Once a year, lovers of books for children await the announcement of the American Library Association’s youth media awards with as much anticipation as filmgoers reserve for the Oscars. I thought I would use this post to talk about a few of the winners. The complete list of this year’s winners, which were announced at the ALA midwinter convention in San Diego on January 10th, may be found here: http://ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pr.cfm?id=6048
A Sick Day for Amos McGee : written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
The Caldecott medal is given to the most distinguished American picture book for children. The author and illustrator for this year’s winner are a husband and wife team, with this being the illustrator’s first book. The story is very sweet. Amos McGee is the zoo keeper who gives his animal friends special attention every day. When he has the sniffles and doesn’t show up for work, his animal friends pay him a visit and give him some special attention. The pictures were done with woodblock prints and pencil and have an old-fashioned feel. This is an excellent choice for preschoolers and early elementary age children.
Moon Over Manifest: written by Clare Vanderpool
Amazingly, this is the author’s first book. She said she based the fictional town of Manifest on the real town of Frontenac, Kansas, home of her grandparents. Twelve-year-old Abilene, the book’s protagonist, has spent most of her young life riding the rails with her father during the Great Depression. Now her father has sent her to Manifest, a town where he spent part of his own youth, to live with his friend, Shady, a bartender/preacher. Abilene misses her father terribly, but comes to know some of the town’s colorful characters, including the newspaper woman, Hattie Mae, and the town diviner, Miss Sadie, who lives down the Path to Perdition. After Abilene finds a cigar box of old letters and mementoes, Miss Sadie helps her uncover some secrets about the town in 1918, when her father lived there. This is a wonderful read for elementary school children on up to adults.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
A Time of Miracles : written by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet
The Batchelder award is given to a book for children published abroad in a language other than English, then subsequently translated and published in the USA. This very unusual story follows the journey of a refugee mother and son as they travel from the Caucasus to France in the early 1990s, after the break-up of the Soviet Union. It is absorbing reading for teens through adults.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
Bink and Gollie : written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
This award is given to the best beginning reader. These two veteran authors have created a quirky pair of girls. The illustrations perfectly complement the text. This is a great choice not only for new readers, but for all of the elementary set. (Psst… Adults will be charmed too!)