I know, I know, most industries have award nights, but in children’s book publishing it is all about the morning. The American Library Association (ALA) will announce the winners of a multitude of book awards on Monday, January 28th at 8 am PT from the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The most well-known and prestigious are the Newbery and Caldecott awards. It is like Superbowl Sunday for children’s book lovers only ten times better. Maybe a hundred.
The Newbery: It awarded for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year.” The Newbery is about the WRITING. These are the timeless books with characters and setting and plot that take your breath away and that leave you thinking of them years from now. (Well, hopefully). I’m not one to say that these awards aren’t political. I’m sure they are. I’m sure there are back room disagreements and the books that maybe should of won, but didn’t. You can search online for “Newbery predictions” and “Newbery buzz.” I usually do, but I also sometimes have my favorites or one I’m pulling for. Of course, I haven’t read all the best books of 2012 so maybe there’s a gem of a book I missed, but this year I’m pulling for:
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
I’ll be honest, there are lots of the Newbery buzz books I haven’t read, so I’m also on the lookout for Starry River of the Sky to have a good showing. I’ve heard that See You at Harry’s is a lesser known novel deserving of the award. It’s on my to-read list, but I haven’t cracked it yet.
The Caldecott: The Caldecott Medal is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. It is awarded to the artist who created “the most distinguished picture book of the previous year.” Where the Newbery is all about the writing, the Caldecott Medal is all about the ILLUSTRATIONS. Both the Newbery and Caldecott are difficult to predict, but the sheer number of picture books makes the Caldecott an especially difficult one to call. Picture books, however, are shorter and easier to look at, browse, and read through. I feel like I’ve seen and handled most of the books in the running for the Caldecott medal. Again, you can search online for books getting Caldecott attention, but my pick is:
and then, it’s spring by Julie Fogliano
I love the sweet, sweet illustrations in this book. They hearken back to a simpler time and a very patient boy, and his seeds deep in the ground. I love this one.
I love others, like Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Chloe and the Lion (not my pick) is very unusual; sometimes the committee likes illustrations that are new and different. Still, I’m sticking with my favorites.
May the best books win.