This is an exciting day for book lovers. Today the American Library Association announced the Youth Media Awards at their conference in Atlanta. For those of us with To Be Read book stacks that rival the Empire State Building, it can be an unsettling time. How can I add even one more book to my list, and yet, how can I not?
The list is long, but these are some of the most prestigious awards granted in this field: the Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King awards and more. There are awards for overall contributions to children’s literature, as well as for specific awards for authors; illustrators; lifetime achievement; books that highlight the experiences of African Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities; video; and more.
Among the highlights for me:
The John Newbery Medal went to “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill. This “coming-of-age fairy tale” tells of a girl, intended as a sacrifice for a witch, who becomes imbued with magic from the moon and must courageously fight to defend those who have protected her. The book is recommended for grades 4-6.
Newbery Honor Books included “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” and “Wolf Hollow.” “Freedom Over Me” was also a Corretta Scott King Honor Book award winner for author and for illustrator.
The Randolph Caldecott Medal was awarded to “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat” written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. I have long been entranced by Basquiat so I’m excited to see this one. Steptoe was also the winner of the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award.
The Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award honors an African-American author and illustrator. The award very rightly went to “March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. This entire series is a must-read. “March: Book Three” also received the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults, the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for informational books for children, and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.
I’m looking forward to reading the Schneider Family Book Award winner f0r books for ages 0-10, “Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille,” written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. The Schneider award honors books that “embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.” The winner for middle grades was “as brave as you,” written by Jason Reynolds. The teen book winner was “When We Collided,” written by Emery Lord.
The one I hadn’t paid enough attention to in advance was the biggest surprise and joy for me. “Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor,” written by Rick Riordan, was honored with the Stonewall Book Award for “children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.” My son and I are HUGE Rick Riordan fans. We’ve heard him speak three times and have everything he’s written for kids. We are delighted to see him earn this honor.
The full list of awards can be found here.