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May 2014

Children’s Literature Awards

Have you ever wondered about the medals that appear on some children’s books? Probably lots of books you read (or were handed) when you were a kid sported these tiny, shiny seals, and you still find them on books today—golds, silvers, and bronzes. Many children’s literature award panels (and I mean many!) present these medals to authors who contribute works of excellence and distinction to the field of children’s books, but each award has a different focus and definition of what merits a medal.

The Newbery Medal    newberymedal

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The award goes all the way back to 1922, and each year, committee names a winner and at least one (though usually more) honor books.

2014 Winner


Flora & Ulysses – Kate DiCamillo (J D548f)

2014 Honors

newbery_doll    newbery_billy    newbery_one-came-home    newbery_paperboy

Doll Bones – Holly Black (J B5612d)

The Year of Billy Miller – Kevin Henkes (J H388y)

One Came Home – Amy Timberlake

Paperboy – Vince Vawter (J V398p)


The Caldecott Medal    caldecottmedal

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. (That’s right! This award goes to the artist who illustrates the picturebook—not the author.) The committee chooses a winner and one or more honor books each year—take a look at some past winners and see how diverse the illustrations are year to year!

2014 Winner


Locomotive – Brian Floca (J 385.097 F56L)

2014 Honors

caldecott_journey    caldecott_flora-flamingo    caldecott_mr-wuffles

Journey – Aaron Becker (J-P B383j)

Flora and the Flamingo – Holly Schaar Idle (J-P Id54f)

Mr. Wuffles! – David Wiesner (J-P W6365m)


The Coretta Scott King Book Award    cskingseal

Starting in 1970, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King. This award also has several pieces. There’s the Author Award, the Illustrator Award, the John Steptoe Award for New Talent, and the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement (those last two divisions—added in 1995 and 2010 respectively) are named for previous award winners). The committee also names honor books for the Author and Illustrator award.

2014 Winner—Author Award


P.S. Be Eleven – Rita Williams Garcia (J W6751p)

2014 Honors—Author Award

csking_march    csking_words    csking_darius-twig

March: Book One – John Lewis

Words with Wings – Nikki Grimes

Darius & Twig – Walter Dean Myers


The Stonewall Book Award—Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award    stonewallseal

The first and most enduring award for GLBT books is the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. Like the Coretta Scott King award, the Stonewall Book Award has several divisions, and recently, one of them has been devoted to children’s and YA literature—the Mike Morgan and Larry Romans award. Since The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd received the first award in 2010, many other books have won and been honored for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.

2014 Winner(s!)

stonewall_beautiful-ugly    stonewall_angie

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children – Kristin Cronn-Mills

Fat Angie – e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

2014 Honors

stonewall_nate    stonewall_branded    stonewall_two-boys

Better Nate Than Ever – Tim Federic

Branded by the Pink Triangle – Ken Setterington

Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan (ebrary)


More awards to explore…

The (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award

The Pura Belpré Award

The (Laura Ingalls) Wilder Award

The Michael L. Printz Award

The Schneider Family Book Award

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Welcome to the Desert of the Real

I watch a lot of reality television.  My favorite show used to be Ace of Cakes, but like all shows I truly love, they stopped making new episodes.  I moved on to Cake Boss, but there was too much yelling in that one.  Dance Moms has a horribly hypnotic hold on me, as well as older episodes of Project Runway.  I have the recent discovery of a Roku Lifetime channel to thank for those latter two.

To compliment my penchant for “reality,” I have come upon a cache of reality television inspired YA.  If you, like me, try to vary your intake between the written word and unfortunate amounts of Real Housewives, here are a few book recommendations for you.

books 1Fans of Supernanny read: Reality Boy by A.S. King.  This book is so dark and angry in parts, you’d never know it was written by the same person who created Ask the Passengers.  The plot focuses on a boy who was featured on a Suppernanny-like program with devastating lasting effects.  It is frightening for how real the story could be.  I like to believe the seeds of hope planted at the end are just as likely to be real as well.

Fans of Top Chef read: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams.  Here is a more lighthearted story.  I’ve always liked food competitions (and books that feature food), because it less about voting someone off an island and more about becoming champion based on skill.  In Pizza, sixteen-year-old Sophie grew up working in her family’s restaurant.  Her best friend Alex convinces her to audition for “Teen Test Kitchen.”  Sophie is completely unprepared for the notoriety that follows.  I really wish Teen Test Kitchen were an actual show.

Fans of Jon and Kate Plus Eight or 19 Kids and Counting read: Something Real by Heather Demetrios (J D464s).  What happens when children like the Gosselin twins and sextuplets grow up and want nothing more than to be left alone?  That is the question posed in Demetrios’ debut book.  Oldest sister Bonnie™ Baker suffered a breakdown on air that led to the cancelation of her family’s reality show “Baker’s Dozen.”  Now Bonnie™ has managed to make a new life for herself, until her mother resurrects the show for a new series.  This is a dark book especially if you watched a fair amount of Jon and Kate Plus 8 like me.  It poses how damaging shows like this could be years from now.

books 2Fans of The Voice read:  The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer.  In this book, an awful reality show comes to take over titular Selwyn Academy.  Protagonist Ethan and his friends scheme to ruin the show’s nefarious plans.  I admit, as a writer, I have always wondered what a reality show about writing would be like.  “Boring” was my first thought.  Seeing a bunch of people sitting in front of notebooks or laptops and alternating between internal bouts of megalomania and self-loathing doesn’t really translate well to screen.  But in this book I was given a close second—artists taking down reality television as only they can.

Fans of the 7 Up series read:  You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle.  Five teenagers star in a documentary series about their everyday lives.  However, the result is a little like Schrodinger’s Cat:  does the observation of their lives fundamentally alter and determine what their lives are?  The perils and advantages of even small amounts of fame are masterfully explored in Castle’s take.  I’ve always enjoyed the 7 Up series, but as the children (now adults) chronicled reflect on the years gone by, it is interesting to see how “reality documentaries” can be difficult to actually live.

Fans of The Amazing Race read: For Real by Alison Cherry.  The only drawback to this book is that it’s not slated for release until December of 2014.  However, it’ll be worth the wait!  Claire has always been in older sister Miranda’s shadow.  However, when Miranda finds out her boyfriend has been cheating on her, she and Claire decide to compete on a show much like The Amazing Race.  A surprise twist may mean love for Claire, or complete humiliation broadcast for the world to see.  My favorite part of the Amazing Race was always Phil Keoghan, but maybe if the show really had Miranda and Claire as competitors, I’d watch it with more interest.

Reality television is like candy for the soul.  I firmly believe if you watch too much, your spirit will rot.  However, reading is such an intellectual activity!  It’s good for you.  Read these for a good fix of fiction narrative.  Ore, arguably, something more real.

Keep Calm

keep calmAs the year comes to a close and final projects and papers loom over your heads, just remember to keep calm and ask a librarian. Good luck everyone! You’re almost done.