woven together so well that you don't even realize the author is mixing everything in.
What books got overlooked by the Printz committee?
Funny books get overlooked by all award committees-not just the Printz! I think sometimes we forget that funny books can teach us just as much as a literary drama. I also think it's harder to pull that off in a funny book, so maybe that's why they so often get overlooked. But I love the fact that Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging is a Printz honor-I'd love to see more books like that make the list!
What excites you the most about the possibility of serving on the Printz committee?
I'm most excited about getting to talk about YA with other librarians for a year! We get to analyze, discuss, fight, argue, and praise books-how awesome is that??
It's super awesome! Remember to vote and remember Sarah when choosing people for the Printz!