Let's talk collection development a bit, shall we? Recently, Florida school libraries were in the news when the Caldecott Honor and Printz Honor book This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki was found and challenged in a Seminole County elementary school (http://www.wftv.com/news/local/third-grader-finds-inappropriate-book-in-seminole-county-school-library/58768586). This One Summer is a graphic novel aimed at a a YA interest level. It has been found in several elementary schools, despite it's YA level, because it received a Caldecott Honor medal in 2015 (http://www.alsc.ala.org/blog/2015/03/lets-talk-about-caldecott-this-one-summer/). Some may be mistaken in assuming a Caldecott designation automatically means it is for the elementary level. However, in determining the most distinguished American picture book for children, the Caldecott committee is required to consider American picture books for children of all ages, including pre-teen and early teen youth. Graphic novels fall within that range and are considered by the committee. This year, the Newbery committee provided excitement and surprise when they awarded the picture book Last Street On Market Street by Matt de la Peña with the Newbery Award. It is only the second time in Newbery history that a picture book won the award. So Caldecott does not necessarily equate to picture books, and Newbery does not necessarily equate to chapter books.
Mistakes like only going by award lists for collection development can be prevented by making sure there is a collection development policy in place and then following the policy. Every policy should include the methods a librarian pursues in determining the best books for his or her community and collection. This should be a multi-step process and include having an understanding of one's school community and reading reviews, interest levels, and recommendations prior to selecting titles. One should never rely on book jobbers, award lists, or even reviews as a single source of recommendation. In this particular case, this book has four different starred reviews, a Caldecott Honor, and a Printz Honor, in addition to having been on SLJ's Battle of the Kids Books 2015. It is obviously a worthy book for school collections for the appropriate school level. Mistakes of assuming that a book belongs in an elementary school based on the award without reviewing the interest level of the book or checking multiple review sources is one very important reason a certified professional school librarian should be in each and every school.
Samantha Jenkins, CMP