Red Carpets for Writers and Readers

The Grammies have just wound up and buzz about this spring’s Oscar Awards has been in the air for months (or maybe it just feels like months?). But the red carpet treatment at this time of year isn’t just for the singing and acting sets; we are also smack-dab in the middle of book award season.

Two of the most well-known book awards were recently presented at the American Library Association’s mid-winter conference in Seattle, Washington.

THis is Not My HatThe Caldecott Medal (named for nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott) has been presented by the ALA since 1938 to the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” (To find out what was hot in children’s lit near the end of the Dust Bowl years, check out this list.) This year’s winner is This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. Like the best fiction of any kind, Klassen draws out the imaginations of his young readers as they follow the actions of a small fish who, against his best judgment, steals the hat of another. The book has been described as “darkly humorous” – and it is – but both the storytelling and terrific illustrations balance things out with plenty of charm.

The One and Only IvanAlong with the Caldecott the ALA also presented its annual Newbery Medal (named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery). The Newbery honours “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children,” and has been around since 1922. This year’s winner is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, illustrations by Patricia Castelao. The book tells the story of “show” gorilla Ivan (his home is the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade) – who happens to have a penchant for art-making – and the way his life changes with the arrival of Ruby, a baby elephant. Themes of friendship and hope weave their way through this touching story, which is also not without a giggle or two.

Canadian libraries present their own awards for children’s books as well. We’ll find out this year’s winners at the 2013 Canadian Library Association conference (May/June) – held in Winnipeg this year! Stay tuned to learn the winner of the Book of the Year for Children Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award for outstanding illustrator of a children’s book.

Winnipeg Public Library makes it easy for you to get your hands on these and other award-winning titles. Just head on over to our catalogue and check out the Good Reads link for our holdings of local, national and international award-winners for all ages.

Happy reading!

Monique

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