Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a Freebie, so I decided to celebrate the ALA Youth Media Awards, which were announced yesterday. Like so many other teachers and librarians I know, I was up early to watch the announcements live. It’s one of my favorite bookish events of the year.
Radiant Child won Caldecott Gold! This win is a trifecta of goodness: a nonfiction picture book about an African-American artist that is also illustrated by African-American artist. Javaka Steptoe’s art for Radiant Child was the most stunning of the year. I was expecting They All Saw a Cat to win gold, and I was overjoyed to guess this one wrong. Steptoe also won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
They All Saw a Cat was my other favorite picture book of the year, and in a different year could easily have won gold. But I felt very satisfied with its silver Honor award.
The amazing Caldecott Committee honored the amazing R. Gregory Christie with a silver Honor award for Freedom in Congo Square.
Ashley Bryan won a Newbery Honor for Freedom Over Me, a picture book collection of poems in the voices of eleven slaves. I don’t know if Freedom Over Me is the strongest collection of poetry this year, but Newbery committees have a history of overlooking poetry and, more importantly, overlooking the contributions of African-American writers. So I was pleased to see this book honored. Ashley Bryan also won Coretta Scott King Illustrator and Author Honor Awards.
My second favorite win of the day (after Radiant Child for Caldecott Gold) was March Book Three for the Printz Award. It was a crazy day of honors for John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (whose work for illustration also deserves recognition): FOUR major ALA Youth Media Awards! But it was the Printz that made me happiest, as the Printz rarely honors nonfiction or graphic novels. This Printz committee sent a strong message about the literary quality of nonfiction graphic novels. (In addition to the Printz, March won the Sibert Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Excellence in Nonfiction Award).
I liked Jason Reynolds’s other 2016 novel, Ghost, a little better, but I think as brave as you is the more literary effort. I was sure Reynolds would get a nod from the Coretta Scott King committee, but I was surprised and pleased to see the Schneider Family Award committee honoring this book with the Middle-School win.
Duncan Tonatiuh won both Illustrator Honor Awards given by the Pura Belpre committee! His work is so consistently phenomenal.
Nikki Grimes was the recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. This is a well-deserved honor for one of my all-time favorite poets.
One of my other all-time favorite poets, Naomi Shihab Nye, was honored with the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award.
And finally, Sarah Dessen won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement. Nobody writes smart, thoughtful girls as well as Dessen.
And a bonus favorite: I read multiple books at a time (sometimes so many multiple books that it feels like I never finish anything). And I just happened to be in the middle of reading ALL FOUR of this year’s Newbery books! What are the chances? And now, off to finish one (or two or three) of them.