Don't you love reading books and getting caught up in the wonder of someone else's world?
It takes a special sort of skill to capture an audience of readers, and that skill is what the ALA awards recognize.
Every year, the American Library Association Youth Media Awards are given for extraordinary contributions to the field of literature and videos, meant for children and young adults. The awards are very highly regarded internationally and the winner are selected by a special panel of experts.
This year, the ceremony was held on January 23rd at the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Atlanta. Let's take a look at some of the prize-winners.
Newbery And Caldecott Awards
John Newbery was a British bookseller from the 18th century. The medal named for him is given to the author of the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature in the previous year. This time, it went to Kelly Barnhill who authored “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”.
This fantasy novel is set in a country which has a yearly practice of sacrificing a baby to an evil witch named Xan. However the witch, who is actually quite kind and gentle, rescues the babies and gives them to families on the other side of the forest, all the while nourishing the little ones with starlight on her journey. However, one day, the witch accidentally nourishes a baby girl with moonlight -- which gives the girl unusual powers. She decides to raise the girl herself, naming her Luna. But things get out of control when a young man decides to kill the witch to free his people. Will Luna protect her people, in this fascinating fairytale? You will need to find out!
The Caldecott medal is named for the nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott and awarded to the best children's picture book. This year, it went to Javaka Steptoe for “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat". Steptoe took over 6 years to study Basquiat's work and used his style to create new works of art. The book also won another ALA prize - the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award.
Other Noteworthy Prizes
For the first time, one book won 4 ALA awards. "March: Book Three” was written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. This book is the third of a trilogy, based on the early life of Representative John Lewis and his involvement with the civil rights movement.
John Lewis was born in 1940 in segregated Alabama where African Americans did not have the same rights as white Americans. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis decided to stand up for the changes he wanted to see. He joined the Freedom Riders of the South, and was behind the famous 1963 March on Washington. He entered politics and is now a member of the U.S Congress House of Representatives from Georgia.
Not surprisingly, all these books make for excellent reading. For a complete list of all the winners, and a great wish list of books to read, hop over to the ALA site here.