It's February, and everyone has their favorite literary couples: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Sometimes the best duos are the ones you'd never think had anything in common . . . like, who would've thought that Ron and Hermione would stop fighting long enough to fall in love?
Oh, it's just so difficult when everyone loves you. Where will the two medals go, anyway? Here's an attempt to pile them on via Mariko Tamaki's website.
With the recent announcement that This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki had won both a Printz Honor and a Caldecott Honor—the first graphic novel to win the latter—these two supposedly irreconcilable seals now sit side by side on the book's cover. The young adult (YA) world is buzzing with debate over this pairing, but I'd like to suggest that it's a terrific chance to challenge assumptions about these awards, and to think about what happens when they come together. Here are three ideas worth considering.
The Caldecott has pushed boundaries before.
The Caldecott medal is awarded annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, with Honor books considered to be similarly distinguished runners-up.
Most Caldecott winners and Honor books have looked like picture books—they've been 32 pages or so, and generally taller than they are long—and many are appropriate for preschool audiences. But in 2008, the Caldecott medal went to The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, a book most likely to be enjoyed by late elementary school and early middle-school readers. Clocking in at a hefty 534 pages (and longer and almost wider than it is tall), Hugo Cabret was an unusual choice. And yet its detailed black and white drawings, and its mix of verbal and pictorial storytelling, could certainly be argued to be distinguished.
The two medals' criteria overlap in interesting ways.
In December, I'd predicted that This One Summer would walk away with the Printz award as the best book written for teens this year, based entirely on literary merit. Although "literary" seems at first to refer only to words, books that include both words and pictures have been recognized in the past. Consider American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang, the medal winner in 2007.
Similarly, while the Caldecott's "for children" designation seems at first to exclude teens, a deeper dig through its terms and criteria reveals that "children" is actually defined as "persons of ages up to and including fourteen" (possibly a holdover from before the Printz and other YA awards were established, or before YA lit as it's currently understood existed at all). While the Caldecott is usually thought of as a children's illustration-based award and the Printz as a YA word-based one, there's no definitional reason why an illustrated book aimed at 12- to 14-year-olds can't qualify for—and win—medals in both categories.
This One Summer is all about in-between-ness and liminality.
And if any book was the one to show how this overlap might work, it's Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki's monochromatic, intensely reflective graphic novel. As discussed on this blog series all the way back in November, narrator Rose's age is never actually specified. We know that her younger friend Windy is still very much a child and her aspirational "like eighteen"-year-old crush is too old for her, making Rose probably around 12.
But by writing (and drawing) Rose as an in-between character, the Tamaki cousins actively invite readers to think about liminality, or what it means to be part one thing and part another. Suspended between childhood and young adulthood, Rose is the perfect protagonist of a book that's the first ever to be recognized by both the Caldecott and the Printz committees.
Sure, there've already been calls to redefine the Caldecott criteria to include only books aimed at children 12 and under—and already questions of whether collections that're determined to buy every Caldecott book will wind up with a title that doesn't quite belong. But I think the dual recognition of This One Summer is great for the book, great for children's and YA lit, great for graphic novels and great for ongoing discussions about what these awards are . . . or should be. Like Ron and Hermione, these two opposites might have more in common than they first appear.
What do you think of This One Summer's dual win? Do you think young-leaning YA graphic novels should be eligible for the Caldecott? Tell us in the comments!
Locker Combinations is a Book Case feature by BookPage contributor and young adult (YA) literature expert Jill Ratzan. Using a variety of literary, cultural and educational perspectives, Jill guest blogs about the latest in YA lit and the general direction, trends and changes of the field. Read more BookPage reviews, interviews and posts by Jill here.
Today the American Library Association (ALA) announced the top books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards, with several of the BookPage Best Children's and YA Books of 2014 receiving well-earned nods.
Standouts include Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, which was our favorite to win the Newbery Medal but picked up a Newbery Honor, a Sibert Honor and the Coretta Scott King Author Book Award. The Right Word by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet also received recognition as the Sibert Award winner as well as a Caldecott Honor. This One Summer's Printz Honor came as no surprise, but we were tickled to discover that it also garnered a Caldecott Honor. And congratulations to Sharon Draper, who won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults!
Read on for all the winners:
NEWBERY: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (HMH)
Newbery Honor Books:
CALDECOTT: The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat (Little, Brown)
Caldecott Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING AUTHOR BOOK AWARD: Jacqueline Woodson for Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen)
King Author Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING ILLUSTRATOR BOOK AWARD: Christopher Myers for Firebird, written by Misty Copeland (Putnam)
King Illustrator Honor Books:
CORETTA SCOTT KING/JOHN STEPTOE NEW TALENT AUTHOR AWARD: When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)
PRINTZ: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Dial)
Printz Honor Books:
SIBERT AWARD for most distinguished informational book for children: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)
Sibert Honor Books:
THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL AWARD for distinguished beginning reader book: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant (Two Lions)
Geisel Honor Books:
MORRIS AWARD for first-time YA author: Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (Cinco Puntos)
Click here to view all the winners, including the Alex Awards (the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences), the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Stonewall Book Award (books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience), the Pura Belpre Awards for Latino authors and illustrators and more.
Did your favorite children's or YA book pick up an award this year?
In our office we discuss and anticipate the announcement of the Newbery, Caldecott and Printz Awards with passion and glee—and let's just say that this morning there was a fair bit of squealing when the ALA named this year's recipients.
Perhaps most of all, we are thrilled that Jon Klassen was awarded the Caldecott Award for This Is Not My Hat, the story of a big fish in pursuit of a tiny thief. For the October 2012 issue of BookPage, Klassen hand-illustrated a Q&A for us. We loved the result (and of course we loved the book itself!):
We are also tickled that Katherine Applegate won the Newbery Award for The One and Only Ivan, which we reviewed in January 2012. Reviewer Keven Delecki praised this "brave, moving story" about the animals who live at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall.
The Printz Award went to In Darkness by Nick Lake, which BookPage reviewer Kimberly Giarrantano described as "an incredible novel." It's a harrowing and compelling story about a teen boy in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
For more on these award-winning books—and other fantastic picks for young readers—subscribe to Children's Corner, our bimonthly e-newsletter. The next edition goes out Wednesday and will feature some very special interviews. (Hint, hint.)
And without further ado, here is a (partial) list of the 2013 Youth Media Award winners. Find the full list here, and click the links below to read coverage in BookPage.
2013 NEWBERY AWARD
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins)
2013 CALDECOTT AWARD
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
2013 PRINTZ AWARD
In Darkness by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
For even more recommendations for fantastic children's and teen books, see our list of the Best Children's Books for 2012.
Earlier this week we posted about this year's Youth Media Awards, and since then we've been lucky enough to interview two of the honorees!
First up: Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, talks to us about Why We Broke Up, an "intoxicating, melancholy meditation on love" that is even more special for its illustrations by Maira Kalman. In the interview, Handler discusses writing from a teenage girl's perspective, collaborating with the talented Kalman and why he won't reveal his own worst breakup. Why We Broke Up received a Printz Honor. Read more here.
John Corey Whaley, a 28-year-old debut novelist (and former schoolteacher) probably had the best day of his life earlier this week when Where Things Come Back was honored with the Printz Award. In his enthusiastic interview, Whaley tells us about how he reacted to this incredible news, how he came to write this story and what he's working on next. This book is of special interest to me because it takes place in Arkansas, and one of the themes is the rediscovery of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker! (As a native Arkansan, I have gone searching for this very bird in the Big Woods.) Read more about Whaley and his Printz Award-winning novel here.
Finally, I know that not all of our readers are children's book enthusiasts, but both of these novels definitely have "crossover" appeal—the stories are universal, the writing is superb and you don't have to be 14 to connect with the characters.
We featured both of these interviews—as well as 10+ other book recommendations—in this morning's edition of Children's Corner. Click here if you'd like to sign up for the enewsletter.
Will you be checking out these novels? What teen books do you think will appeal most to adult readers?
Fans of kid lit look forward to the Youth Media Awards every year, in which the American Library Association announces the year's best children's book authors and illustrators in a variety of categories. This morning, the awards were announced in Dallas.
You can read the full list of winners here. The list includes many BookPage favorites; here's a sampling:
John Newbery Medal ("for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature"):
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (FSG)
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (HarperCollins)
Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (Holt)
Blackout, written & illustrated by John Rocco, (Disney-Hyperion)
Grandpa Green, written & illustrated by Lane Smith ( Roaring Brook Press)
Me . . . Jane, written & illustrated by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown)
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Little, Brown)
The Returning by Christine Hinwood (Dial Books)
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (Knopf)
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Press)
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award ("recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults"):
Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans (Balzer + Bray)
Coretta Scott King (Author) Honors:
Eloise Greenfield, author of The Great Migration: Journey to the North (Amistad)
Patricia C. McKissack, author of Never Forgotten (Schwartz & Wade Books)
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
Shane W. Evans, author & illustrator Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom (Roaring Brook Press)
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Honor:
Kadir Nelson, author & illustrator of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans (Balzar + Bray)
Do you have a favorite from this bunch? Were you surprised by any of the annoucements?
Yesterday morning, the American Library Association announced the best books of the year for children and teens. I look forward to this annoucement all year because some of my favorite books of all time are Newbery winners (from Island of the Blue Dolphins to The View from Saturday), and as an elementary school kid I made an effort to read as many past winners as possible.
Over at A Fuse #8 Production (the School Library Journal-hosted blog), Betsy Bird wrote an interesting post about Newbery/Caldecott trends. For example, 2008 was The Year of Breaking Barriers (when awards went to Hugo Cabret and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!) and last year was The Year of the Givens (The Lion and the Mouse and When You Reach Me). Bird accurately predicted that 2011 would be The Year of the Wild Cards.
Like many bloggers (including Bird), I was rooting for Rita Williams-Garcia to take home the big prize (the Newbery) for One Crazy Summer. BookPage interviewed Williams-Garcia back in February 2010 and praised the author's "gift for combining everyday settings with social commentary and wry wit." One Crazy Summer ended up receiving a Newbery Honor (nothing to frown on), along with the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, not to mention the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction.
The major surprises at the Youth Media Awards were that the Newbery and Caldecott went to a debut novelist and a debut picture book illustrator. Clare Vanderpool, the Newbery winner for Moon Over Manifest, a Depression-era story, lives in Kansas. Erin E. Stead, a 28-year-old illustrator in Ann Arbor, won the Caldecott for A Sick Day for Amos McGee, which was written by her husband Philip.
Even though I was surprised by this year's announcement, I'm still happy with how things turned out. I haven't read Moon Over Manifest, but now I can't wait to get my hands on it. It's always fun to be introduced to new talent.
Were you surprised by this year's big winners? Excited?
Below the jump, find the list of winners and honorees for the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and Coretta Scott King Awards:
Newbery Medal "for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature":
Winner: Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
Honors: Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm; Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman; One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Caldecott Medal "for the most distinguished American picture book for children":
Winner: A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Honors: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier; Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award"recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults":