Well, my friends, we have made it to the last announcement of the 2013 Frannies. We have seen different groups of students award different books with their homeroom book awards. We have seen three different genre awards given out, highlighting what was the best in each given category. All in all, we have awarded and honored 12 different books in the past 7 days. And we still have our biggest award to give.
[Brian’s note: this post is a bit longer than most, but every word, image, and video (did I say video?), is worth it. So be sure to push through. Wyzlic out.]
For the Wyzbery, all books were considered. The students nominated titles of books from all different genres and types. Picture books, graphic novels, chapter books, YA novels, adult novels. Realistic fiction, fantasy, humor, science fiction, dystopian, mystery, non-fiction, biography. There were books nominated for each of these descriptors. 21 books in total received multiple nominations and made it to the final ballot. And then it was time to vote.
When it came time to vote, the students were instructed to select the one book they believed was the best book published in 2012. Not most popular. Not favorite. But also not most distinguished nor most excellent, nor most well-written. Best. Here are the results.
80 votes were cast for 20 different books (including one write-in because this student was adamant that her choice was the best book of 2012, even if nobody else agreed enough to put it on the ballot, bringing our total of nominated books up to 22). Five books received above the average of four votes. Of these, three books were heads above the others. These are the books that will receive Wyzbery Honors or the coveted Wyzbery Award.
Now, before the reveal, a bit of potential controversy. Because, come on, what’s an awards ceremony without some controversy, right? Of the 3 that will receive shiny stickers (maybe — we’re working on those back at headquarters), 2 of them were read aloud to all the students. So I wonder how much influence my choices had on their voting. I am gladdened, though, that there is one book that made it through despite not being pushed by me, but rather, by the students. One of our top five is even a book that I do not keep in our classroom library.
So despite my potential influence as the lead learner and lead book pusher in the room, it is clear to me that the students can also follow their own conscience with their book choices. They are passing books they love to each other, and they are finding and sharing similar tastes with each other. The students are becoming book pushers as well, and in some classes in particular, they have eclipsed my influence. They may see that as some sort of subverting the system. I see it as victory.
Anyway, on to the awards. As mentioned, there are two books that will be receiving Wyzbery Honor Status:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
These are two of my favorite books of 2012, and I feel somewhat validated that my students think they are among the best. I chose Wonder as our first read-aloud this year, and I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. There are some students who flat-out do not like the book (and are very vocal about this). There are some students who beg me to read longer every day. But overall, I wasn’t sure what the temperature of the water was. Well, they like it. Enough to honor it, which I am grateful for.
The Fault in Our Stars was a book I was excited for the day it came out (actually, for months before it came out). And when it finally arrived at my doorstep, I couldn’t contain myself. This book has come with a word of caution to my students and to their parents (teaching at a Catholic school, there are some mature scenes in the book that are actually so well done that the students might misinterpret them, or be confused by the message they are giving, and I need to be cautious of that). However, that has not stopped my students from picking it up and falling in love, as I did. I’m glad they saw fit to honor this book as well.
But ultimately, there is another book that was considered an even better book by more students. That book is our 2013 Wyzbery Award Winner.
And it is. . .
With no further ado. . .
(okay, a little further ado). . .
[this is kind of fun]. . .
You guys are still here, right?
Is anybody reading these, or just scrolling down?
You should probably read them.
Maybe I’m hiding an easter egg-style surprise in them.
Or maybe not.
If you passed all this up, you will never know.
But you also won’t know you’ll never know.
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen!
Klassen’s sequel (of sorts) to the 2012 Geisel Honor Book I Want My Hat Back was an instant favorite among my students. When it won the 8A Class Book Award, I started to worry a little. Could a picture book possibly win the Wyzbery? Then I realized: what do I have to worry about? Yes, a picture book could win — ANY book could win. That was the whole point. And, lo and behold, a picture book did win. Congratulations, Mr. Klassen. The students love your clever use of pictures to add a layer to the story. This Is Not My Hat is a mentor text in how pictures and words combine to tell the story, as opposed to one merely aiding the other.
Interesting note: this book may have been based on a true story (though the book came out before the story happened). See the tale:
What will happen to me? Will Mr. Sharp ever get his hat back? Read I Want My Hat Back and stay tuned to see!
Go back to the 2013 Frannies Main Page.
See the 7A Class Book Award.
See the 7B Class Book Award.
See the 8A Class Book Award.
See the 8B Class Book Award.
See the Realistic Fiction Award.
See the Fantasy Award.
See the Dystopian Award.