The ALA Youth Media Awards have been announced. All that’s left to do is discuss the three categories that are most in my wheelhouse, so let’s commence…
Newbery Award: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Honor: The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
Honor: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Honor: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Honor: Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose
Nice. It seemed like When You Reach Me was experiencing some “everybody loves this book, but it can’t be that great” backlash in recent weeks, so it was nice to see it take top honors.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate also appeared to be losing steam, which caused some worry on my part as I found it to be a great book. Good to see it didn’t fall out of favor.
Claudette Colvin is a wonderful choice for Newbery regardless of genre (although it does make me glad to see a nonfiction selection).
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was also garnering a large dollop of praise since it was published, so it was no surprise to see it end up on the list.
The biggest surprise was the inclusion of The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg. A Fuse #8 Production mentioned it as a Newbery contender back last summer and Literate Lives reviewed it in their Looking for Newbery series, but it didn’t receive much more than a mention on the Heavy Medal blog. I’m kicking myself because this book has been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for months. I’ll be cracking it open today. If my Cover Covers post serves as my Newbery picks, then I was 3-5. I’m happy with that.
Caldecott Award: The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
Honor: All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
Honor: Red Sings From Treetops by Joyce Sidman illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
No real surprises here – just some very wise choices. When Pinkney’s book arrived on shelves, it felt like a statement. It appears that the Caldecott committee heard The Lion & the Mouse loud and clear. Impressive on all fronts, this was the frontrunner heading into the awards.
All the World was also not a shocker, having appeared on most mock Caldecott lists and generating plenty of buzz. This book has continued to grow on me since the first time I saw it, so I was happy it got hardware. Very deserving.
Red Sings From Treetops was another very nice book that was in the discussion as the awards approached. I picked two of the three winners in my Caldecott predictions.
Geisel Award: Benny and Penny in the Big No-No by Geoffrey Hayes
Honor: I Spy Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Honor: Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith
Honor: Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends by Wong Herbert Yee
Honor: Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day by Kate McMullan
Did you notice that four of the five books on this list feature mice? Interesting. I have to admit that I forgot about Benny and Penny in the leadup to the awards. I read it, loved it, toon reviewed it back in March, and then it fell off my radar. Seeing it turn up is the definition of a pleasant surprise. I also was happy to see I Spy Fly Guy on the list. Ted Arnold’s series continues to be a huge hit among the young readers I work with.