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ALA Youth Media Awards 2013: Post-Game Recap

I miss Peter Sieruta.

Many of us get excited when the Newbery and Caldecott Awards are announced alongside the other ALA Youth Media Awards at the beginning of the year.  But I say with certainty that there was no blogger out there half as excited as Peter Sieruta.  At Collecting Children’s Books he poured his heart and soul into the history of the awards, giving facts and background to the winners and where their place on the pantheon of winners really was.  This time last year he wrote the post We Neeeeeeeed Bookmarks! and ended with this passage:

Way back in the early 1980s, I used to shop at a mall bookstore called The Children’s Bookmark. That was where I got my first Cynthia Voigt book, HOMECOMING. M.E. Kerr’s LITTLE LITTLE. Robert Cormier’s EIGHT PLUS ONE. Katherine Paterson’s Newbery winner JACOB HAVE I LOVED. I have many fond memories of that little store. I also remember one incident I witnessed outside the store. A mother and father were heading for the mall exit, when a little girl, maybe six or seven years old, drawn by the word “children” on the sign, started begging to go in the store. In a hurry to leave, her parents dragged her away from the Children’s Bookmark, while she kicked and whined, “But I NEEEEEEED bookmarks!”

That girl is probably now pushing forty, perhaps with little kids of her own. But I still think of her plea for “bookmarks” after all these years. For me, each Newbery Day is slightly different — a happy day, a sad day; a day when I like the winning books, a day when I don’t; a snowy day, a warm day; a day when I eat at Ponderosa or end up with Chinese take-out; a day when I look back at last year’s books and look forward to next year’s books.

I celebrate every “Newbery Day” and I remember each one of them, going back years and years.

They are bookmarks marking the pages of my life.

They were.  I can’t stand that I can’t email him today and ask him questions like “Has a Caldecott Award winner ever won an Honor in the same year?”  I happen to think that this year would have been a particularly fine one for him.  He would have loved the winners.  I know I sure did.  Here are some thoughts on the matter.

It’s All About Me

I did far better in the prediction department this year than usual.  Granted, I never seem to be able to predict the outright winner of either the Caldecott or the Newbery, but that’s par for the course.  The books that did win were near and dear to my heart.  Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan took home the gold.  I think my exact words about it were, “I would actually be right pleased if it walked away with the gold. Is it distinguished?  Absolutely!  And smart and funny and a talking animal book that will even please folks who can’t stand talking animal books. Ivan, you have my vote of confidence.”  As I write this I see that there’s even a One and Only Ivan ad on the right side of my screen.  Good planning, Harper Collins.  That’s foresight for you.

Says the ALA Press Release, “Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Splendors and Glooms” by Laura Amy Schlitz and published by Candlewick Press; “Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon” by Steve Sheinkin and published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press; and “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.”  No real surprises here, aside from the fact that Grace Lin didn’t get anything (much to my own chagrin).  But each of these books was a true winner.  I was inspired by the appearance of Three Times Lucky, a deserving book if ever there was one.  I did not review Bomb, it’s true, but I don’t know that I can say anything that others haven’t.

On the Caldecott side of the equation This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen beat out Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and ALSO illustrated by Jon Klassen.  It was a Klassen vs. Klassen year (and not the last we’ll see, I’d wager).  Klassen gives a helluva good speech, so his Caldecott acceptance will be something to look forward too.  Honestly, I personally would have preferred Extra Yarn to win over the fishy hat sequel, but beggers can’t be choosers.  No sir.

The real Caldecott delight for me was seeing Peter Brown’s Creepy Carrots get some love.  There are certain illustrators that I fear will never get the award chutzpah they deserve.  Your Blackalls, your Santats, your Rexes, etc.  Peter Brown was in that category as well (so was Klassen for that matter) so to see him break out like this was inspiring.  Green was my top pick but at least it got an Honor.  One Cool Friend did very well in the Mock Caldecotts around the country (though I confess I liked the art far more than the text).  Sleep Like a Tiger . . . . meh.  Zagarenski won a Caldecott Honor before.  Both this as This Is Not My Hat strike me as books that win when their predecessors were stronger, but of course a committee isn’t supposed to take that into consideration.  So there you have it.  Which brings us to . . .

Whitey Whitey Whiteville

Surely I’m not the only person to notice that not a SINGLE person of color won a Caldecott or a Newbery anything this year.  I’m not hung up on the whole girls-win-Newberys-and-boys-win-Caldecotts debate since I don’t think it’s a serious issue, but I AM a bit concerned that we’re forgetting about some stellar diverse books.  Grace Lin was just the tip of the iceberg.  Kadir Nelson has been referred to as the Susan Lucci of the children’s book world, never winning the gold.  I suspect that’s because he hasn’t been paired with the right text yet, but it’s not as if there wasn’t some great stuff out there this year.  Crow, The Lions of Little Rock, and Chickadee all featured main characters of color (something that none of these winners do either).  They didn’t win.  Nor did Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, Jazz Age Josephine, or any of the other stellar titles on the illustration side.  People wonder why we have awards like the Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpre.  I say it’s because if we didn’t this type of thing would happen every year.

Speaking of which, I was fascinated by the Andrea Davis Pinkney win of Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America.  This book should be required reading by children young and old around our nation.  The Benjamin Banneker chapter alone is worth it.  I was talking to someone about the book and we speculated on what a version starring women would consist of and who you would pick.  All well and good until you realize that it would probably have to end with Condoleezza Rice.  Hopefully Ms. Pinkney would see a different way of tackling that.

Said the press release: “Two King Author Honor Books were selected: “Each Kindness” by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis and published by Nancy Paulsen Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; and “No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller” by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie and published by Carolrhoda Lab, an imprint of Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.”  It is very interesting to me to see an award where a picture book and a young adult novel can win in the same category.  Great choices, though.  I know that Monica Edinger had been hoping Woodson might relive her picture-book-winning-a-Newbery moment with her latest text.

And yes, Bryan Collier won for I, Too, Am America, which is a great book no question.  What truly thrilled me was seeing Christopher Myers’ “H.O.R.S.E.” win an Honor.  Except it just made me kick myself again that I didn’t review when I had the chance.  Gah! Other winners were: ” “Ellen’s Broom,” illustrated by Daniel Minter, written by Kelly Starling Lyons and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; and “I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr.” illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Martin Luther King, Jr. and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.”

On the Pura Belpre side, it looks as though Gary Schmidt may have lost out awardwise with Okay for Now, but his Martin de Porress: The Rose in the Desert got some Award lovin’ thanks to David Diaz.  However, the fact that no Illustrator Honor Books were chosen really chaps my hide.  My sole comfort is that already in 2013 I’ve seen some stellar work by a LOT of good Latino folks.  Here’s hoping future years have a rosier outlook.  On the authorial side, Maria from Sesame Street (a.k.a the lady who sings “Turn Back Oh Man” on the cast album of “Godspell” a.k.a. Sonia Manzano) won an Honor for her pretty darn good The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano.  It’s fine fare.  Very middle school.  If you haven’t read it, do.

Dribs and Drabs

Eerdmans is the little publisher who can once more.  They first shot to prominence when their A River of Words garnered a nice and lovely Caldecott Honor.  No Caldecotts were on the menu today, but that didn’t stop them from getting a Schneider Family Book Aard for Claire Alexander’s Back to Front and Upside Down! not to mention a Batchelder Honor for Son of a Gun by Anne de Graaf.

The award I snarkily refer to as The Weston Woods Award went to a bit of nonfiction this year.  The Andrew Carnegie Medal was handed over to Katja Torneman, producer of “Anna, Emma and the Condors,”.  That made me wonder if the slow creeping influence of the Core Curriculum can change things with these awards.  Aside from Bomb getting a Newbery Honor and this, few nonfiction titles jumped out of their boxes.  Maybe next year.

Speaking of nonfiction, no real surprises when it came to the nonfiction winners.  Again, white as all get out, but good writing just the same.

A VERY nice surprise to see Tamora Pierce win the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults.  Extra points for her write-up ending with the line, “She currently lives with her husband (spouse-creature) and a myriad of animals in Syracuse, New York.”

And a special shout out to Raina Telgemeier for winning a Stonewall Honor for her remarkable little Drama.

Now as crazy as it sounds my favorite winners this year might have been the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winners for the most distinguished beginning reader books.  First and foremost, my beloved Up! Tall! And High! written and illustrated by Ethan Long was the proper winner.  But look at these Honors!

Three Geisel Honor Books were named: Let’s Go for a Drive! written and illustrated by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group; Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers; and Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, written and illustrated by Cece Bell and published by Candlewick Press.

Wow.  I like every last one of those. Even that darn cat.  Color me impressed.

Final Thoughts

Those of you watching the awards live probably could not help but notice my former co-worker Jack Martin, the president of YALSA, take the stage and liven the joint up a bit.  That’s Jack for you.  When they did an article in the Times on the best dressed librarians in the system, he was front and center.  In this case his coffee must have been working particularly well since he was throwing out terms like “love-bombs” and “ballyhoo” like nobody’s business.  If he isn’t tapped to run the bloody awards from here on in then there is no justice in the universe.

Of course, the big name titles this year were the ones that suffered the most.  Wonder, as predicted, got shut out.  Not so surprising on the Newbery side.  VERY surprising on the Schneider Family Book Award side.  It apparently got beaten out by A Dog Named Homeless by Sara Lean.  Did NOT see that one coming.  As for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, it didn’t win any writing awards but it did garner an Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.  Special shout out too to Beth Fama and her Monstrous Beauty getting an Odyssey Honor, by the way!

So what have we learned?  Well, we need a bit more diversity in our winners, that’s for certain.  But it was a good year.  Strong winners and contenders.  I think I can finally close the book on 2012 for good.  Whew!

Now check out these gorgeous little 2013 titles right over here.  I daresay you’ve never seen the like.  Can I interest you in some Newbery/Caldecott 2014 predictions, eh?


About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Thought you’d like this Peter Brown reaction to The Call:

  2. Colby Sharp says:

    My early 2014 favorites:
    The Center of Everything by Linda Urban
    Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson (Knowing that you were part of the team that gave Big Sky a pretty sticker I hope you review this one.)
    Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

  3. Well if we’re going to start 2014 predictions:
    Hattie Ever After is indeed fantastic historical fiction
    Hokey Pokey is awe inspiring
    Lincoln’s Grave Robbers is as compelling as one would expect.
    I can’t wait to see some reviews of Navigating Early…I thought I was much too much the ideal reader for this one to form any sort of useful opinion on award chances.

    • Colby Sharp says:

      I thought Navigating Early was brilliant.

      • Elizabeth Bird says:

        HA! I was kidding! Only, see, now that you’ve brought it up . . . yeah, all these books are certainly contenders. Definitely liked Navigating Early more than Moon Over Manifest. Did I Newbery like it? We’ll see. Hokey Pokey’s the top of the pops, no question. Is Hattie Ever After a stand on its own title for the below 14 set? If so I’ll give it a try. Took the Urban home to read it. And if you haven’t read One Came Home by Amy Timberlake yet then you are missing one of the big books of the year. You have been warned. Ditto Doll Bones by Holly Black. That book . . . . wowzer.

  4. Colby Sharp says:

    I have read and enjoyed One Came Home. Excited to hear what people have to say about the ending.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Oh, I have many thoughts indeed on the ending. But I don’t think it’s an Okay for Now problem. Review to come!

  5. Just a quick note, asking people who are now ordering books that won awards, to order books that won the American Indan Library Association’s 2012 Youth Literature Awards, too:

    I’d also like to take a minute to note your “Whitey Whitey Whiteville” section. Though many applaud CBC Diversity’s existence, I wish the CBC Diversity committee would put more substance into their statements about promoting diversity, and remove books with stereotypes from their Goodreads bookshelf:

    Leaving those books on their shelf, I think, is akin to Whitey Whitey Whiteville.

  6. Most years, the Newbery Medal winning book is what I call an “I-can-live-with-it” book. Meaning that it wasn’t my personal top pick, but I am satisfied with the winner. Usually, as long as we have it in the collection, I am pleased. I try to not set my heart on a specific title. Some years, I can’t help it, and this year was one of them. I was thrilled and touched when they announced The One and Only Ivan as the winner.

    Betsy, not only was I surprised that Wonder didn’t get named for the Schneider, but I was rather sorry that Sy Montgomery’s biography of Temple Grandin was not named. I have not read A Dog Named Homeless–I ordered it yesterday, so I’m hoping to read it very soon.

    As for 2014–well, I have several books checked out, but I’m still working on 2013 books (finally reading Same Sun Here and thoroughly enjoying it). I have Navigating Early and Hokey Pokey checked out. (Also the new Bad Kitty and Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer, which I’m looking forward to reading). Planning to look through Publishers Weekly’s Spring 2013 Edelweiss listings when I’m on the reference this morning to see what’s coming up in the next months.

  7. Thanks for the shout-out, Betsy! (P.S. I think Colby’s right that there will be discussions about the ending of ONE CAME HOME.)

  8. I too miss Peter and his take on the ALA awards.

    For our household- the best part was recognition for Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lionness series. My daughter lived those books, reading them over and over until in tatters, lost or otherwise ruined. We would just buy another copy as they were so important for her. I know a number of other girls/women who feel the same. And having met the lady, I can say she is also a class act.

  9. Awww, thanks for the kind words Betsy. If I ever do find myself on the podium you would most definitely be one of the people I thank for where I am in this business.

  10. Nina Lindsay says:

    Betsy, diversity in children’s lit writers/ illustrators was a topic of conversation at several parts of the conference… mostly noting that it seems like there are fewer new book creators of color breaking the field. There was no John Steptoe award given this year. Very few Belpre titles. etc.

  11. I wrote to Peter last night. Just to send it out to the universe. Had to fight back tears as I hit “send”. Still in the anger stage of that particular loss. Not sure acceptance will ever come.
    I will give Ivan another try. I found it pretty twee when I originally started it and gave it to a friend with a “let me know what you think.” They never did…and now I cannot recall which friend I gave it to, but bet they’re thinking…Yay! I have a first printing of this year’s Newbery.
    Agree that I would love to have switched Extra Yarn for the Hat book. I like my picture books to SHOW the action, not hide it (literally) in the weeds. Blah, blah, blah, imagination… I know.
    Love all eight of the big award Honors and thrilled that the committees showed so much love. Spread it around!!!
    And love your frustration of the lack of color in the winners. Me, too. Is it possible the committees actually think “Well, those books will get the ______ award that was created for them.”????

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Technically they’re not supposed to think that way. And having served on a committee, I can attest that that is NEVER a part of the conversation. But one worries just the same.

      Glad you wrote Peter. Just wish he’d get back to you.

      • I’ve never served on a committee, but I have heard reports from authors who have sat in on open committee discussions about their own books in which such comments were made.

  12. lalibrarylady86 says:

    I would love to see Jack Martin become a permanent host of the announcements. My personal favorite phrase was “it’s like my own personal roller disco” or something to that effect. Will have to re-watch just for his comments!

  13. Susanna Reich says:

    Thanks for pointing out the lack of diversity among the big award-winners. And where are the black women illustrators? I hope future committees give this some thought.

  14. Thank you for pointing out the lack of diversity. Folks here are already talking about picks for 2014. To get more diversity, we need to build some buzz around the books by authors and illustrators, and featuring characters, who are diverse. That may not influence the committee, but it ensures people hear about and read those books. I haven’t read enough 2013 books to buzz myself, but I’m sure some of you have.

    Nelson Mandela by Kadir Nelson is spectacular (January 2013).

  15. I will jump in here on the lack of diversity among the big award winners – thank you for bringing it up. The library patrons do, the parents first and then the kids. argh!
    Also want to thank you for this post – you provide a depth and perspective that I adore. You make my job more colorful. Just sayin’ if I ever get an award for anything….I’ll be thanking you as well Betsy- you just won’t know it.

  16. Naomi Caldwell says:

    Thank you Elizabeth Bird for highlighting the myopic “white only” perspective reflected by the 2013 Newbery and Caldecott winners. The historical record these awards reflect -with few exceptions -a mindset that collaborates the practice of open segregation in the United States. It is no surprise that the various ethic caucuses associated with ALA created similar awards. Every child should be able to see a reflection of herself walking through the pages of a book. I have lived long enough to see the “all white world” Of children’s books diversify. I have lived long enough to see an African American president elected not once but twice. And by grace I trust that I will see the day when Newbery and Caldecott awards truly reflect the stories of the people, for the people and by the people. I live in hope and work for change.

  17. Ronni Krasnow says:

    Betsy– I was SO disappointed to see WONDER completely shut out! Why is that “not surprising” on the Newbery side? Because it’s already commercially successful? I read and loved IVAN, too, but I was a little outraged to see WONDER just completely ignored. I don’t get it at all!

  18. In 1947 The Little Island illus. by Leonard Weisgard; text by Margaret wise Brown won the Caldecott Medal. Rain, Drop, Splash illus. by Leonard Weisgard; text by Alvin Tresselt won a Caldecott Honor.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Thank you, Diane! So it’s been done once before and just took roughly 66 years to repeat. Whew!

  19. It’s interesting what you said about diversity in the awards this year- I have always felt SO puzzled by Khadhir Nelson’s lack of a Caldecott. Also- did you read Ashley Bryan’s Who Built the Stable? So lovely! Again..Caldecott?? I sometimes almost wish we didn’t have awards like the Corretta Scott King, because I have to wonder if committees ever contend themselves with keeping a black illustrator out of the Caldecott running, knowing they’ll make a showing in the King field. Do you ever think that? Or, are we lacking new, minority authors and illustrators as another comment mentioned?

  20. Black as a dominant color in picture books seems to be the new black. From experience: white people (like myself) are overlooked when it comes to illustrating people of color and even transgender doing ordinary things. Been illustrating diversity before it was currently labeled “diversity”.

  21. I’ve come to this conclusion: less women of color and less women in general getting book illustration jobs is the why of unbalanced ratios of men winning awards.

  22. “The Benjamin Banneker chapter alone is worth it. I was talking to someone about the book and we speculated on what a version starring women would consist of and who you would pick. All well and good until you realize that it would probably have to end with Condoleezza Rice. Hopefully Ms. Pinkney would see a different way of tackling that.”

    In no way do I wish to belittle concerns about the lack of African-American, Latino, and other ethnicities in the award winners . . . but is political diversity not approved as well?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Political diversity is what makes our nation great. Personal opinions too, for that matter.

  23. I really enjoyed “The Mighty Miss Malone”, myself.

  24. John Sieruta says:

    Hi Betsy – Schuyler wrote me about your post. Thank you! I’m sure Peter watched it all from above. We’ve had thunder for the last couple of days…perhaps, just maybe, he wasn’t thrilled with all the winners. : ) But by the same token, it could have been thunderous applause.


  25. Betsy, Thanks for keeping the spotlight on diversity. Really crucial that we don’t lose sight of this.

  26. I realize that this is not the intention of this thread, but I couldn’t help chim in re: the ending to a possible sequel to Hand in Hand profiling 10 black women. Why not end with Oprah Winfrey?

  27. The teens in my writing workshop are already chomping at the bit for DOLL BONES, based on the title.

  28. I keep wondering (ha!) why everyone was expecting WONDER to win the Schneider.
    His problems were primarily cosmetic and the only true disability he had was hearing loss, which was corrected. It would have been like awarding a character wearing glasses. I personally would have been very disappointed to see WONDER get any of these awards…. but I know I’m in the minority.

    This is my first post, but I love your blog. Thanks for all your work!

  29. The Pirate of Kindergarten won the Children’s divison for the 2011 Schneider–it is about a girl with double vision, which is corrected by an eye patch.

    • Yeah… and as a parent of a monocular child, I was disappointed by that one too.

      Also with Wonder, the focus is not about his hearing but more about his social impediments caused by his deformity. Is deformity a disability to be compared to sensory or brain disabilities? or is it Apples & Oranges? It’s a gray area to be sure…

      • Holly–you are right, this is definitely a gray area. I looked at the award manual and found this criteria:

        “Definition of disability. Dr. Schneider has intentionally allowed for a broad interpretation by her wording, the book “must portray some aspect of living with a disability, whether the disability is physical, mental, or emotional.” This allows each committee to decide on the qualifications of particular titles. Books with death as the main theme are generally disqualified.”

        It’s deliberately broad–which allows for a greater variety of titles to be considered, but also can make it more difficult in the end. It’s definitely possible that the committee decided that Wonder was not qualified. I would think that it was, but can understand that others would not.

        I think comparing disabilities is definitely an apples and oranges situation–I wouldn’t want to be in a position to “judge” disabilities, and I think that can lead down the wrong path.

        As for The Pirate of Kindergarten-were you disappointed in the book itself, or by it being chosen? (If you don’t want to elaborate, I understand.)

    • I was disappointed that it was chosen because I feel that a disability is not something that can be corrected or cured, it’s something that a person needs to cope with and move forward in spite of.

      I suppose I am overly sensitive to the issue having several close family members living with differing kinds of issues from blindness to cleft palate to ADHD to bipolar etc…, so I’m maybe not the right person to speak to this topic objectively. I had a pretty strong negative reaction to “Wonder” in general. I also feel that the book is more about how the people around Augie learned to accept him rather than his own personal growth, specifically the one boy (I can’t remember the character’s name) who became his friend and should have gotten the award at the end.

  30. When I was on the Caldecott, we did not concern ourselves with a King backup plan or even mention the race or gender of the illustrators. ALL titles that year were considered (and I have more than 700 annotations of my own to prove it). The award is also consensus driven, which means that our favorite books were sometimes left off the list.

    I am very sad that there was no Steptoe New Talent award and no honor awards for illustration for the Belpre! If we look at all of the titles last year written by Blacks, we have a list of about 50 books. What? Were there about 8000 children/teen books published last year? We have to do something different and better and more to promote authors of color! Step number one is to BUY books by people of color. Here is a challenge: Buy two more books by people of color than you did last year.

    • And if we were looking at books by Native authors, I wonder if we’d come up with more than five different writers? If we counted books by writers who aren’t Native, but whose books have Native characters, we’d easily be in double digits if not at that 100 mark, but I’ve seen the usual problems (bias, stereotyping, errors). The big hit for 2012 year is TIGER LILY, but it has multiple problems.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I too was baffled by the lack of a John Steptoe Award. Surely there were contenders, though it’s clear we have so few authors and illustrators to choose from. As for Native authors, three come immediately to mind. Just three. More if you count the deceased. We shouldn’t have to.

      • Betsy, they didn’t even announce that no titles were chosen for the Steptoe, unlike the Belpre committee declining to name an illustrator for the honor designation. That made me think that perhaps it was not an annual thing, but the award criteria says that “One award will be presented annually for text or illustrations. The committee may choose to select one book for writing and a second book for illustration. The award need not be given if the committee so decides in a particular year.”

        So, they decided not to award titles. Which is really too bad. I always have an order out immediately after the awards are announced, since I never have every title from every honor/winner from every award. I would have loved to have added more titles from the CSK awards.

        I think the lack of an honor title for illustrator for the Belpre and John Steptoe award for the Coretta Scott King, and the difficulty of authors/illustrators of color to get noticed in the publishing business in general, should motivate us to get more involved in nominating titles. If we feel strongly about a title, we shouldn’t assume that the committee will know about it. Although these committee members are undoubtedly dedicated to their task and in seeking out eligible books, it can’t hurt.

  31. Well, never mind. The nomination process for some committees is a bit more complicated than I thought. I know several committees have asked for title suggestions on listservs in the past, so I thought that was legit for all committees.

  32. Augie in Wonder had twenty-seven surgeries, so I don’t think it’s right to say his disability was merely cosmetic. He had a hole in the roof of his mouth and was unable to chew even after cleft palate surgery, so he couldn’t eat without having food cut into tiny pieces. I think that would qualify under the ADA as a limitation to a major life activity.

  33. The lack of multicultural titles was a concern during Cybils discussions as well, which is why I have a World Wednesday round up on my blog. Hopefully if there are more conversations about multicultural characters, more people will look for and ask for such books, and maybe publishers will start to actively seek out more diverse manuscripts. We can only hope.


  1. […] written by white authors. Librarian and blogger Betsy Bird’s conclusion at the end of her recap of the 2013 ALA Youth Media Awards was simple: “Whitey Whitey Whiteville.”  You can see the actual figures at author Mitali […]

  2. […] criteria for these major awards. Perhaps committees don’t notice what Betsy Bird calls “the whitey whitey whiteville” of their lists. Perhaps they think they’re somehow being color-blind in their choices. […]