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Post-Game Wrap-Up: The ALA Youth Media Awards

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Photo courtesy of the American Library Association website.

Now THAT is how you do an award season, my friends.  Boy oh boy, I was mighty pleased MIGHTY PLEASED by a good 98% of the winners (and of that 2% that didn’t please me, I’ll never tell).

I fully intend to do a post about all the neat stuff I saw on the conference floor but just for today let’s do a quickie recap of some of the award winners and what they say about the state of the world today.  A couple folks asked if I’d be doing my usual Pre-Game / Post-Game round-up, but alas I could not because like a fool I actually attended the conference.  And fun as that was, the Wi-Fi wasn’t exactly consistent.

And now, untimely ripped from the ALA website:

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

“The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” written by Kelly Barnhill, is the 2017 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; and “Wolf Hollow,” written by Lauren Wolk and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

So, I’m feeling great about these wins.  I’m feeling particularly good about the fact that I read Ms. Barnhill’s book at the tail end of 2016.  I had the pleasure of interviewing her alongside Adam Gidwitz at the last BEA together on a panel, so there you go.  Now earlier this month I wrote a post about Newbery and Caldecott winners where I said that the choice of these awards often speaks to the times in which we live.  With that in mind, this year’s Newbery Award winner is about a nation (of sorts) held in despair through the proliferation of fake news.  Just a little sad now that I never got around to reviewing it.

As for the others, I’m admittedly a little shocked that I actually managed to successfully predict Ashley Bryan’s book at one time.  Wow!  What a clever committee for choosing that book.  I was happy enough when it won a Coretta Scott King.

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 is the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Leave Me Alone!” illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership; “Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group; “Du Iz Tak?” illustrated and written by Carson Ellis, and published by Candlewick Press; and “They All Saw a Cat,” illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

They didn’t even really have to announce the Newbery winners, since my heart was fully sated after seeing Javaka Steptoe take home the gold.  Entirely deserved.  Wholly deserved.  Wonderful news.  Of course, this does mean that Little, Brown & Co. just won the Caldecott for the third straight year.  Come on, guys.  Y’all are running out of skin to tattoo.

And by the way, how great was it that Leave Me Alone! got an Honor?  I read it tonight to my son in honor of the Honor.  Funny books often don’t get any play but not only did this win but Du Iz Tak? as well!  I’m so pleased.  Ellis really went above and beyond the call of duty with that book.  It was particularly nice to know that Mr. Christie was in the audience when Freedom in Congo Square was announced as well.

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

“March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, is the King Author Book winner. The book is illustrated by Nate Powell and published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.

Two King Author Honor Books were selected: “As Brave as You,” written by Jason Reynolds, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Horn Book announced today via Twitter that “…we have never had a single book win 4 YMA awards in a single year”.  Roger Sutton confirmed this on his blog post Winning, saying that “If John Lewis (pictured above at the march in Atlanta on Saturday) hasn’t made enough history, he is also the first person to win four awards in one day from the ALA.”  Well done, sir!

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Three King Illustrator Honor Book were selected: “Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group; “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and “In Plain Sight,” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, written by Richard Jackson, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

And had this been all that Radiant Child had won, I would have been happy knowing it gotten something.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.

The 2017 winner is Nikki Grimes, whose award-winning works include “Bronx Masquerade,” which won the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 2003, and “Words with Wings,” the recipient of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor in 2014. In addition, Grimes received the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award in 2016 and the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2006.

I mean.  Seriously.  Best choice ever.

2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.

Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas. The author and/or editor of more than 30 books for adults and children, her latest for young people, “The Turtle of Oman,” was chosen as a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the ALA. She has received four Pushcart Prizes, was a National Book Award finalist, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, amongst her many honors.

Aside from my own choice, of course.  I may have failed to mention it here on the blog but I am currently serving as the Chair of the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award.  Ms. Nye is amazing.  The only shock here should be that she hasn’t done this before.

Shout out to my stellar committee.  They  couldn’t all make it but, Monica Edinger, Wendy Lukehart, and I filled in as best as we could:

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Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States:

“Cry, Heart, But Never Break” is the 2017 Batchelder Award winner. Originally published in Danish in 2001 as “Græd blot hjerte,” the book was written by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charolotte Pardi, translated by Robert Moulthrop and published by Enchanted Lion Books.

Three Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “Over the Ocean,” published by Chronicle Books LLC, written and illustrated by Taro Gomi and translated from the Japanese by Taylor Norman; “As Time Went By,” published by NorthSouth Books, Inc., written and illustrated by José Sanabria and translated from the German by Audrey Hall; and “The Ballad of a Broken Nose,” published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, written by Arne Svingen and translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.

I was so pleased to hear that Ringtved’s book won it all.  That title is amazing.  I’m still impressed that it came to the States at all.  Congratulations to Enchanted Lion and Claudia for the win!

Pura Belpré Awards honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

“Lowriders to the Center of the Earth,” illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Cathy Camper and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

Two Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were named:

“Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist,” illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, written by Susan Wood and published by Charlesbridge.

“The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Juana & Lucas,” written by Juana Medina, is the Pura Belpré Author Award winner. The book is illustrated by Juana Medina and published by Candlewick Press.

One Belpré Author Honor Book was named: “The Only Road,” written by Alexandra Diaz and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/A Paula Wiseman Book.

I pretty much started pumping my fists in the air ala Arsenio when I heard that Lowriders had gotten the top honor.  Yeah, it had!  I adore reading that book to my kids.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

“March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.

Four Sibert Honor Books were named:

“Giant Squid,” written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership; “Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story,” written by Caren Stelson and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.; “Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II,” written by Albert Marrin and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC; and “We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler,” written by Russell Freedman and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Giant Squid!  Sachiko!  Such amazing titles here.  I’m so pleased for all the winners.  Well done, guys!

Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:

“Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor,” written by Rick Riordan and published by Disney Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group, and “If I Was Your Girl” written by Meredith Russo and published by Flatiron Books, are the 2017 recipients of the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, respectively.

Three Honor Books were selected:

“When the Moon Was Ours,” written by Anna-Marie McLemore and published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press; “Unbecoming,” written by Jenny Downham and published by Scholastic Inc. by arrangement with David Fickling Books; and “Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community,” written by Robin Stevenson and published by Orca Book Publishers.

In some ways the fact that a Rick Riordan book won a major award at the ALA Youth Media Awards was newsworthy in and of itself.  I haven’t read it, but boy am I curious now!!

That’s my two cents.  Your thoughts?

 

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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.

Comments

  1. If Clinton had won the election, would March have won 4 awards?

    • Is that what you got from this book’s wins, Jean? Really? I don’t see what Clinton has anything to do with the selection of MARCH. The book isn’t about Clinton. It’s about Civil Rights.

      MARCH has been honored on its merits. I would encourage you to read the trilogy if you haven’t. Maybe in reading it you’ll see its literary merits, and maybe you won’t. It’s all a matter of personal taste. In my humble opinion it’s a book worthy of its accolades, but it has nothing at all to do with Clinton.

  2. Thank you for posting about Cry, Heart, But Never Break on your blog earlier in the year. I ordered it because of that and I was able to read it to some classes after it won and they really liked it.

  3. More to the point Jean, if March book three had not been in the running, would Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan have walked off with four awards instead? I’m partly joking but Bryan’s work has been so consistently superb that I have to wonder. No offense to the amazing Grimes but I wish Bryan had won instead of her. I am so pleased about “We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler,” written by Russell Freedman winning! As I said in my review, this title circles back to how the amazing Freedman started his career, writing about teenagers and young adults. It is superb and I have been hoping since I read it that librarians would recognize its excellence!

    Betsy, do not read Riordan’s award winner without first reading the beginning of the series, Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer. Riordan took a number of risks in writing this series and I am thrilled to see him rewarded! He started with death of a main character, he included a deeply religious Muslim girl, he tackled the subject of homelessness in a way I really haven’t seen done for youth lit before. And this is all in the first book! In the second book, he has a wonderful character that is the reason for winning the Stonewall award as well as very pointed comments about the damage a bigoted parent can do to a child. I am really overjoyed that Riordan won!

  4. I was thrilled for March, Radiant Child, They All Saw A Cat too, Betsy, and many of the other winners as well! I loved R. Gregory Christie’s art for Freedom in Congo Square. I was a bit shocked that Some Writer didn’t win any kind of honor though. But some more of my favorites are listed here as ALA Notables:

    http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb

  5. Were you really at the ALA in Atlanta? That’s just down the road from Charlotte. (well, just 5 hours away) Wish I’d known!