This is such an exciting time of year in children’s literature, the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards for books published in the last year were just announced. I look forward to January as if I was awaiting a sports award. People may laugh but really think about it. This is an award ceremony that should be celebrated and talked about in every classroom, library, and family kitchen in our country if we believe in the importance of reading. Children are the future of our world and every chance we can get to promote and engage children with reading we should grab it. So let’s get started!
The ALA Youth Media Awards are the social proof that validates books as an important and integral part of society right up there with the sports and movie awards. There were numerous awards given out on the 22nd for children’s books in a variety of categories. Most people look toward the Newbery and the Caldecott medals and may not be aware of the variety of awards that are given in children’s literature. I urge you to take a look at the list of awards and familiarize yourself with all of the different ALA Youth Media Awards through this link. What books might you want to share with your children? Maybe a Newbery from your childhood.
On to the winners of the John Newbery Award. The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The award has been given out to a distinguished book every year since 1922! This year’s winner was Dave Eggers, with his book, The Eyes of the Impossible. Told from the perspective of the dog, Johannes who is a free dog that loves to run. He lives in a park and continually watches and reports the goings on to three of his bison friends, but then something happens that makes Johannes rethink what he does. This is a book for all ages, which is a very difficult task for an author. I think of Charlotte’s Web as one of those books for all ages. Check out the book at the Witherle, you won’t regret it.
Now on to the Caldecott Medal which was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. It has been awarded since 1937. This year the award went to author and illustrator Vashti Harrison for her book, Big. The story and artwork are not only captivating. Vashti tells the story of how when you are a child to be told you are big is complimentary but as you get older it begins to mean something entirely different, even something undesirable. The young girl’s inner struggle is poignantly written and illustrated with very little text. A beautiful book whose artwork propels the story.
I hope I have convinced you to come and see this year’s honorees and help me promote reading.