“I’m a kid,” 7-year-old S helpfully points out, “so I should help you pick the best kids’ books.”

This sounds reasonable to me, so Saturday night S and I sit down with the stack of nominated books I’ve received so far. Two-year-old F sits with us, too, but is mostly interested in leafing through Honky-Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels and discussing the death of Hank Williams.

“Why did Hank Williams die?”

“His body stopped working.”


Anyway, S begins sorting the nominees into a “Yes” stack and a “No” stack. Then, apparently swayed by a book that looks impressive but doesn’t much interest him, he comes up with a “Maybe” stack.

Meanwhile, F is pointing to a picture of the late Tammy Wynette.

“I want to go see that guy.”

“OK,” announces S, “I’m done!”

The “Maybe” stack has disappeared, the “Yes” stack is towering, and the “No” stack has just three books in it: the one with a script font (“I don’t read cursive”), the one that reads from back to front, and the one that’s unbound, the lone F&G in the bunch.

I’m pretty sure this is how the National Book Awards work, too.


You do know that you’ve got just one more week to get in your nominations for best Nonfiction Picture Book and the other Cybils, right?