Past Winners and Trend Bucking
Remember that year when the Caldecott winner was a significantly longer book than the Newbery winner? It was 2008 and Brian Selznick got the Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret while Laura Amy Schlitz got the Newbery for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. That felt like a big deal at the time. Ten years later we’ve seen more books that are less “traditional” award winners recognized. Graphic novels and picture books keep popping up where least expected! Are we going to keep seeing more of this?
I, personally, love to see our committees taking the terms and criteria to heart while expanding the way they are considered.
So, what does this mean for this year?
Selznick’s latest (co-written by David Serlin), Baby Monkey, Private Eye, is getting a lot of buzz. I’ve heard it mentioned as a potential Newbery, Geisel, and Caldecott contendor. Looking at it for Newbery, though, I’m not so sure. This is an almost 200-page Easy Reader with an index, an art guide, and a biblography. It’s charming, hilarious, lovable, smart, and fun. But do the design and illustration make this book? Is the text, itself, distinguished? I think the book is distinguished, but for me, not Newbery distinguished. What do you think?
Other non-traditional Newbery titles that’ve been on my mind are Love by Matt de la Peña, who nabbed the 2016 Newbery Medal with a picture book, Last Stop on Market Street, They Say Blue, the debut picture book by Jillian Tamaki whose graphic novel This One Summer snagged a 2015 Caldecott Honor, and The Day you Begin by the always-amazing always award-winning Jacqieline Woodson.
Do you think any of these have a shot?
Filed under: Book Discussion
About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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