Each year when the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards are announced, I see a glimpse of CLI’s future. Though a book does not have to win an award to be chosen for a CLI collection, we do love to include winners and honor books that will inspire children and teachers with their beautiful writing and illustrations, their diversity, and their excellent content. A medal can keep a book in print, call attention to stories that might otherwise have been passed over, and pique the curiosity of children wondering what that shiny sticker means. Here are some of this year’s award winners that I’m most excited about and eager to find homes for at CLI.
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James is a self-esteem boosting, happy grin-inducing, word-loving poem about the experience of getting a haircut.
Winner: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Caldecott Honor, Newbery Honor
Before She Was Harriet by Lisa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome
Before She Was Harriet by Lisa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome is a biography of Harriet Tubman written in powerful verse and moving reverse-chronologically through her life to her childhood.
Winner: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor
Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Part geology lesson, part time travel, and all spectacular, Grand Canyon by Jason Chin is packed with flora, fauna, and facts. It’s hard to take your eyes off this one.
Winner: Sibert Honor, Caldecott Honor
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez and Adriana M. Garcia
All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez and Adriana M. Garcia is a book to revisit over and over. The art vibrates with energy, and the ideas about circles, the connectedness of life, and the nature of time create opportunities for reflection and observation at every page turn.
Winner: Belpre Illustrator Honor
Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown and John Parra
In Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, Monica Brown and John Parra offer a new frame for the famous artist’s life story: the animals she loved and cared for beginning when she was a child.
Winner: Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor
King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler and Nancy Meyers
Told from the dog’s point of view, King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats by Dori Hillestad Butler and Nancy Meyers celebrates teamwork, highlighting the different skills, human and canine, that help solve the mystery.
Winner: Geisel Honor
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell
Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell encourages us to reexamine stereotypes about storybook wolves – and about each other. Stressing the importance of empathy, this is a perfect book for promoting a positive classroom culture.
Winner: Caldecott Award