The Caldecott Medal is awarded to an artist who had “created the most distinguished picture book of the year”. It was named after Randolph J. Caldecott who was an influential children’s illustrator in the 19th century. Caldecott’s illustrations were “unique to their time in both their humor, and their ability to create a sense of movement, vitality, and action that complemented the stories they accompanied.”
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award is awarded to the most distinguished informational book. They define informational books as those “written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material for children.”
I chose Lafayette and the American Revolution by Russell Freedman a 2011 honor book. I found the book very interesting and easy to read. The illustrations were mostly paintings and engravings. Some were actual paintings of Lafayette, his comrades, his family and his home and others were pieces of art done since then. Most of these illustrations were either realistic or idealistic in their portrayal of the man and the events of the revolution. The took up a significant amount of the text which I found to be very helpful in drawing me into the story. Too much text in an informational book might deter some readers who learn better through visual stimulation.
The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental or emotional.
The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon and illustrated by Lynne Avril is about a young girl who has an eye condition where she must wear an eye patch. I thought this book was very enjoyable and contained many themes that are common with children who have a disability. In the book Ginny sees two of everything. This was a little problematic for her because it made her interact with the world differently. She was laughed at, made fun of, and couldn’t participate to her full potential. But not only did the book express many of the negative actions children with disabilities experience, but it showed that many times having a disability can make you more creative and that seeing the world differently can be a good thing. I think it also showed how adults who are interacting with children can understand how they can help or hinder a child that is dealing with a disability. Through the illustrations we are allowed to see what Ginny sees and it wasn’t always negative. It seemed that any negative experiences Ginny had came from other characters and not from her disability.
The Stonewall Book Award is an award for GLBT books begun in 1971 focusing on books that have exceptional merit related to the GLBT experience. This award is divided into three sections, the Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Israle Fishman non-fiction award, and the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award.
I chose to read Freaks and Revelations, by Davida Wills Hurwin, an honor book from the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award. I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely looking forward to reading a book from this category because I felt that many of the GLBT tend to focus on serious issues such as the marginalization and violece that many GLBT members face in the real world. I tend not to enjoy “problem novels” such as these because they are too emotional and too much like real life. Many of these books don’t have happy endings for all of the characters. I feel as if it might be easier for me to read stories such as these if they had some sort of filter, maybe a genre like science fiction or fantasy, might help me to better absorb the hardness of these novels. Science Fiction and Fantasy tend to create a world for the reader that has been removed enough from reality that it is easier to read.
Freaks and Revelations wasn’t an exception to my feelings. The novel was inspired by the real lives of Timothy Zaal and Matthew Boger. Much of the novel, especially the end, is almost true to the actual event. For me, that strikes a sense of dread, sadness and fear into me knowing that something like that has and can happen.
But I have to say that I loved the book. Not only does the ending get resolved exactly the way it did in real life but the writing was beautiful and Hurwin creates two characters that you grow to love and empathize with. These two boys are human and have gone through a lot. If this had been told any other way I would have hated the character Doug, the neo-nazi skinhead who commits a horrible hate crime that haunts him and his victim, Jason. The story is told from each boy’s perspective as they grown up and after the violence that altered their lives.
I was also interested in how Doug came to renounce his old life and start a new one. In the story, his violent actions startled him, but he didn’t truly change until he had children of his own and he saw how his actions were affecting their lives. This theme tied into the violent relationship he had with his father in the past.
Here is an article on the NPR website about the two men this story is based on.
I was very excited to get to this award because it is filled with books that I’ve been wanting to read but just haven’t had the time. So for my Printz Award selection, I chose two books. The first, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is the 2009 winner of the Printz Award. The second, Going Bovine by Libba Bray won the 2010 Printz Award.
The Coretta Scott King Award distinguishes African American authors and illustrators of children’s literature. The CSK Award bestows more than one award each year. Each year the committee chooses a distinguished author and illustrator, a few honor books in each category and it also awards the John Steptoe New Talent Award.
The Phoenix Award is given by the Children’s Literature Association which is an organization of teachers, scholars, librarians, editors, writers, illustrators, and parents who are “interested in encouraging the serious study of children’s literature. As a result I expected the books I had chosen to be serious. Whether or not I would like them is another matter. Throughout this semester I’ve been constantly talking about how most of the award-winning books I had read were wonderful books. But there is also this idea that serious literature doesn’t exactly mean enjoyable.The award is given to a book of high literary merit and the award is named after “the fabled bird who rose from its ashes with renewed life and beauty. Phoenix books also rise from the ashes of neglect and obscurity and once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.” This is a pretty lofty sentiment, but one which has always been connected with books of “literary merit.”