Beyond the Caldecott: Award-Winning Children's Books

Eliza Clark
January 27, 2011

This month, as it does every January, the American Library Association announced its awards for the best books of the past year for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Geisel and Newbery awards.  We book-lovers here at the Savvy Source always take notice when these awards are made, and want to be sure that you, our book-loving readers, also hear the news.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to "the most distinguished American picture book for children."  Past winners have included many of our Savvy favorites, including Make Way for Ducklings (1942), The Little Island (1947), The Snowy Day (1963), Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1970) and, more recently, Flotsam (2007) and Kitten's First Full Moon (2005). 

This year's Caldecott Medal went to Philip and Erin Stead's A Sick Day for Amos McGee.  We love this book and included it in our Savvy Picks for Best Picture Books of 2010.  In short, we approve!

Two Caldecott Honor Books were also chosen: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill; and Interrupting Chicken, written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award goes each year to the most "distinguished beginning reader book."  It's not easy follow in the great Dr. Seuss's footsteps, but this year's winner definitely deserves the honor.  The 2011 Seuss Award goes to Bink and Gollie, written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. 

Two Geisel Honor Books were also named: Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! written and illustrated by Grace Lin; and We Are in a Book!, another installment of the charming Elephant and Piggie series written and illustrated by Mo Willems. 

The John Newbery Medal is awarded for "the most outstanding contribution to children's literature."  Past Newbery Medal and Honor winners include Savvy favorite first chapter books such as Mr. Popper's Penguins (1939), My Father's Dragon (1949), Charlotte's Web (1953) and Frog and Toad Together (1973).

The 2011 Newbery Medal winner is Moon over Manifest written by Clare Vanderpool.

The Newbery Honor Books for the year are Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm; Heart of a Samurai written by Margi Preus; Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, written by Joyce Sidman; and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Finally, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award is given to "an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."  Tomie DePaola wins this year, and the honor is amply deserved.  He is the author and illustrator of over 200 books (!!), including Savvy favorites such as The Knight and the Dragon (1980) and Strega Nona (1975).



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