Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MLA Session: Of Mice and Moles: Blue Crab Award Author Talk

This session was sponsored by the Children's Services Division of MLA.

A CSD Blue Crab Committee Member introduced the award itself. Here are the criteria for the selection of the Blue Crab Award Winner as listed on the Blue Crab website:

The committee will consider the following criteria in judging whether a book is deserving of the award or inclusion on the honor list:
Appropriateness for target age group.
Overall child appeal.
Appropriateness of text to support the needs of beginning readers:
Sentence structure
Legibility of font
Appropriate spacing of text and use of white space
Number of words per sentence
Appropriateness of vocabulary
Presentation of information, including accuracy, clarity, and organization.
Literary merit.
Quality of illustrations and how they support or extend the text.
Visual appeal, including text, layout, and graphic style or design.
Delineation of characters and setting
Appropriateness of support matter (glossary, pronunciation key, etc)
The "total package" or overall spirit of the book.

Not every one of these criteria will apply to every book, but each award-winning and notable book should be found excellent in all aspects pertinent to it. Text and illustrations will be given equal weight.

She also talked about ways in which interested persons could get involved with either upcoming Blue Crab committees or CSD. For more information on either, feel free to visit

2008's Transitional Fiction Winner, Mr. Wong Herbert Lee, was the presenter for this session. He received the award for Abracadabra! Magic with Mouse and Mole.

Throughout the presentation he showed the various stages of the books in the Mouse and Mole series. As both author and illustrator, he was able to share the illustration techniques of his books. For each cover of his Mouse and Mole series, he revealed that a different artistic technique was used.

He showed how the text placement was juxtaposed with the simplistic, yet beautiful illustrations that he created, as well as the editing process involved in creating the final product. Mr. Yee also showed how he begins his stories, with scanned images of his pre-editied stories on legal pad and notebook paper.

In addition, Mr. Yee shared some of his beginning and transitional book favorites.

Lastly, Mr. Yee showed allowed us to examine the formulas that he uses for the repetitive vocabulary and new vocabulary in his books.

It is really amazing to see how his books have come to fruition over a period of time. If you have not read his Mice and Mole series or do not have them in your library, perhaps it would be a good time to get them, as Mr. Yee informed us that there are at least two more books in the works!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

committee is following some criteria..
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