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ALA Youth Media Awards Recognizes Comics

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced Monday morning at the ALA mid-winter meeting in Chicago, and for the first time ever, graphic novels received both Newbery and Caldecott honors.

Established in 1921, the Newbery Medal recognizes the most distinguished American book published for children. This year, El Deafo by Cece Bell was awarded a Newbery honor, making it the first time the Newbery committee has ever given this honor to a graphic novel.

El Deafo has been getting a lot of buzz: It was cited on many Best Book of the year lists, including, the Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2014 by the Good Comcis For Kids crew, and Monica Edinger actually made the argument that it should qualify for the Newbery based on the text alone.

In something that’s unprecedented in the ALA book awards, This One Summer, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, received both a Caldecott Honor, which is given to the artist who had created the most distinguished picture book of the year, and a Printz honor. The Printz award recognizes books that exemplify literary excellence in young adult literature.

Hidden by Loic Dauvillier and illustrated by Marc Lizano was awarded the Baltcheder Award, which is given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States. Hidden was also awarded a Sydney Taylor Book Award for outstanding books for children and teens that portray the Jewish Experience.  (This is not an ALA award, but an award given by the Association of Jewish Libraries.)

Congratulations to all these well-deserving writers and artists.

It’s wonderful to see that comics continue to be recognized in the “mainstream” book awards.

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 3 and regularly reviews for SLJ, LMC. In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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