The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books, video and audiobooks for children and young adults—including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards—at its Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
These book prizes are amongst the most prestigious awards in the international children’s literature world and some of Better Reading favourite children’s books of all time are amongst the past winners.
The major book prizes awarded were:
The John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:
Hello Universe – Erin Entrada Kelly
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find the missing Virgil.
Sometimes four can do what one cannot. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms. The acclaimed author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia.
Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:
Wolf in the Snow – Matthew Cordell
A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home?
Paintings rich with feeling tell this satisfying story of friendship and trust. Here is a book set on a wintry night that will spark imaginations and warm hearts, from Matthew Cordell, author of Trouble Gum and Another Brother.
Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:
We Are Okay – Nina LaCour
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.
Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults:
Piecing Me Together – Renee Watson
Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighbourhood if she’s ever going to succeed.
Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And she has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship programme for ‘at-risk’ girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From ‘bad’ neighbourhoods. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black, doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.
The full list of winners can be seen here.