1) Going Techno Peach & 2) New Peach Nominee Student Suggestions
Calling all gear heads and web wizards: As we contemplate taking the Peach voting online for the 2010-2011 nominees, we are soliciting all the technological help and opinions we can find to help us make good decisions. PLEASE make suggestions if any occur to you. Email me or use the comments form below.
So far, my first-choice techno-Peach scenario would be something like this:
• For free, or for a small enough sum that one of our sponsoring organizations could cover it, we would have a web presence that could serve dual purposes: promotion of the titles and the award AND allowing Georgia teens to create user names and passwords to participate on the site.
• Participation could include rating any Peach titles read (or voting, if we decide to alter the nature of indicating favorites), writing reviews or comments on the nominees as well as responding to what others think, and voting online, either for a period of months or during a designated condensed voting period.
• While some folks don’t appear concerned about it, I would very much prefer to TRY to limit voters to actual Georgia teens and to structure voting so that registered individual email addresses only got one vote or rating per book. What I don’t know is how hard that would be: designing a set-up that puts some modest limits on the voting without actually discouraging the voting. After all, we want to encourage MORE votes, but I don’t want it to be so easy to vote that a user could vote for the same book a hundred times within a short span.
• Is there a way to try to limit voters to Georgia teens without creating too many hoops to jump through that young adults don’t want to be bothered? Would people from outside the state and the age group try to participate? A helpful person suggested that perhaps using the Galileo password might be one small restriction that our target group could fairly easily meet, and that’s certainly supplied quite readily at any school or public library in the state. Might work.
• School and public libraries would still promote the reading of the books and participation on the website and voting but might not collect paper ballots. Or if they did collect paper ballots, perhaps the media specialist or librarian would submit a batch of them? It gets complicated quickly! As I have mentioned in the past, most other state book awards use a voting system rather than a 0-4 peaches type of rating system. We want to encourage students to read as many of the twenty nominees as they can, so if we altered the rating to a voting, would we want to allow students to choose just one book, rank their top three, top five, top ten? That’s a related but separate decision from using an online form or survey for whatever we ultimately decide.
We are also in the process of reviving a FaceBook presence for the Peach Award. I guess that means that I will finally have to succumb and become a registered user myself. Online voting and a more interactive website for the award seem like they will reach out to our digital native kids. It’s okay if they want to take part in the Peach reading and voting without setting foot in a Georgia library, but we sure would like to get some foot traffic and circulation of the titles as well!
What Peach Books will your kids like?
If you didn’t make it to Kennesaw on March 30th for the Children’s Literature Conference, you missed seeing and hearing two of the authors of Peach Nominees from the 2009-2010 list speak: Lisa McMann and Jay Asher. Both of their books did well in the tallying of votes, with Thirteen Reasons Why getting third place, earning an honor book spot and a trophy that I actually got to hand over to J.A. in person. A Peach first! Wake was a pretty close fourth, just about tying with Graceling, which had a very high rating per vote, meaning those who read it really liked it almost as much as for Hunger Games, the big winner. It was a list with lots of strong fantasy/science or speculative fiction contenders. This year’s list seems to feature way more realistic fiction comparatively, though you will find The Forest of Hands and Teeth to be a fairly compelling zombie book.
If your students or patrons really liked Thirteen Reasons Why, try suggesting Hold Still and perhaps If I Stay from this year’s list.
If you have a teen who loved the Twilight books, then suggest Shiver—the sequel Linger due out in July. Any Sarah Dessen fans are almost guaranteed to like North of Beautiful, but The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks might appeal to some of the same bright mature teen girls.
Were the Uglies books big with some of your crowd? Skinned and its sequel, already out, Crashed, are good recommendations to make.
Good picks for boys: Bonechiller by former Peach Award Winner Graham McNamee as well as Carter Finally Gets It and King of the Screwups. Ellen Hopkins or problem-book fans are going to like After, Brutal, Burn, and The Orange Houses.
Next month I will focus on what we decided in terms of changes to Peach voting and summer promotion.
Chair, Peach Book Award