Some of the most prestigious annual awards for children’s literature are those given out by the divisions of the American Library Association. This year’s crop of winners includes a little something for every reader. Whether you are a child, a parent, or just a booklover, be sure to check out one of these stellar reads!
Looking for a little humor? Beginning readers will crack up over one father’s attempts to coax his son into adventurous eating in Tales for Very Picky Eaters, 2011’s Theodore Seuss Geisel Award winner. Middle graders won’t want to miss Jack Gantos’ crazy summer of nosebleeds, obituaries, and possibly murder in the Newbery Award winning Dead End in Norvelt. And teens looking for a fierce yet fabulous look at the cutthroat makeup world must check out Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, 2011’s Stonewall Book Award winner.
Are you an art lover? Check out this year’s Caldecott Award winning picture book, A Ball for Daisy, a beautifully illustrated wordless romp through the emotional highs and lows of one adorable little dog. For an informative, illustrated look at the life of artist Diego Rivera, pick up 2011’s Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner, Diego Rivera: His World and Ours featuring a distinctive Mayan folk art style. Another outstanding combination of facts and pictures is this year’s Sibert Award winner, Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, a fascinating biography of craftsman Tony Sarg complemented by rich, mixed media illustrations.
Fans of complex, contemporary fiction will be riveted by the story of a teenage amputee in The Running Dream (Schneider Family Book Award), the saga of a budding Mexican-American writer burdened by family issues in Under the Mesquite (Pura Belpre Author Award), a mixed-race teen’s coming of age as she explores her Japanese heritage in Orchards (Asian/Pacific American Young Adult Literature Award), and the parallel stories of an Alabama teen and a disillusioned missionary in Where Things Come Back (Printz Award).
Do you prefer your stories true, or at least based on real events? Soldier Bear, 2011’s Batchelder Award winner is a fictionalized account of a real bear and the soldiers who adopted him during World War II. For a strictly factual but just as engaging historical read, try The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery, this year’s YALSA Nonfiction Award winner.
And for a more personal look at history, the authors of both The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood (American Indian Youth Literature Award) and The House Baba Built: An Artist’s Childhood in China (Asian/Pacific American Picture Book Award) share memories of everyday life in two very different locations: the frozen Dakota prairie and an urban Chinese city.
For more information on any of these awards, click the links above. Happy reading!