As I comb through the lists, there are, of course, many books which appear on more than one list. Often the appearance on multiple lists is a harbinger for the award announcements in January from ALA. However, there are many books that never make it onto these lists including some books that DO win major awards. And there are always those sleepers, books few of us have seen, that make it onto the awards lists. That is why I love attending the awards announcements each year. For many years, I was there in person. The last couple of years, I have had to be content to watch the live video stream. No matter how I am "there", though, I can feel the suspense building, feel the electricity as the titles are revealed. And I do try to read all of the winning titles if I have not already done so.
Part of my job is to keep up with the latest and best titles as I prepare the children's and YA classes. However, another part of my job is to talk to as many educators as I can about books. Of the course of a day-long workshop, i might include more than 100 books as illustrations of trends in publishing, as mentor texts, as book talk fodder, etc. So I read well beyond those titles on the lists. I try to read as widely as I can. I know I have favorite genres, authors, formats. But I attempt to think about the larger audience out there: all those kids waiting for that just right book. If I eschew a genre, I might just miss the chance to connect a reader to a book.
So, I review these lists like the one from SLJ, making note of the ones I have read and the few I need to order and read. I look for the overlapping titles from list to list to list. AND I add to the lists from my own reading. There are some books on these "best" lists that I did not find as wonderful as the list makers. But that simply underscores the point that there is no one book for all readers. Combing through lists helps direct the last of the 2015 reading for me. Soon I will be doing a deep, deep weeding to make room for the books of 2016. The books of 2015 will float on to classrooms and libraries, to find new readers waiting for that perfect book.