Books about a preteen witch hunted by humans, an illustrated story about an African-American artist, and a graphic novel about the civil rights movement written by a civil rights hero are among the books honored this year by the American Library Association.
The 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal for illustration went to Javaka Steptoe, illustrator and author of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The book also won the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. The story is described as a “visually stunning” picture book biography about the modern art phenomenon from Brooklyn and his collage-style paintings.
Winning the 2017 John Newbery Medal for literature was The Girl Who Drank the Moon, by Kelly Barnhill. In this fantasy story, a baby is raised by a kindly witch, a dragon, and a swamp monster. When she accidentally drinks moonlight, the girl — now named Luna — receives magical powers and must protect her mixed family from the townspeople who want to do them harm.
The Coretta Scott King Award for an African-American author went to Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell for March: Book Three. The book was the third in a series of graphic novels about the life of John Lewis, a civil rights leader who gained prominence after he was beaten by police during a famous voting rights march in Selma, Ala., in 1965. Earlier, the book won the National Book Award for young people’s literature. At that awards ceremony, Lewis recalled that as a teenager, when he wanted to check out a library book in his Alabama hometown, he was told that books could only be checked out by white residents.
March: Book Three also won other awards from the American Library Association: the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults, the YALSA Award for excellence in nonfiction for young adults, and the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.
The Newberry and Caldecott awards are the most prestigious awards given in children’s literature. But they weren’t the only ones presented by the American Library Association. The list also included videos as well as books. Here are some of the other winners:
Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe New Talent Award: Nicola Yoon for The Sun Is Also a Star.
Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for lifetime achievement for author and teacher: Rudine Sims Bishop, whose work Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors “has inspired movements for increased diversity in books for young people.”
Margaret A. Edwards Award, for an author’s significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature: Sarah Dessen. Her books include Dreamland, Keeping the Moon, Just Listen, The Truth about Forever, Along for the Ride, What Happened to Goodbye? and This Lullaby.
May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature: Author and editor Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Nye has written more than 30 books for adults and young readers. Her latest is The Turtle of Oman.
Pura Belpré awards for a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Author award: Juana Medina for Juana & Lucas. Illustrator award: Raúl Gonzalez for Lowriders to the Center of the Earth.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, honoring an author or illustrator whose books, published in the U.S., have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children: Nikki Grimes.
Stonewall Book Award, the Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award for books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan and If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo.
Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. This award goes to books for different age groups. Young children’s book: Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Middle grade book: as brave as you, by Jason Reynolds. For teens: When We Collided, by Emery Lord.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning reader book: We Are Growing: A Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Book by Laurie Keller.
William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner.
Mildred L. Batchelder Award for a book published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States: Cry, Heart, But Never Break, written (in Danish) by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charolotte Pardi, and translated by Robert Moulthrop.
Odyssey Award for best audiobook for children and young adults: Anna and the Swallow Man, written by Gavriel Savit and narrated by Allan Corduner.
Andrew Carnegie Medal for children’s video: Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music, produced by Ryan Swenar of Dreamscape Media, LLC.
Alex Awards for 10 adult books that appeal to teens: The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst, The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales, In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford, Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart, Arena by Holly Jennings, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure by Ryan North, Die Young with Me: A Memoir by Rob Rufus, The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar by Matt Simon, and The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko by Scott Stambach.
Congratulations to all of the authors and illustrators. These all look like books worth checking out next time you’re at the library! All of the winning books, plus the books designated as honor books, are listed here.