'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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Abstract

That impact has, however, diminished. At its most powerful in the 1980s and early 90s, the award guaranteed five or six reprints of a short-listed title; now publishers are pleased if a short-listed title is reprinted once or twice. The reasons are complex. This paper argues, however, that the determining factor is the Children's Book Council's reluctance to acknowledge the reading choices made by children themselves. The current Awards Handbook says that the Book of the Year Award is given for:literary merit, including cohesiveness in significant literary elements; language chosen carefully for its appropriateness to the theme and style of the work with proper regard to the aesthetic qualities of language; and originality in the treatment of literary elements as they apply to the form of the work. Appeal to the implied readership under the age of eighteen is also taken into account. Judges should also consider quality of illustrations, book design, production, printing and binding. The reluctant concession 'Appeal to the implied readership under the age of eighteen is also taken into account' is highly significant. Surely in making such an award, the judges' primary concern should be the appeal a book has for children. The paper concludes that the adult judges' construction of the Book of the Year as a last bastion of literary excellence and their relegation of the criteria most important to children themselves may ironically prove counterproductive and ensure that the Children's Book Council's imprimatur means that a book is good for you, rather than good to read and may therefore diminish children's enthusiasm for reading.'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature' In her polemic Uses of Literature (2008) Rita Felski contends that academic literary criticism has lost sight of the reasons that readers say they respond positively to books: recognition, enchantment, knowledge and shock. This paper contrasts the criteria applied to children's books by the adult judges of literary awards, and the criteria cited by children themselves in their reviews and children's choice awards. It asks whether, in emphasising the educational uses of fiction for children, adults may be losing their way and risking the loss of potential young readers. In 1945, inspired by the inaugural year of the United Nations, a group of Australian educators, librarians and publishing industry professionals met in Sydney to set up the Children's Book Council of Australia. They believed that if they could change children's books, they would change children and if they could change children, they might change the world and ensure that the devastation of World War 2 would never be repeated.Although their strategy for change included the establishment of a children's book week, the extension of the free library network and teaching parents how to use children's books, their decision to create a Book of the Year Award had the most significant influence on children's book publishing in Australia. The Book of the Year was first awarded in 1946 and remains the country's only literary award ' for either adults' or children's books ' that has a major impact on book sales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLIT CRI' 12
Subtitle of host publicationNew questions on literary criticism
EditorsEfe Duyan
Place of PublicationIstanbul, Turkey
PublisherDakam
Pages182-189
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9786054514045
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventLiterary Criticism conference (LIT CRI) - Istanbul, Turkey, Turkey
Duration: 02 May 201205 May 2012

Conference

ConferenceLiterary Criticism conference (LIT CRI)
CountryTurkey
Period02/05/1205/05/12

Fingerprint

Children's Literature
Reader
Language
Literary Elements
Readership
Aesthetics
Reprint
Concession
United Nations
Industry
Excellence
Literary Criticism
Enthusiasm
Educators
Handbook
Appropriateness
Enchantment
Merit
Choice Award
Originality

Cite this

Macleod, M. (2012). 'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'. In E. Duyan (Ed.), LIT CRI' 12: New questions on literary criticism (pp. 182-189). Istanbul, Turkey: Dakam.
Macleod, Mark. / 'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'. LIT CRI' 12: New questions on literary criticism. editor / Efe Duyan. Istanbul, Turkey : Dakam, 2012. pp. 182-189
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Macleod, M 2012, 'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'. in E Duyan (ed.), LIT CRI' 12: New questions on literary criticism. Dakam, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 182-189, Literary Criticism conference (LIT CRI), Turkey, 02/05/12.

'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'. / Macleod, Mark.

LIT CRI' 12: New questions on literary criticism. ed. / Efe Duyan. Istanbul, Turkey : Dakam, 2012. p. 182-189.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paper

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N1 - Imported on 03 May 2017 - DigiTool details were: publisher = Istanbul, Turkey: Dakam, 2012. editor/s (773b) = Efe Duyan; Event dates (773o) = 2-5 MAY 2012; Parent title (773t) = Literary Criticism conference (LIT CRI).

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N2 - That impact has, however, diminished. At its most powerful in the 1980s and early 90s, the award guaranteed five or six reprints of a short-listed title; now publishers are pleased if a short-listed title is reprinted once or twice. The reasons are complex. This paper argues, however, that the determining factor is the Children's Book Council's reluctance to acknowledge the reading choices made by children themselves. The current Awards Handbook says that the Book of the Year Award is given for:literary merit, including cohesiveness in significant literary elements; language chosen carefully for its appropriateness to the theme and style of the work with proper regard to the aesthetic qualities of language; and originality in the treatment of literary elements as they apply to the form of the work. Appeal to the implied readership under the age of eighteen is also taken into account. Judges should also consider quality of illustrations, book design, production, printing and binding. The reluctant concession 'Appeal to the implied readership under the age of eighteen is also taken into account' is highly significant. Surely in making such an award, the judges' primary concern should be the appeal a book has for children. The paper concludes that the adult judges' construction of the Book of the Year as a last bastion of literary excellence and their relegation of the criteria most important to children themselves may ironically prove counterproductive and ensure that the Children's Book Council's imprimatur means that a book is good for you, rather than good to read and may therefore diminish children's enthusiasm for reading.'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature' In her polemic Uses of Literature (2008) Rita Felski contends that academic literary criticism has lost sight of the reasons that readers say they respond positively to books: recognition, enchantment, knowledge and shock. This paper contrasts the criteria applied to children's books by the adult judges of literary awards, and the criteria cited by children themselves in their reviews and children's choice awards. It asks whether, in emphasising the educational uses of fiction for children, adults may be losing their way and risking the loss of potential young readers. In 1945, inspired by the inaugural year of the United Nations, a group of Australian educators, librarians and publishing industry professionals met in Sydney to set up the Children's Book Council of Australia. They believed that if they could change children's books, they would change children and if they could change children, they might change the world and ensure that the devastation of World War 2 would never be repeated.Although their strategy for change included the establishment of a children's book week, the extension of the free library network and teaching parents how to use children's books, their decision to create a Book of the Year Award had the most significant influence on children's book publishing in Australia. The Book of the Year was first awarded in 1946 and remains the country's only literary award ' for either adults' or children's books ' that has a major impact on book sales.

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Macleod M. 'The Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award and the Uses of Children's Literature'. In Duyan E, editor, LIT CRI' 12: New questions on literary criticism. Istanbul, Turkey: Dakam. 2012. p. 182-189