Newbery & Caldecott Children’s Book Awards 2011

San Diego was the “hotbed of children’s literature” noted the San Diego Union Tribune article linked here.  Each January  the American Library Association’s (ALA) meeting holds the Youth Media Awards where their book award winners are announced.  The oldest and most prestigious are the Newbery Medal for distinguished writing in American literature for children and the Caldecott Medal awarded for distinguished American picture book art.

“What those involved with the medals get most excited about is the very real possibility that a Caldecott or Newbery winner will be the book that opens a child up to reading, to learning, to dreaming. To the whole wide world.

It’s why people care so deeply about the awards — why librarians and teachers hold mock Caldecott (best picture book) and Newbery (best literature) contests every year, why book bloggers on the Internet have been speculating for months about the most deserving winners,” explains John Wilkens in the San Diego Union Tribune.

And this year the winners are…

Newbery Medal

Moon Over Manifest,” written by Clare Vanderpool, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Twelve-year-old Abilene Tucker is the daughter of a drifter who, in the summer of 1936, sends her to stay with an old friend in Manifest, Kansas, where he grew up, and where she hopes to find out some things about his past.  Powerful in its simplicity and rich in historical detail, Clare Vanderpool’s debut is a gripping story of loss and redemption.    Baker & Taylor


Newbery Honor Books

Turtle in Paradise” written by Jennifer L. Holm, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Inspired by family stories, two-time Newbery Honor winner and New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Holm beautifully blends family lore with America’s past in this charming gem of a novel, rich in historical detail, humor, and the unique flavors of Key West.   Random House


Heart of a Samurai” written by Margi Preus, published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams

In a fascinating work of historical fiction based on a true story of the first Japanese person to enter the United States, 14-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a samurai, is rescued in 1841 by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck leaves him and his four companions stranded on a remote island.  Japan’s borders remain closed to all Western nations, so the crew sets off to America.  Manjiro is curious and eager to learn everything he can about this new culture. Eventually the captain adopts Manjiro and takes him to his home in New England.    Harry N. Abrams


Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night” written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Intricately detailed spreads and nighttime-themed poetry celebrate the natural world after dark and describe such subjects as silk-weaving spiders, oak trees that recover from their time in the sun and a raspberry-leaf-eating porcupette that coos to its mother. By the author of the Caldecott Honor-winning Red Sings from Treetops.   Baker &  Taylor


One Crazy Summer” written by Rita Williams-Garcia, published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

It’s the summer of 1968, and eleven-year-old Delphine reluctantly shepherds her two younger sisters on their trip from Brooklyn to Oakland, where the mother who deserted them now lives. Thoroughly coached by her grandmother about how little Negro girls should behave to avoid scenes, Delphine maintains her own sensibility about what is appropriate and makes sure her sisters toe the line. Their mother Cecile is far from welcoming, sending them each day to the People’s Center run by the Black Panthers to keep them out of her way while she writes her poetry.   Horn Book


Caldecott Medal

A Sick Day for Amos McGee” illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing

Amos McGee, a friendly zoo keeper, always makes time to visit his animal friends, but when he becomes sick and cannot come in to work, the animals pay him a visit instead.   Baker & Taylor


Caldecott Honor Books

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill, published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill’s elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier’s resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave’s story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.  Hachette Publishing


Interrupting Chicken” illustrated and written by David Ezra Stein, published by Candlewick Press

A tale inspired by a favorite joke follows the antics of a young chicken, whose discomfiting habit of interrupting bedtime stories is corrected in a whimsical and unexpected way.    Baker & Taylor


2011 Notable Books List

The books on this list have been identified by a committee of children’s librarians as the best of the best for the past year, the Notables List may help you find that special book for your young reader. To view the list, click here.

Along with these awards are over 20 other awards,  worked on my committees of librarians who spend hundreds of hours and over a year of time reading, reflecting on, and analyzing the merit of each book.   The awards are not given for the most popular book, but for the most distinguished for literary or artistic merit.  As one  publisher explained it, “It just like the Pulitzer Award, if you want quality of writing you look to that, or the National Book Award, if you want popular, you can look at the bestseller list.”  Hopefully these award books will open the young reader to the world of quality books that can transport, transform, and enrich their lives.


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