Well, I knew something was stirring this year. Something interesting was going to happen. This morning’s announcement of the ALA Youth Media Awards was full of surprises, some welcome and some just a bit strange.
The Coretta Scott King Awards
I haven’t encountered either the Honor or the Medal winner for the Illustrator Award, but I have heard only good things about Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (Laban Carrick Hill, ill. Bryan Collier), so I have no complaints here. As for the Author awards, I’m obviously thrilled for One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia) pulling out the win, and I’m happy that G. Neri’s Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty is getting some recognition with an Honor.
The Theodore Seuss Geisel Award
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Grace Lin) and We Are in a Book (Mo Willems) took away the Honors and Bink and Gollie (Kate DiCamillo and Allison McGhee, ill. Tony Fucile) the top award. I made no predictions in this category, but I’m pleased as punch with the winners, each an exceptional book. I’m also pleased to know that I already have all three books in my early reader collection already, having been some of the first books I ordered when I took my post as Children’s Librarian.
The Randolph Caldecott Award
This is the category where I go, “What?” But I knew this was coming. I couldn’t have predicted these three titles if my life depended on it, but I knew something wacky was afoot. Coretta Scott King winner Dave the Potter earned itself an Honor, along with David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken. That’s right, Interrupting Chicken, a book I don’t recall seeing on any Mock Caldecott lists or predictions. It’s a book I didn’t particularly care for myself, so I find its inclusion here puzzling at best. The Medal winner is A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Phillip Stead and illustrated by first timer Erin E. Stead, and it’s a worthy winner indeed, a sweet, gentle wisp of a tale that cannot but leave you smiling. I’m happy with this win, but I am disappointed not to see City Dog, Country Frog mentioned anywhere. It was my favorite picture book of the year. What does Jon J. Muth have to do to win one of these suckers?
The John Newbery Award
And here I thought all the surprises were going to come from the Caldecott committee. Silly Sharon. One of my Caldecott Honor predictions, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Joyce Sidman, ill. Rick Allen) shows up here as an Honor book, and my prediction for the Medal, One Crazy Summer picks up another shiny sticker with an Honor here. An Honor for Heart of a Samurai (Margi Preus) is a surprise to me also, but nothing is more surprising to me than the Medal winner, Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest. Like Interrupting Chicken, this is a title I haven’t seen in anyone’s predictions and I don’t think was on many people’s radar at all. I haven’t read it yet myself (but you better believe it’s getting checked out first thing tomorrow morning), but I have a sneaking suspicion this may be more of a The Higher Power of Lucky type win than a When You Reach Me.
So that’s all she wrote. My predictions were predictably off, but some wonderful books were named to some wonderful honors this morning, and for once, I actually got to watch the presentation live. Yay for two inches of the snow on the ground and nowhere else I had to be.