I can’t decide if the p.r. disaster that was the Children’s Choice Awards last night is exacerbated or ameliorated by the fact that the Children’s Book Council website is down this morning (and, according to Facebook) has been offline since the announcements last night.(Edit 11.45AM:It’s back up.) I do know that the CBCBook Twitter account went silent for what were supposed to be the big announcements of the night: Author of the Year (Rush Limbaugh) and Illustrator of the Year (Grace, uh, Lee).
Predictably, there’s a lot of social media outrage about Rush’s win–accusations of inaccuracy in his book, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims; accusations of stacking the deck and/or ballot fraud–but really, it’s just people being mad that Rush Limbaugh won. Any inaccuracies are beside the point, because the winner of this award is determined by popular vote. It really is a popularity contest. And if Rush had his Dittoheads auto-voting through the wee hours–well, welcome to the Internet. In the case of the Illustrator prize (for Sofia the First: The Floating Island, a Disney TV-tie-in product), I’m guessing that little kids presented with the webpage of the nominees (all chosen by virtue of being bestsellers) pointed their little fingers at Sofia, screeching “Da one wid da pwincess, Daddy! DA ONE WID DA PWINCESS!!” (I really am guessing here, as the marketing departments for Simon & Schuster (Rush Revere) and Disney chose not to send these books to us for review.)
The Author and Illustrator of the Year Awards were piled on top of the IRA-CBC Children’s Choice Awards some years back because those winners weren’t usually very sexy and did not attract sponsorship money or media attention. Now they have a glam, pricey event and lots of attention. These awards worked exactly the way they were supposed to. But I bet they won’t work this way next year.