BYSTANDER: A 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection

I received a curious package in the mail today, a padded envelope from the Junior Library Guild. It included a congratulatory letter from Jeanette Rivard, stating in part:

In keeping with our goal of providing extraordinary reading experiences for children, Bystander has been awarded the designation, “A Junior Library Guild Selection” for Fall 2009.

The Junior Library Guild Selection designation is unique in that it is typically awarded so early — often in advance of publication. With its distinction as one of the first awards given, it is often viewed as a bellwether of future success.

That’s some word, bellwether. It means: a male sheep, usually castrated, with a bell hung from its neck, that is followed by a flock of sheep. Well, my goodness, thank you very much, I think (as I slowly cross my legs).

The package also included a nifty JLG lapel pin, pinned now to my t-shirt, and a handsome certificate “suitable for framing.”

What? No bell?

Hey, pretty cool. Casting aside thoughts of castrated sheep, I thank you very much! Now if only we can get the rest of those pesky awards to fall in line. Baaa.


  1. Congrats!! I’m glad they didn’t send a bell; that would have been a bit ominous.

    But I hope this leads to many other awards!

  2. Dang it, Preller! You got me laughing at my computer with your funny blogspeak. I got a baby trying to sleep! Congratulations on the award, old top.

  3. Jimmy says:

    Well, they call it an award — I’m not sure the selection quite deserves that word. But I’m not complaining. Anything that helps readers find the book is a good thing.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Jeanette Rivard says:

    Oh,dear. I checked and I did spell the word correctly, bellwether.
    I know you were kidding, (well, I hope so, anyway), but here’s what I was going for:
    “a person or thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; index.”
    2. leader, pacesetter, frontrunner, trailblazer.
    I was rather sheepish about defending myself here, however . . .

  5. jimmy says:

    Jeanette, I was only joking. I knew what you meant, was just having fun with the the more literal meaning. Sorry if you felt a need to defend yourself.

    As for the typo, that was entirely mine (since corrected). Sorry about that.

    And though I joke, please don’t misunderstand me. Very grateful for the recognition.

    Still: You should consider including a bell. Just a thought!

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