This post is an article from the Spring 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by Ian Duncanson of the Beaverton City Library and Lisa Elliot of the Tigard Public Library.
Lisa: On January 21, 35 folks attended the 2017 Mock Printz work shop at the Central Branch of Multnomah Public Library. Meanwhile, 100,000 people descended on downtown Portland for the Women’s March. That’s right, 100,000 demonstrators, 35 workshop attendees, and I still got a parking spot. For next year, we’ll work a little harder to anticipate political upheaval, thus avoiding major advocacy schedule conflicts. For this year, however, I was happy to spend the afternoon in a warm, dry room with 35 librarians and teens in solidarity over our love of good books. Ian, how was your day?
Ian: I had a great time after I got off the packed MAX train! The panel of teens was a nice addition to the day and helped ensure that there was teen representation in each discussion group. Thank you to Lorene Forman for bringing her group all that way! We asked the panelists about how they choose books to read, what genres they prefer, how they measure “literary quality” and more. Our group discussions were not contentious and we found it hard to pick a clear favorite this year. I’ll take that as a testament to the quality of the book selections as a whole. Some of the book discussions helped me appreciate a book that I may not have liked as much after my initial read. The teens in my group all seemed to have a good time discussing the selections. Most had read all of the books, which can sometimes be a rarity at the Mock Printz.
Lisa: Yeah, me too. I went into the workshop with a clear favorite (The Passion of Dolssa was the highlight of my year in books.) But after hearing from fierce defenders of We Are the Ants … well, Dolssa was still my favorite, but I was convinced that Ants deserved the honor vote. In the end, the winner was Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree and honors went to Julie Berry’s Dolssa, Shaun Hutchinson’s Ants, and Phillip Reeve’s Railhead. Compare our picks to the real committee’s selections and we have one honor in common, Dolssa, proving once again that I AM RIGHT! (Except for failing to select March for our shortlist. That was a bit of an oversight.)
Ian: If I had to choose a favorite book of the crop I would have to go with We Are the Ants. I loved the main character’s voice and the “out of place but they work” sci-fi elements. That’s the one that really stuck with me. I was surprised to find myself enjoying Dolssa so much; historical fiction isn’t always my favorite thing to read.
We’re already getting started on the 2018 Mock Printz list. Feel free to send stellar book or graphic novel suggestions to Ian (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lisa (email@example.com) if you’d like them to be considered for next year’s discussion!