The 2022 Newbery Medal goes to: THE LAST CUENTISTA
This morning Emily and I both watched the ALA Youth Media Awards webcast in our own separate states (Oregon/me, Illionois/Emily) and shared our reactions live using a shared Google document. That conversation is published below. Please add your reactions in the comments below, and we’ll chime in as well:
2022 Youth Media Award Live Reactions from Emily and Steven
EM- Good morning! It’s a snowy Monday in the Chicago suburbs and I’m excited to share the excitement of the YMA’S with all of you from the comfort of my couch! How’s the weather on the west coast Steven?
SE- It’s too early to see anything. 6:00 am! But my computer says it’s cold (for Oregon) and clear.
SE – Starting with the American Indian Youth Literature Awards. This one comes every other year.
EM: I definitely need to read more of these picture books. Also 5 honors. I wonder what the highest number of honors will be this year.I’m happy to see love for Healer of the Water Monster..
SE: The high number of Honors in all age levels seems like it might indicate a great publishing trend. I wonder if this award might switch to every year soon?
SE: Apple is from last year…a memoir in verse. Great to see that one win!
EM: Yes, I was wondering what year I read apple. My vote has zero weight, but I think every year is a good idea. Onward to Asian American Award.
EM: First of many wins for Watercress? And YES, Finding Junie Kim for middle grade. Well deserved. This was one of the 15 I was sad
did not make our top 15.
SE: Maybe so, Watercress could contend for Newbery and Caldecott too.
SE: NIcky and Vera as a Sydney Taylor honor. Another one that could win other awards today.
EM: Susan Kusel, author of The Passover Guest is a beloved member of ALSC, so very excited to see her win. Steven, how much are you celebrating Genius Under the Table?
SE: Glad to see Gordon Korman’s Linked as a Sydney Taylor honor too. A deceptively thoughtful (and predictably funny) book.
SE: I’m happy about the Sydney Taylor Honor for “Genius”….but I want even more medals for that book (Sibert?…Newbery?…), one of my favorites of the year.
EM: One of my favorite parts of the YMA’s when I was a committee member is seeing books you loved getting honored for other awards. It validates you that they were quality and is just so nice to see them getting the love they deserve.
EM: Schneider Award went to “A Bird Will Soar” Steven did you read that one? One that I did not read this year.
SE: I did not read the Schneider winner. These announcements always remind me how many books I miss every year. Even though it seems like I read so many with an eye on Heavy Medal.
EM: It’s Stonewall time, fun fact- I was actually on one of the Stonewall adult committees (Barbara Gittings Literature Award) this year. That was definitely out of my comfort zone. I’m ready to return to all children’s books all the time now.
EM: Too Bright to See for the Stonewall! YES, YES, YES. and Young Adult is Last Night at the Telegraph Club. I think I deemed “Last Night” too old for Newbery, but definitely want to finish it now.
SE: So glad to see Too Bright win the Stonewall. Will it follow up with Newbery recognition?
EM: Nikki Grimes for Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement. I’m so happy for her, she does such important work.
SE: Love to see a poet honored!
SE: Unspeakable is such a powerful book. Winner of the CSK picture book medal.
EM: I’m very curious how many awards Unspeakable will win today. Author and Illustrator for CSK.
EM: The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi won a CSK Book Award Honor! Yes, my Kwanzaa book I loved so much!!!! I’m so happy it’s recognized!
SE: Has a book ever won golds for both CSK categories? Unspeakable just did! Just browsed the list of winners, and yes, a double CSK win has happened twice: Africa Dream in 1978 and Ray Charles in 1974. Still an amazing accomplishment for Unspeakable…and it could be a Caldecott as well.
EM: Light from Uncommon Stars won an Alex Award and it was an honor for the award committee I was on. I think this is the first (and probably last time) I’ve ever read one of the Alex Award books.
SE: Love to see A. S. King honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award. Such a unique and original writer! I don’t always fully understand all of her books, but I read them all.
SE: Although I like the complete mystery of the Newbery and Caldecott process, it’s kind of fun to get to hear the finalists, like we get for the William C. Morris Award and the YA Nonfiction…
EM: I’ve heard people push for a Newbery shortlist, but I also like the mystery.
EM: OK I’m going to read Fire Keeper’s Daughter now (Morris Award Winner). Steven, does this morning make you want to read/ reread books you missed, or are you ready to move on to 2022?
SE: It makes me think I should read the 2021’s I missed, but from past history, I’m pretty sure I’m going to move right on to 2022…
SE: Ambushed wins the YA Nonfiction. I thought that might be Newbery or Sibert contender too, but probably a better fit for YA
EM: The morning is young, Steven– there still could be more medals ahead for Ambushed!
SE: Wow! Starfish as a Printz! I hadn’t even thought of that.
EM: I was about to type that exact same sentence Steven. I thought it was too young for Printz, but now thinking about it…
SE: These go by so fast it’s hard to keep track, but is that three golds for Firekeeper’s Daughter? Was it a winner for the American Indian Youth Literature Award too?
EM: Umm, they’re blending together a little, but yes, I think you’re right.
SE: Oops. Firekeeper’s Daughter won an Honor for the American Indian Youth Literature Award, but wasn’t the winner…my bad.
EM: I believe this whole press conference is pre-recorded for the digital age. So strange. I also heard the other day that most of the authors found out yesterday (or sooner). That would be much too hard of a secret to keep for me!!
EM: Pura Belpre Children’s Author Award goes to The Last Cuentista! Not surprised about that one.
SE: Yes for Last Cuentista. Also always like to see science fiction getting awards.
EM: Bryan Collier will deliver the 2022 Children’s Literature Lecture Award. That will be a good one.
SE: Bryan Collier won an Honor when I was on the Caldecott for Martin’s Big Words. And he’s won several others as well.
EM: What year were you on the Caldecott? I missed this detail about you! Were you on any other award committees?
SE: Just the Caldecott…2002 Committee (Three Pigs was the winner)
EM: I think the Batchelder Award would be a fun committee to be on. I’m introduced to so many great titles from this award every year that I would not normally read.
EM: Sibert time! Steven’s favorite award?
SE: I’m really hoping for Fallout and Genius
EM: Five honor books, you have potential for both of those.
SE: Great Stink was excellent! Funny and fascinating.
EM: One of my Heavy Medal nominations was for We are Still Here thank you, thank you.
SE: I love this list so far!
EM: People’s Painter wins. Hope you’re not too upset about “Genius.”
SE: This will make the Newbery recognition all the sweeter for Genius…
EM: As a converted audio book listener I’m excited about the Odyssey award. What year was Emmanuel’s Dream? Did the audio just come out later?
SE: Emmanuel’s Dream is a 2015 book, so yes, it took a while for the audio I guess…
EM: I do love how they play the audio of the Odyssey winners. Really draws you in as a listener.
EM: I better look into these digital media award winners for my children. I could use less Paw Patrol in my life.
SE: Grace LIn wins the Children’s Literature Legacy Award! (she won a Newbery Honor during one of my years for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon)
EM: Waiting for Harry to get some Geisel love… getting nervous….
SE: I wonder if Harry is just too old for Geisel?
EM: Fox at Night, the Geisel winner was a great read.
EM: Now it’s the big leagues “ the oldest and most widely known awards.” Cue the hype up music… Four Caldecott honors
SE: Mel Fell was my favorite for the Caldecott. It got an Honor!
EM: The love for Unspeakable continues, I’ve lost count of the number of awards!!
EM: Watercress for Caldecott! Hooray for Jason Chin.
SE: Great choice! Two golds for Watercress now. It won the Asian Pacific Award as well.
EM: Red, White, and Whole received a lot of early love on Heavy Medal. Uh-oh I never read a Snake Falls to Earth….
SE: I missed Snake too. It happens…
EM: Watercress with an honor, and Too Bright to See… we’re doing well.
EM: OMG OMG LAST CUENTISTA FOR THE WIN! I’m so surprised, but not surprised and so happy!
SE: Marvelous choice! A Belpre and a Newbery for the book!
EM: So no Newbery honor or anything for Starfish. I guess the faults that were discussed were too much, which I do understand. Also first year in a while with no nonfiction for an honor or medal? Wait, no love anywhere for Amber and Clay! Steven, are you OK with this?
SE: Last year’s Heavy Medal Mock winner was Everything Sad is Untrue, which won the Printz. This year’s HM pick, Starfish, won a Printz Honor. Maybe we’re focusing on the wrong award?
SE: No nonfiction, but another year with a picture book Honor. Great day for Watercress.
SE: I’m disappointed for my favorites, but always okay with the results. Even on Heavy Medal we get to see how diverse everyone’s ideas of excellence are.
EM: Well said, Steven as always. Well this was fun live blogging with you and I’m excited to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the winners. As always, let us know in the comments!
About Steven Engelfried
Steven Engelfried was the Library Services Manager at the Wilsonville Public Library in Oregon until he retired in 2022 after 35 years as a full-time librarian. He served on the 2010 Newbery committee, chaired the 2013 Newbery Committee, and also served on the 2002 Caldecott committee. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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