By: Melissa Hilt, Youth Assistant Director
It’s that time of year again, award season! I’m not talking about movies awards, although it’s true those were on recently. On Monday, January 23, I was at home streaming the Youth Media Awards on my iPad.
The YMAs include the Newbery, Caldecott, Geisel and Coretta Scott King awards as well as many others. Each award seeks to highlight the best in books published for children and young adults during the previous year. The full list of honored titles can be found here.
I thought I would highlight the Newbery and Caldecott titles for you, since those are the ones I am most excited about.
John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.
Three Newbery Honor Books also were named:
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Crossing paths at an inn, thirteenth-century travelers impart the tales of a monastery oblate, a Jewish refugee, and a psychic peasant girl with a loyal greyhound, the three of whom join forces on a chase through France to escape persecution.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Twelve-year-old Annabelle must learn to stand up for what’s right in the face of a manipulative and violent new bully who targets people Annabelle cares about, including a homeless World War I veteran.
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean –and definitely not inside the lines — to be beautiful.
Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:
Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol
Grandmother wants so badly to be left alone to finish the knitting for her grandchildren that she leaves her tiny home and her big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting.
Freedom in Congo Square illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford
As slaves relentlessly toiled in an unjust system in 19th century Louisiana, they all counted down the days until Sunday, when at least for half a day they were briefly able to congregate in Congo Square in New Orleans. Here they were free to set up an open market, sing, dance and play music.
Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis
Readers are invited to imagine the dramatic possibilities to be found in the natural world, even the humblest back garden! With exquisitely-detailed illustration that will appeal to children and art-lovers alike, and a wonderfully playful invented language, we soon find ourselves speaking “Bug” … Du iz tak? What is that?
They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel
In simple, rhythmic prose and stylized pictures, a cat walks through the world, and all the other creatures see and acknowledge the cat.