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Lower School Librarian Selected to Caldecott Panel

 By Alex Barron

Every year, a select group of thirteen to sixteen children’s librarians gather to determine the book that will receive the Caldecott Award. The renowned award, first given in 1938, recognizes the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” An appointment to the selection committee is perhaps the highest honor that can be achieved by a children’s librarian. This year’s panel is composed of just sixteen representatives nationwide and will include Boys’ Latin’s own lower school librarian, Eiyana Favers.

Mrs. Favers is excited and grateful for the opportunity – “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” she says, with trademark humility – but knows that the honor was the result of hard work behind the scenes. She completed the prestigious Bill Morris Seminar, sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) which teaches librarians how to best evaluate books for their collections. She also participated actively in Capital Choices, a group of librarians and other educators who work together to create lists of outstanding titles for children and teens.
Librarians like Ms. Favers take great care in considering potential recipients of the Caldecott Award. She reads piles of books, of course. Her committee is tasked with choosing from the pool of books that will be published in 2022, but some advanced copies have already started to trickle in several months early. Preliminary meetings began in July.

“One of the things about the Caldecott Book is that a lot of times educators have the expectation that the award will go to the most loved book. The best story. That isn’t always the case,” she says, “We aren’t looking at popularity; we’re looking at content.”

Prior to Ms. Favers arrival at BL last fall, she worked for five years at Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Library System, as an Early Literacy Outreach Specialist. In that role, she visited city schools, Head Start programs, and other community organizations, where she introduced children to books in order to instill a love and appreciation for reading.

“I like the challenge of being able to find books and stories that [children] will like based on their age range,” she says, “I can usually steer them towards something I like, that’s appropriate for their age.”

Now that she has found a home at BL, Ms. Favers says she looks forward to developing relationships with the boys, and watching their progress as they journey through the lower school and upward. “Working with children every day I get to see them. I get to learn what their likes and dislikes are,” she says, “I get to support them.”

According to upper school librarian Claire Ricci, Ms. Favers has already been a valuable asset to the team. “Young boys are especially able to sense when someone is genuine and our youngest Lakers are spot-on in connecting to Ms. Favers,” she says, “[She] more than meets their needs, modeling reading as a means of accessing information, expanding world view, developing empathy and as a pleasurable escape.”