Monday, May 17, 2010

Newbery & Caldecott Children's Literature Awards 2010

The major children’s book awards in the USA are the Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The winners of both awards were announced earlier in the year but it has taken me a little while to finish my annual post on the winners. The Newbery Medal is without doubt the most prestigious award for children’s literature in the USA and is known internationally. It was first awarded in 1922. It was named after the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) awards it annually. It is presented to the author of the book judged to have made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The books can be works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The author must be a citizen or resident of the United States and the work written for children up to and including 14 years.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honour of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is the most significant award for picture books in the USA. The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) also awards it annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The awards commenced in 1938.

Caldecott Medal 2010

Winner: The Lion & the Mouse, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Jerry Pinkney is a brilliant illustrator who has received many awards including four New York Times Best Illustrator Awards and a nomination for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. He is also five-time recipient of the Caldecott Honour and the Coretta Scott King Award. 'The  Lion & the Mouse' is an adaptation of the Aesop fable of the same name, but with a difference, this is a wordless version (even the cover!). The stunning illustrations are done in watercolour and coloured pencil.

Honour Books

All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon.

This is just the second book for the author Liz Garton Scanlon. The text is a wonderful poem of 18 couplets all of which use the title 'All the world' as the refrain. Marla Frazee's astonishing illustrations give a depth and richness to the work. The verses take us from an unexplored beach to a family room filled with music and then a still moonlit night.  Frazee's subtle full colour double page spreads are beautiful and add greatly to the poetry that is also outstanding. Marla Frazee's also had a Caldecott Honour book in 2009 for the work 'A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever'.

Above: One of the double page spreads from the book

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman.

Zagarenski’s playful illustrations support and enrich Sidman’s wonderful poetry as she explores the seasons and their colours. Zagarenski uses computer illustration and mixed media paintings on wood. These combine rich textures, varied graphic elements, stylised figures and rich colours. Sidman describes each season of the year with a series of poems that sometimes use the predictable colours of the season (e.g. green for spring), but sometimes she uses colours that surprise you. The scenes in word and illustration offer many a surprise (just like the seasons) as a red bird flies above singing the seasons.

Newbery Medal Awards 2010

Winner: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Twelve-year-old Miranda encounters shifting friendships, a sudden punch, a strange homeless man and mysterious notes that hint at knowledge of the future. These and other seemingly random events converge in a brilliantly constructed plot.

This is a deep and challenging book suitable for children aged 12 to 14 years.

Honour Books
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice written by Phillip Hoose

This book is based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others. It tells the story of a teenager who on March 2nd 1955 was sick of the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation and refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The protest led to further injustice for the young women who is eventually brave and determined enough to challenge segregation as a key plaintiff in a legal case that became known as Browder v. GayleSuitable for teenage readers.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate written by Jacqueline Kelly

Set in 1899 this is an enjoyable story about a girl trapped by time and circumstances. "Callie" (as she is known) lives with six brothers, her parents, her grandfather, and other household staff on a Texas cotton plantation. While her mother wants her to be a young lady, her passion is science and the natural world.  Her grandfather is a founding member of the National Geographic Society. Callie begins a deep friendship with him when as discovers her interest in the natural world and she sees his passion for the same things. She has to deal with the challenges of Darwinism and witnesses the arrival of the first telephone in town. But she also has to deal with the mundane like brothers who sometimes annoy her, learning to cook and sew and learning about herself.

A good book for girls 11 years and up.

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg written by Rodman Philbrick

"Although he is underage, Homer P.  Figg’s beloved older brother, Harold, is illegally sold into the Union Army by their ruthless guardian. Now Homer must run away from Pine Swamp, Maine, and his wretched home to find his brother and save him from the war, before it’s too late.

In a story filled with adventure, humour, and danger, award-winning novelist Rodman Philbrick tells of the turbulent, passionate times–from rural Maine to the Battle of Gettysburg--in the Civil War. Here is historical fiction at its most engaging, portraying the 1860s through the observant eyes of a backwoods boy who is both courageous and funny–and always willing to stretch the truth to his own advantage. A master of plot twists and vivid characters, Philbrick sweeps readers into the unpredictable events - both colourful and tragic - of this powerful turning point in American history." This book is suitable for children 9-12 years.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon written by Grace Lin

This book is inspired by folktales of China. It tells the story of a young Chinese girl named Minli who lives in a poor village near a barren mountain. She is unhappy with her life and so heads off to find the Old Man of the Moon to seek a change in her fortunes. The story tells of her epic journey where she encounters many people and events. This fable-like story should be enjoyed by younger readers 8-12 years old. 

Related Links

OUT NOW!! 2011 Newbery & Caldecott Medal Winners HERE 

All posts on Awards (HERE)

The full list of all previous Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners and honour books can be found (HERE).

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) '2010 Notable Children's Books' (HERE)

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