Last night Rush Limbaugh received the Author of the Year Award in a grand ceremony.
Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Rush Limbaugh is not Author of the Year. For his children's book. His children's book that did not receive warm or positive reviews from the usual sources though I suspect there are some positive reviews (here is one from Two if by Tea: http://twoifbytea.com/adventures/book.html). Many other reviews were less enthusiastic. Here is Debbie Reese's take: http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2014/03/rush-limbaughs-rush-revere-and-brave.html.
There has been some fallout, of course. I believe it is valid criticism. We devalue a field when a celebrity book (and a self-indulgent and flawed one to boot) wins a major award. And, of course, Limbaugh used this podium to advance his own celebrity. Here is a link to Roger Sutton's reaction: http://www.hbook.com/2014/05/blogs/read-roger/elephant-room/#_. The response from Michael Buckley is pointed and wonderful: http://michaelbuckleywrites.com/2014/05/15/this-just-in-rush-limbaugh-is-a-genius-sorry/. My favorite piece from his post: "Limbaugh doesn’t care about kids lit. He doesn’t really want to educate kids about history – if he did the books would have some history in them. What he wants is to poke his thumb into the eye of the super-liberal world of writers and readers. Do you really think he sat down and said to himself “Oh, how I love the wee ones. Gather round my little lambs and let me spin you a yarn, a tale of adventure to carry you off to dream land”? No, he saw an opportunity to pop our little bubble and he did it. Winning that award was a calculated effort to piss us off and to do it he barely had to lift his Kentucky Fried Chicken covered fingers."
So, Kate Messner offered a positive act on Twitter. Post out titles of some great books, diverse books, and include the hashtag #BetterChoice. I encourage all of you to do this one thing, this positive act that lets others know that there are much better books out there. Also, take a look at the rest of the award winners as they are truly deserving of the honors: http://www.cbcbooks.org/seventh-annual-childrens-choice-book-awards-winners-announced-during-the-95th-annual-childrens-book-week/#.U3Tqt16cYds.