Youth Media Awards – Initial Reactions

2 Feb

This is one of my favorite days as a children’s librarian.  I know there are those that don’t take much stock in the youth media awards, believing that many of the awards are given to quality literature, yet are not as interesting or accessible to the children reading them.  But, I love the media awards, I like to see what the committees choose and what people will be talking about in the days to come.  This year, whether the committees were following along with the social media movement for more diversity in books or whether they were acting on their own accord, many of the winners and honor books portrayed the diversity that so many people are looking for.  I’m going to comment primarily on the children’s titles as I am not as well-versed in the young adult literature.  And here we go…

Schneider Family Book Award
I was very surprised to see that El Deafo by Cece Bell was not recognized as an Schneider Family Book Award winner.  I’m not complaining, as I loved Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin.  But it was a surprise, nonetheless.  I haven’t read the children’s award winner (A Boy and His Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz) or the YA winner (Girls Like Us by Gail Giles), but plan on reading them as soon as I can.

Coretta Scott King Award
Jacqueline Woodson took the honors for the author award for her book Brown Girl Dreaming.  Along with Woodson, there were three honor books selected – Kwame Alexander for The Crossover, Marilyn Nelson for How I Discovered Poetry and Kekla Magoon for How It Went Down.  I was surprised to see that Christopher Paul Curtis’s book The Madman of Piney Woods did not receive an acknowledgement by the committee.

Pura Belpré Award
I’m not extremely familiar with Hispanic authors and illustrators, so I think this may be something I want to focus in the coming year.  As far as this year’s winners, Yuyi Morales won as an illustrator for Viva Frida with three honor books selected.  The illustrators selected for honors include Susan Guevara for Little Roja Riding Hood, John Parra for Green Is a Chile Pepper and Duncan Tonatiuh for Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation.  The Pura Belpré Author Award winner was Marjorie Agonsín for I Lived on Butterfly Hill.  There was only one honor book selected – Juan Felipe Herrera for Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes.

Sibert Award
The Sibert Award had some really strong contenders this year and it was seen in the award committee’s selections with five honor books selected.  The award winner was Jen Bryant for The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus.  This is the only book selected by the committee that I haven’t ready yet!  I’m going to need to pick it up tomorrow.  The five honor books were Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming, Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell, Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy, and Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
There was only a few books on the Geisei Awards this year – a winner and only two honor books.  The winner was a little unexpected to me – I loved the book, but picture it more as a picture book (no pun intended) than an easy reader, but nevertheless You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang won the 2015 Geisel Award.  The two honor books are  Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant and Waiting Is Not Easy! by Mo Willems (a perennial favorite)!

And now, without further ado (drumroll please)….

Caldecott Medal

The Caldecott Committee selected SIX (six!) honor books this year!  The six honor books are Nana in the City illustrated by Lauren Castillo, The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art illustrated by Mary GrandPré, Sam & Dave Dig a Hole illustrated by Jon Kalassen, Viva Frida illustrated by Yuyi Morales, The Right Word: Roger and His Thesaurus illustrated by Melissa Sweet and This One Summer illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.  We had a fun, mock-Caladecott program at our library and Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, The Right Word and this One Summer were not even looked at, but the kids did absolutely LOVE the Caldecott Medal winner – The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend illustrated by dan Santat.  Many of our kids loved this book and chose it as the winner – I think they’ll be excited with the committee’s results!

Newbery Award

And finally, last but not least the Newbery Award.  It’s a relatively small list this year – only two honor books, but an interesting list, nonetheless.  The honor books are El Deafo by Cece Bell and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  And the winner (and somewhat of a surprise to me!) The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  This is a great list because it consists of two novels in verse and a graphic novel (not your typical novels).  It’s also a really diverse list with a focus on race and disability.

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2 Responses to “Youth Media Awards – Initial Reactions”

  1. beckyginther February 3, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    My to-read list is very long, but these books are now at the top of it! I’m excited to read some good books!

    • literacious February 3, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      If my TBR dips below 50 books, I’m excited! I need all the publishers to freeze for a few months so I can catch up! I just saw a blog post (last week) about 2016 Newbery contenders and I got overwhelmed!

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