Library Association Awards Celebrate Gritty, Charming Books

Article excerpt

Each year at the end of January, the American Library Association honors the best in Children's and Young Adult Literature through its Youth Media Awards. The winners of these awards are chosen by committees of librarians from around the country who read widely and then come together to discuss which of books published that year are the most distinguished. This past year was an excellent year in children's and young adult literature so certainly the committees had their work cut for them. The Randolph Caldecott Medal, one of the most recognizable of the awards, is given to the artist of the most distinguished picture book for children from the previous year. This year "This is Not My Hat" by Jon Klassen received this award. This hilarious picture book about a small fish's misadventures trying to get away with stealing a larger fish's hat has simple text with intriguing illustrations. Both fish have subtle expressions that hint at their respective confidence and anger. This is a fun book to read aloud with beautiful illustrations that are worth looking at again and again.

Another of the awards, the John Newbery Medal, is given each year to the most distinguished work of American children's literature published in the previous year. This year's Newbery winner, "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate, is a story written in poetry from the perspective of a captive gorilla. Ivan is the main attraction at a roadside circus-themed mall; he is content with his life watching television and drawing crayon pictures until the day that he meets a baby elephant named Ruby. Ivan realizes that he must find a better life for baby Ruby, and himself. …