Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Newbery & Caldecott Winners Announced

The Newbery & Caldecott awards for children's literature were announced on January 28th of this year. The Newbery Medal was named after the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery.  It is presented to the author of the book judged to have made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. A committee of librarians and literary experts is chosen each year to select the winner and the runners up on behalf of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). 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 14 years of age.

The Caldecott Medal was named in honour of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The awards commenced in 1938.

There are also a number of other specialist awards for fiction and non-fiction that were announced on the same day and are outlined at the end of the post.
1. Newbery Medal 2013

The 2013 Newbery Medal winner is 'The One and Only Ivan' by Katherine Applegate, published by HarperCollins Children's Books.
Ivan is a very laid back gorilla. He lives at Exit 8 of the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He doesn't really miss his life in the jungle and has become used to people staring at him. He spends his life thinking about his favourite TV shows and his friends Stella (who is an elderly elephant), and Bob (a stray dog). But he also thinks about art and how to get the right colours or create the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with line and colour.

One day he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family. Ivan is changed and sees his home and his art in a new way. Ruby changes everything, including Ivan. This is wonderful tale about friendship, art and hope. Through the narrative voice of Ivan Katherine Applegate creates a memorable story.

The Newbery Committee chair commented:
“Katherine Applegate gives readers a unique and unforgettable gorilla’s-eye-view of the world that challenges the way we look at animals and at ourselves.”

Three honour books were also announced.

'Splendors and Glooms' by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick Press.

Lizzie Rose, Parsefall and Clara are caught in the clutches of a wicked puppeteer and a powerful witch in this deliciously dark and complex tale set in Dickensian England, where adventure and suspense are interwoven into nuanced explorations of good versus evil.

'Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon' by Steve Sheinkin, published by Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

Balancing intersecting threads of scientific discovery, political intrigue and military strategy, “Bomb” is a riveting historical nonfiction drama. Sheinkin’s engaging narrative explores the complex series of events that led to the creation of the ultimate weapon and introduces many memorable personalities involved in the pursuit.
'Three Times Lucky' by Sheila Turnage, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

In the rich tradition of Southern storytelling, rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the eccentric residents of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, on a rollicking journey of mystery, adventure and small-town intrigue as she investigates a murder and searches for her long-lost mother.

2. Caldecott Medal 2013

The 2013 Caldecott Medal winner is 'This Is Not My Hat', written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press.

When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue topper (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it's a good thing that enormous fish won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not like he'll ever know what happened. . . . Visual humour swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.

This darkly humorous tale is brilliant. The simplicity of language and image is its secret.  Klassen was also the illustrator of another book named as an honour book in the Caldecott, 'Extra Yarn' (see below). This is a rare double. What's his secret? When asked about his work recently Klassen commented:

"What I like best is boiling a story down to something really simple."

Using the subtle changes in image and supporting words, Klassen creates humour and tension. The Big fish wants his hat back and it seems that he knows just what has happened. We follow the fish and imagine what the outcome will be.

The chair of the Caldecott judging panel commented:
“With minute changes in eyes and the slightest displacement of seagrass, Klassen’s masterful illustrations tell the story the narrator doesn’t know."

The judges also announced four honour books.

'Creepy Carrots!', illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Jasper the rabbit loves carrots until he notices they are everywhere. He is convinced they’re coming for him! Pronounced shadows, black borders and shaded edges enhance this ever so slightly sinister tale with a distinctly cinematic feel. This is one serving of carrots children will eagerly devour.

'Extra Yarn', illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

A selfish archduke threatens to halt a little girl's transformation of a colourless town and steal her box of magical yarn.  Klassen's innovative digital technique results in shifts of colour that signal character change and critical turns of plot -all done with just the right stitches of humour.

'Green', illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

In this original concept book, Seeger engages all the senses with her fresh approach to the multiple meanings of “green.” Using thickly layered acrylics, word pairings and cleverly placed die cuts, she invites readers to pause, pay attention and wonder.

I just love this book. As with all beginning books that deal with concepts, its strength is its simplicity and meticulous use of the right words, images and of course, colours.

'One Cool Friend', illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Energetic line and dizzying perspective combine for a rollicking tale of Father, Elliot and a highly improbable pet (or two). Buzzeo’s text, brimming with sly wordplay, earns its perfect counterpoint in Small’s ink, watercolour and pencil illustrations with chilly details and visual jokes that invite many repeated readings.

'Sleep Like a Tiger', illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Surrounded with dreamlike images of crowns, ornate patterns and repeated visual motifs, her parents coax her into bed. Using mixed media artwork on wood enhanced with computer illustrations, this is a whimsical story with universal appeal.

Other major awards

3. The 'Pura Belpre Award

This is an award to a Latino or Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays the Latino cultural experience in a work of literature for children or youth. The judges made an award to an author and illustrator.

Award to an author

'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe', by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

'Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe' brings readers the tale of 15-year-old loner Aristotle Mendoza and his friendship with Dante Quintana. Sáenz exquisitely captures the story of two boys on the edge of manhood. By addressing issues of identity, friendship, family and love, Sáenz pushes beyond geography, sexuality and cultural identity to create a truly universal novel.

The judging panel chair said of this book:
“Sáenz demonstrates superb use of language and character development, while gently exploring important aspects of identity without straying into gender or cultural stereotypes.”
Award to an illustrator

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert
', illustrated by David Diaz, written by Gary D. Schmidt, and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Capturing both historical fact and legend, 'Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert' is the illustrated biography of the first African-heritage saint of the Américas. Diaz’s luminous mixed-media illustrations complement and expand the story.  Diaz expertly uses colour, perspective and contrast to portray Martín’s gentle spirit and miraculous abilities.

The committee chair said that the panel was "...impressed with Diaz’s ability to capture and expand Schmidt’s text, while including references to traditional South American artisan crafts, word carvings and textiles."

4. The 'Theodor Seuss Geisel Award'

The winner of this award was 'Up, Tall and High!', written and illustrated by Ethan Long. The book is published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

A bevy of birds perform a play in three acts, while teaching the concepts of up, tall and high. The large font, word repetition, occasional rhyming and simple, but clever illustrations support the very beginning reader’s effort to read independently.  Children will delight in reading additional words hidden beneath thick flaps.

The Geisel Award Committee chair said of the book: “Using few words, Ethan Long has created a book that children will enjoy on multiple levels. The humorous drawings and interactive story will have children raising flaps and reading their first words with confidence and delight."

Honour books

'Let’s Go for a Drive!', written and illustrated by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

In 'Let’s Go for a Drive!' good friends Elephant and Piggie, sharing their high spirits through song and dance, prepare for a drive. Best plans go awry when they realize they have no car. Text clues in color-coded speech bubbles, white backgrounds and bold mixed-media illustrations add to the book’s appeal for beginning readers.

'Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons', written by Eric Litwin, created and illustrated by James Dean and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

In a picture book format accessible to beginning readers, a blue mellow-eyed feline keeps losing his groovy buttons in 'Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons.'  But does he cry? Goodness no! Bold backgrounds and rhyming refrains encourage beginning readers to look for the bright side of every situation. For after all, it’s all good!

5. Notable Lists

Each year a committee of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) identifies the best of the best in children's books. According to the Notables Criteria, "notable" is defined as: Worthy of note or notice, important, distinguished, outstanding. As applied to children's books, notable should be thought to include books of especially commendable quality, books that exhibit venturesome creativity, and books of fiction, information, poetry and pictures for all age levels (birth through age 14) that reflect and encourage children's interests in exemplary ways. The lists are organised in four categories

Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7)
Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10
Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14
All Ages – These have appeal and interest for children in all of the above age ranges

You can find the lists for each category HERE

No comments: