Literary Superstars: Children's Book Award Winners Announced
Each year, on the second Monday in January, four ordinary citizens are awakened by a phone call informing them they are now superstars.
No, January is not when the new “American Idol” winners are announced. Instead, these four people are announced as the proud recipients of the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Medal, and the Coretta Scott King Book and Illustrator Awards, the highest honors in the world of children’s literature and designations, which virtually guarantee a book will jump to the top of the best-seller lists, have a presence in every school library in the country, and will most likely never ever go out of print, which is quite an honor.
Since 1922, the Newbery Medal has been awarded annually by the American Library Association for “the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year.” Past winners include such well-known favorites as “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo, “Holes” by Louis Sachar, “Bridge to Terebithia” by Katherine Paterson, “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle, and “The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle” by Hugh Lofting. The 2011 winner of the Newbery Medal is “Moon Over Manifest” by first-time author Clare Vanderpool. The idea for the novel, which is written for the 8- to 12-year-old set, came to Vanderpool after she read a quote from “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville in a book about maps: “It is not down in any map, true places never are.” Drawing on her own life in a Kansas town where the sledding hill, the pool and the local bookstore are all innately familiar spots, Vanderpool set out to write a novel about finding one’s true place, one’s comfortable corner of the world. “Moon Over Manifest,” set in the summer of 1938, follows 12 year-old Abilene Tucker, sent by her wanderer father to live in his old hometown of Manifest, Kan. At first disappointed by the quiet, run-down town, Abilene is intrigued when she discovers a hidden cigar box containing a cork, a fishhook, a silver dollar, a fancy key, a tiny wooden baby doll and a homemade map, hand-drawn with pictures of places in town and each carefully labeled. With the help of a few new friends and an insightful reclusive neighbor, Abilene discovers the truth about her father’s connection to the town and begins to find her own true place. “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool is published by Delacorte/Random House ($16.99). Four Newbery Honor books were also chosen: “Turtle in Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm; “Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus, “Dark Emperor and Poems of the Night” by Joyce Sidman, and “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia.
Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Randolph Caldecott Medal, first awarded in 1938, is presented annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the U.S., giving the 2011 winner, Erin C. Stead, the highest honor possible for a children’s book illustrator. As if winning a Caldecott Medal wasn’t enough, Stead, at age 28, is also the youngest winner and the only artist to ever win for illustrating her very first book. And to top it off, she shares the award with her husband, Philip Stead, the author of their winning title, “A Sick Day for Amos McGee.” Using a combination of woodblock printing and pencil sketches, Erin Stead’s illustrations bring to life Amos McGee, dedicated zookeeper of the City Zoo, who daily rides the bus to the zoo, plays chess with the thoughtful elephant, quietly keeps the shy penguin company, reads stories to the owl who is afraid of the dark, and still finds time to race the tortoise who never lost and bring a hankie to the rhino with the runny nose. Then one day, when Amos stays home to nurse a cold, his animal friends ride the bus to his home to care for him.
This genuine, sweet story gently conveys the value of true and dedicated friendships and is the perfect choice for a child’s sick day or any lap-reading opportunity. “A Sick Day for Amos McGee,” written by Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead, is published by Roaring Brook Press ($16.99).
Coretta Scott King Book Awards
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards were created through the efforts of Glyndon Greer, a school librarian, to “recognize African-American authors and illustrators for outstanding contributions to literature for children and young adults,” and was awarded for the first time in 1970 to Lillie Patterson for her book “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Man of Peace.” Four years later in 1974, a separate award was created to honor an illustrator and was presented to George Ford for his illustrations in “Ray Charles.”
This year’s recipient for the Author Award, Rita Williams-Garcia, also a Newbery Honor Book winner, has written a compelling historical novel for 8- to 12-year-olds detailing the journey faced by three sisters as they travel to Oakland, Calif., in 1968 to spend time with their poet mother, who left a month after the youngest sister was born, to work with the Black Panthers. “One Crazy Summer,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia, is published by Amistad Press ($15.99). Bryan Collier, award-winning artist for the fabulous “Rosa” and the only repeat winner on this year’s list, was awarded this year’s Illustrator Award for his work on “Dave the Potter,” a beautiful picture book for 6- to 10-year-olds, detailing the life and work of Dave, an extraordinarily talented artist, poet and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. “Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave,” written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier, is published by Little Brown and Company ($16.99)
You can find these and a number of other fabulous books for children at The Country Bookshop or your local public or school library.
For information or to reserve your copy, call The Country Bookshop at (910) 692-3211.
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