Problematic Award-Winning Texts: Daniel Boone, the Newbery Award, and Children's Librarianship
According to Melanie D. Koss and Kathleen A. Paciga, "Newbery Medal winners rarely go out of print... since its inception, only one book is currently out of print, Daniel Boone by James Daugherty (1939), due to extreme racism and perpetuation of stereotypes" (2020).* But after 100 years, are all the Newbery titles still relevant to today's young readers? Should librarians continue to keep Newbery award-winners as part of their collection, no matter how old they are? What do we do with Doctor Dolittle?
In a panel discussion, Dr. Rob Bittner (LGBTQ Youth Literature Specialist), Megan Schliesman (Cooperative Children's Book Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison), Dr. Junko Yokota (Center for Teaching through Children's Books at National Louis University) and moderator Edith Campbell (Indiana State University) discuss the myriad issues at play with the Newbery and its (sometimes not too bright) legacy: the lasting impact of the medal on the dissemination of a text and its continued place in cultural conversation and on a publisher's backlist; the role of the medal as a contemporary signifier in children's literature; and the impact of the medal on the day-to-day issues for those serving children and families in libraries, including collection development and audits. The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A.
*Koss, Melanie D. and Kathleen A. Paciga. “Diversity in Newbery Medal-Winning Titles: A Content Analysis.” Journal of Language and Literacy Education 16.2 (2020)Presented live: September 28, 2021