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ALA Book Awards

Posted: February 5, 2019

By: Kate Easley, Youth Librarian

Last week was an exciting one—not just with the bitter cold, but also with the ALA Book Awards announcement, including the Newbery and Caldecott winners. So, what won?

Merci Suárez Changes Gears won the Newbery Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. It tells the story of 6th grader Merci who is having some friend trouble at school, as well as trying to juggle homework and family obligations.

Hello Lighthouse won the Caldecott Medal for Distinguished American Picture Book. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a couple who live in a lighthouse. It shows how they take care of the lighthouse and creatively describes what the inside looks like.

Hello Lighthouse was a top contender when our own GEPL Youth Department held a “Mock Caldecott.” In the end, however, we selected Drawn Together, which tells the story of a boy spending time with his grandfather and how they connect through their love of drawing. The boy draws in a more modern, superhero style while the grandfather has a classical style depicting ancient warriors. Together, the boy and his grandfather create something amazing. Check out both Hello Lighthouse and Drawn Together!

The Coretta Scott King Book Award for Illustration, which recognizes an African American illustrator, went to The Stuff of StarsThis book was also one of the top contenders for our Mock Caldecott at GEPL. This story describes the birth of the universe and emergence of life on Earth. If it sounds abstract and complicated, it is…but it’s a beautiful read with wonderful and complex illustrations.

There were many other winners as well but just one more category that I will write about. The Schneider Family Book Award recognizes books that artistically depict the disability experience. This award is broken down into different age groups, and the winner for the middle grade award was The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle. 7th grader, Mason, has dyslexia and trouble making friends. Then his friend Calvin goes missing and Mason finds himself in trouble. It’s heartwarming and suspenseful at the same time.

What were some of your favorite books from 2018?

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