The finalists for the National Book Award were announced this morning, but something apparently didn’t go according to plan in the announcement for Young People’s Literature. A spokesperson for the National Book Foundation told BookPage by phone a few minutes ago that a sixth finalist was being added to the children’s category: Chime by Franny Billingsley. The title of Billingsley’s book sounds very much like the title of one of the five books that was announced as a finalist during this morning’s broadcast: Shine by Lauren Myracle.
The Associated Press reported shortly after the broadcast that Chime — but not Shine — was a finalist in the category, and that initial reports were incorrect. However, when we called the National Book Foundation this afternoon, a spokesperson said the children’s literature panel had decided to add Billingsley’s book, Chime, as a sixth finalist. Other finalists are Debby Dahl Edwardson’s My Name Is Not Easy, Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again, Albert Marrin’s Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy and Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now.
So what really happened behind-the-scenes and how did we end up with an extra book on the list of finalists? Was the initial announcement incorrect? Did someone mistake one book title for another? The National Book Foundation spokesperson tells us the organization will release a statement shortly.
UPDATE: Sherrie Young, director of marketing and special projects for the National Book Foundation, tells us that a mistake was made in the announcement of finalists due to “a miscommunication between the panel [for Young People's Literature] and our staff.” After the mistake was discovered, the decision was made to add a sixth finalist rather than deleting any of the books from the list.