* * *Hello friends! This past weekend, nestled in among big games, groundhogs, and public-transportation-crippling winter storms, Children’s Book Christmas went on as planned in Chicago—also known as the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting. More specifically, on Monday, all the biggest awards in the children’s book industry were announced. The big three are as follows:
- John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature: “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander
- Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children: “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” illustrated by Dan Santat
- Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: “I’ll Give You the Sun,” written by Jandy Nelson
- This list has diverse characters and creators—not just the whole list, but each individual award’s list as well, bringing to mind the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign that was (and continues to be) such a prominent part of the public discussion about kids’ books in 2014.
- This list also has diversity of format, with a graphic novel appearing in the honors list for all three of the big awards. This also led to the same book ending up on the honors list for both the Printz Award for young adult books and the Caldecott list for picture books, for what I’m pretty sure is the first but far from last time.
- And this list honors many books published by small and medium publishers—perhaps it is a little inside baseball to bring up, but in an industry where the big companies are rapidly getting bigger and fewer, it’s interesting to see some smaller ones come into the spotlight.