An eye on children’s book prizes

People clamor over the Golden Globes and the Oscars, but librarians, especially youth services librarians wait, rather impatiently, for the names of the children’s book award winners, which are announced at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference. This year’s event will take place on February 2 from McCormick Place in Chicago and will feature the winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, Sibert, and Coretta Scott King awards.

The Caldecott medal recognizes the most distinguished American picture book of the preceding year; and the Newbery medal is given to the author of the most notable work in children’s literature. The Sibert award honors the best in non-fiction work is awarded to both the author and illustrator. The Coretta Scott King Book awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.

The Princeton Public Library has had a bit of an influence on deciding the winner of the Caldecott award. Having served on the 2012 Caldecott committee, I was thrilled to have a hand in the decision to award author and illustrator Chris Raschka his second Caldecott medal for “A Ball for Daisy.” PPL’s involvement continues as very own Lucia Acosta, youth services librarian, is serving on this year’s committee.

Many libraries across the country host mock awards programs where interested individuals gather to discuss and review the books in a certain category. I am always surprised that some books receive so much buzz while others I really like and feel that everyone else should like it seem to barely be mentioned. The front runners in the mock Caldecott awards are “The Farmer and the Clown” by Marla Frazee, “Draw” by Raul Colon, “The Girl and the Bicycle” by Mark Pett and “Flora and the Penguin” by Molly Idle. What I find interesting about these titles is they are all wordless books. There is a certain beauty in a book whose story is told solely through the illustrations. These types of books are also very empowering for children who can interpret the story in different ways just “reading” the pictures.

I am not predicting my wins here, but I wouldn’t rule out any of the four mentioned above and I’d keep an eye on “Gaston” by Kelly DiPucchio, “Neighborhood Sharks” by Katherine Roy and “Gravity” by Jason Chin. The next time you’re visiting the library, stop by the third floor and check out some of these great books!

Scroll to Top