And the Winner is. . .

Every year I look forward to the announcement of the Newbery and Caldecott winners.  Apparently, this year’s announcement led to an outrage.  No-it had nothing to do with judges, or recipients, or the books themselves. 

The problem surfaced when the Today show decided to cancel its traditional segment that celebrates these awards with interviews.  (Read the Publisher’s Weekly article here.)

So today I wanted to emphasize the importance of these awards to our children and all American readers.  As writers and teachers, here’s why we should take special note of these listings:

  • the ALA –established in 1876, the American Library Association presents these awards through carefully elected committees  –in other words, experts in the industry.
  • Distinguished– the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals are given to the most distinguished contributions to American literature for children.  (Caldecott for illustrations) –I don’t know about you, but as a writer and teacher, I DO want to know just what is considered a distinguished contribution in children’s lit these days. 
  • Current–these books are the newest publications.  Where else to keep up with the latest, most innovative contributions to children’s lit than in the NOW?

I feel as a writing teacher and writer, I am obligated to know these awards and their recipients.  This helps to stay abreast on the latest writing models for my students to best convey quality literature. 

Do I have other books that didn’t make these list that I feel should have been winners?  of course

Do I close these books satisfied that it was the perfect book to win? most of the time

However, I always learn something from each of these award winners AND I am always thrilled to get my hands on a book from these lists.

If you haven’t already, make it a point this year to start reading the Newbery and Caldecott.  Start with this year’s winners.  There’s also honorable mentions listed of those books that came pretty close to winning–so don’t forget to check them out, too.


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