January 26, 2009

Book Awards

Today is Academy Awards day in the children's book world as the American Library Association announced the winners of the most prestigious prizes for children's literature in the United States.

The two biggest, and best-known, awards are the Caldecott Medal, given to the best-illustrated children book of the previous year, and the Newbery Medal, given to the best-written children's book.

The 2009 Caldecott winner this year is The House in the Night, written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes. Krommes created her scratchboard and watercolor illustrations using a palette of mostly black and white, with bits of orange-gold for emphasis. Her illustrations partner perfectly with Swanson's text in this bedtime book aimed at readers ages 2-4.

The 2009 Newbery Medal winner is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Featuring appropriately spooky illustrations by Dave McKean, Gaiman's novel tells the story of Nobody Bod Owens, who has lived in a graveyard, raised by ghosts, since his parents were killed. Gaiman's lyrical prose, intriguing tale and nods to classics like The Jungle Book make The Graveyard Book a novel that will appeal to scary story lovers, as well as those who aren't so sure they like ghost stories. Gaiman's book is aimed at readers ages 10-14.

The financial power of the Caldecott and Newbery medals is astounding: when the awards were announced this morning, The House in the Night ranked 45,416 in sales and The Graveyard Book ranked 245 in sales on Amazon.com. Less than three hours later, The House in the Night ranked 59 and The Graveyard Book ranked 31.

Other big winners today included:

__ We Are the Ship , written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson won three awards: the Sibert Medal, given to the best children's non-fiction book, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, given to the best book written by an African-American author, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, given to one of the best-illustrated children's books by an African-American illustrator.

__ The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle For Freedom by Margarita Engle won two awards: a Newbery Honor and the Pura Belpre Author Award, given to the best book written by a Latino/Latina author.

__ Are You Ready To Play Outside? , written and illustrated by Mo Willems won the Geisel Award, given for the best books for beginning readers.

__ Morbito , written by Nahoko Uehashi and translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano, won the Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book originally published in a country other than the United States.

Posted by at January 26, 2009 02:40 PM
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