The Printz Award: What Does It Mean to Be Excellent in YA?

The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature (aka “the Printz”) is one of the top honors in the YA community. But what exactly is the Printz Award? How are books chosen and why? Who makes the decisions?

Someday My Printz Will Come, which takes a look at YA lit and the award throughout the year, has a great series going about what the award actually is. One of the big issues raised is “excellence” and what that actually means.

Another part I thought that interesting:

“No one on the committee is carried over from the previous year unless the AA goes on to become a committee member, which means that each committee operates in a vacuum. This in turn means that each committee must grapple with the hard questions anew. Which was, at times, incredibly annoying, but is also very freeing. It doesn’t matter what last year’s committee said about series titles, or how they felt, as an entity, about nonfiction. It only matters what you and the eight people on your committee think.”

So a book that could have dominated in one year could be completely left out the next. I think that ultimately levels the playing field (the award never goes to one kind of book), but I’m sure that’s frustrating when you consider that your book may have been nominated last year but not this year.

Make sure to check out both posts for a good insight into what makes the Printz happen.

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