Friday, January 14, 2011

today show pulls newbery & caldecott interviews for...snooki

Reality tv star Snooki

Wow. Okay, where to begin... I watch reality shows on occasion, I won't lie. I've never watched Jersey Shore....well, that's not true, I tried once, I turned the channel after one minute, that doesn't really mean anything, but it means a lot to a devout group of followers who don't turn the channel after one minute of Jersey Shore, the ones who don't think Snooki's 15 minutes of fame are over and never will be.

2011 Newbery award winner Moon Over Manifest

NBC's Today Show is pulling interviews with the 2011 Newbery and Caldecott award winners to interview reality star Snooki. I don't want to assume the reasoning for pulling the winners of the highest award a children's book writer and illustrator can receive (the Academy Awards, if you will) for a reality tv star, but if I had to assume, it would be because the executives over at the Today Show believe that Snooki will bring in better ratings. If you have children or you read or write children's books, then you know how much precedence is put on Newbery and Caldecott winning books. They are the best of the best, they are the books placed on their own special shelves at book stores. They are the books you purchase when you want a guaranteed good read.

Executive Director of the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) Lin Oliver expressed her disappointment in a letter to the NY Times and LA Times. If you feel disappointed too, then send an email over to the Today Show letting them know how you feel:

Letter from Lin Oliver to NY Times/LA Times

Dear Editor:

As the Executive Director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a non-profit international organization of 24,000 professional children's book writers, illustrators, publishers, editors and agents, I have to express dismay at the decision this week of NBC's Today Show not to run the traditional interviews with the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The books that are granted these prestigious awards represent the best of what we have to offer children---great storytelling, strong values, a legacy of literature and hope and high-minded ideals. What they elected to run in that spot, an interview with reality star Snooki, represents the exact opposite.

In choosing not to run the interviews with Clare Vanderpool and Erin Stead, television has once again underestimated the intelligence of its audience. Parents are dying to get their hands on good books for their kids. Booksellers are eager to sell and promote good books for kids. It's good business, good broadcasting and good ethics to honor the best books for children.

Lin Oliver

Executive Director, SCBWI

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