American Library Association names children's book award winners—published April, 3, 2009
The American Library Association sponsors a number of awards for children’s books, and the winners of these awards are announced each January during the ALA Midwinter Conference. Each year I am eager to see which books have been selected to receive these awards.
The Caldecott Medal is presented to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book for children. This year’s winner is “The House in the Night,” illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson. The scratchboard and watercolor illustrations explore the light that turns the nighttime house into a home filled with light. Three Caldecott Honor books were also named--titles that did not win the medal but were deemed worthy of recognition.
The Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Neil Gaiman is this year’s winner for “The Graveyard Book,” the story of an orphaned boy who is raised by ghosts and other inhabitants of a graveyard. Four Newbery Honor books were also named.
These two awards are perhaps the most well known, but there are a number of other ALA awards for children’s books. This year’s Michael L. Printz Award for literary excellence in young adult literature went to Melina Marchetta for her book “Jellicoe Road.” On the other end of the spectrum, Mo Willems won the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for his book “Are You Ready to Play Outside?” This award is given to the author and illustrator of the most distinguished book for beginning readers.
According to the ALA Web site, the Pura Belpre Award is “presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.” This year’s winner of the Pura Belpre author award is Margarita Engle for “The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom,” and the illustrator award went to Yuyi Morales for “Just in Case.”
The Coretta Scott King Awards are given to “African American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions.” The 2009 author award went to Kadir Nelson for “We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball” and the illustrator award was presented to Floyd Cooper for “The Blacker the Berry,” written by Joyce Carol Thomas. The John Steptoe Award for New Talent, established to recognize new African American authors and illustrators, was won by Shadra Strickland for her illustrations in the book “Bird,” written by Zetta Elliott.
Kadir Nelson’s book “We Are the Ship” also won the 2009 Robert F. Sibert Medal. The Sibert Medal recognizes the most distinguished informational book published in English during the previous year
Look for these and other award-winning books in the children’s department of the library.