BOSTON – Cynthia Kadohata, author of “Kira-Kira,” and Kevin Henkes, illustrator and author of “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” are the 2005 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals, the most prestigious awards in children’s literature. They were among the award winners announced today by the American Library Association (ALA) during its Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Considered the “Academy Awards” of children’s book publishing, the Newbery and Caldecott medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.
In Kadohata’s winning book, two sisters lie on their backs, watching the stars and repeating the Japanese word for “glittering” – “kira-kira.” Like this quiet opening scene, the tenderly nuanced novel glitters with plain and poignant words that describe the strong love within a Japanese American family from the point of view of younger sister Katie. Personal challenges and family tragedy are set against the oppressive social climate of the South during the 1950s and early 1960s. “Kira-Kira,” is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.
“With compelling quietude that makes room for both pathos and humor, this luminous novel takes us on Katie Takeshima’s journey through a childhood punctuated by prejudice, poverty and family tragedy,” said Newbery Award Chair Susan Faust. “Young readers will be drawn into a narrative that radiates hope from the inside out.”
The 2005 Caldecott Medal for illustration is awarded to Henkes for “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Henkes employs boldly outlined organic shapes and shades of black, white and gray with rose undertones on creamy paper to tell a simple story of a kitten who mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. The moon, the flowers, the fireflies’ lights and the kitten’s eyes create a comforting circle motif. The gouache and colored pencil illustrations project a varied page design that rhythmically paces the spare text.
“Thoughtful design, from the front jacket with reflective silver letters to the final image, sustains a completely satisfying read-aloud experience,” said Caldecott Award Chair Betsy Hearne. “Kitten's frustration and eventual triumph—emotions familiar to young children—find artistic expression in a meticulously crafted book with classic appeal.”
Three Newbery Honor Books were named: “Al Capone Does My Shirts,” by Gennifer Choldenko and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; “The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights,” by Russell Freedman and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin; and “Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy,” by Gary D. Schmidt and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin.
Three Caldecott Honor Books were named: “The Red Book,” illustrated and written by Barbara Lehman and published by Houghton Mifflin Company; “Coming on Home Soon,” illustrated by E.B. Lewis, written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” illustrated and written by Mo Willems and published by Hyperion Books for Children.
The awards are administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA.
Coretta Scott King Award
Toni Morrison, author of “Remember: The Journey to School Integration,” and Kadir Nelson, illustrator of “Ellington Was Not a Street,” are the winners of the 2005 Coretta Scott King Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults. Barbara Hathaway, author of “Missy Violet and Me,” is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award winner; and Frank Morrison, illustrator of “Jazzy Miz Mozetta,” is the Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award winner.
“Remember: The Journey to School Integration,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company, is Morrison’s first historical work for young people using archival photographs to take the reader on a journey remembering “the narrow path, the open door and the wide road” to integration.
“What a treasure! Toni’s powerful words combine the experiences of school integration with simple text and archival photographs,” said King Award Chair Chrystal Carr Jeter. “In this easy-to-read book, readers are asked to remember and understand the past, present and future of African Americans in society.”
In “Ellington Was Not a Street,” published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Nelson evokes the feelings of a family album in rich, deep-toned oil paintings which provide a tribute to the legendary African American men whose contributions changed the culture of 20th-century America.
“Nelson’s illustrations effectively depict this era in history known as the Harlem Renaissance,” said Jeter. “They offer an understanding of the relationships among the company of men ‘who changed the world.’” Ntozake Shange’s poem “Mood Indigo” serves as the text of this picture book, while Nelson’s eye for detail of the family setting, facial expressions of the guests, and their physical characteristics are exquisitely rendered.
Occasionally awarded, the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award affirms new talent and offers visibility to excellence in writing and/or illustrations at the beginning of a career as a published children’s book creator. “Missy Violet and Me” introduces Viney, an 11-year-old who is faced with having to help the family pay a debt. She learns that her summer will be spent working with a local midwife, Missy Violet. She then also learns about “catching” babies, which changes her life forever. The book is published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
“Jazzy Miz Mozetta,” illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Brenda C. Roberts, is dynamic, lively and whimsical. It describes in a bold and animated style the night Miz Mozetta decided to take a stroll, catching off guard the young and the old. The book is published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
Three King Author Honor Books were selected: “The Legend of Buddy Bush,” by Shelia P. Moses and published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster; “Who Am I Without Him?: Short Stories About Girls and the Boys in Their Lives,” by Sharon G. Flake and published by Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children; and “Fortune’s Bones: The Manumission Requiem,” by Marilyn Nelson and published by Front Street.
Two King Illustrator Honor Books were selected: “God Bless the Child,” illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr., and published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.; and “The People Could Fly: The Picture Book,” illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, written by Virginia Hamilton and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
The Coretta Scott King Award is presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Task Force of ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT).
Michael L. Printz Award
Meg Rosoff has won the 2005 Michael L. Printz Award for her uncompromising work, “how I live now,” published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Set during a shocking occupation by terrorist forces, Rosoff’s novel is narrated by 15-year-old Daisy, a wry and alienated young woman who finds true love, mystical connections and a sense of home with her cousins in England.
“Through Daisy’s evolving voice, readers see a teen who moves beyond self-absorption to become a resourceful survivor, understanding the need to care for others,” said Printz Award Chair Betty Carter. “Meg Rosoff achieves balance in a story both darkly symbolic and bitingly funny.”
Three Printz Honor Books also were named: “Airborn,” by Kenneth Oppel and published by EOS, an imprint of HarperCollins; “Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy,” by Gary D. Schmidt and published by Clarion Books, a Houghton Mifflin Company imprint; and “Chanda’s Secrets,” by Allan Stratton and published by Annick Press.
First presented in 2000, the Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of ALA, and sponsored by Booklist magazine.
Margaret A. Edwards Award
Francesca Lia Block is the slinkster-cool recipient of the 2005 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her outstanding contributions to young adult readers.
Block’s books “Weetzie Bat” (1989), “Witch Baby” (1991), “Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys” (1992), “Missing Angel Juan” (1993) and “Baby Be-Bop” (1996), deal with complex issues such as blended families, the many types of love, and the sometimes heartbreaking real world challenges teenagers face. In Block’s Shangri-L.A., there is pain and sadness, but love, magic and hope prevail.
“Block’s work has been considered groundbreaking for its magical realism and bringing alive the L.A. scene,” said Edwards Award Chair Cindy Dobrez. “Block takes traditional folklore archetypes and translates them for contemporary teens with her inventive use of lyrical language – transforming gritty urban environments into a funky fairy tale dreamworld.”
The award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal.
Schneider Family Book Award
The Schneider Family Book Award honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences in three age categories: birth through grade school (age 0–10), middle school (age 11–13), and teens (age 13–18).
“My Pal, Victor,” written by Diane Gonzales Bertrand and illustrated by Robert L. Sweetland, wins for best picture book for young children. Published by Raven Tree Press, the bilingual text and bold, colorful illustrations weave the story of two Latino boys who share the joys of friendship – telling scary stories and outrageous riddles, going swimming, riding roller coasters and having many other adventures.
Pam Muñoz Ryan is the winner of the middle-school award for “Becoming Naomi Leon,” published by Scholastic Press. Ryan uses imaginative language and great sensitivity in portraying an 11-year-old girl’s emergence from the timidity of an emotionally abusive relationship to becoming a lioness.
The teen award goes to “My Thirteenth Winter: A Memoir,” written by Samantha Abeel and published by Orchard Books. The book was chosen for its honest and sensitive portrayal of the author’s youth as she struggles with dyscalculia, a learning disability in mathematics.
The Schneider Family Book Award is donated by Katherine Schneider, Ph.D., and administered by the ALA.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal
Laurence Yep, the premier voice of the Chinese American experience in literature for young people, is the winner of the 2005 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children. Yep’s numerous works include “Dragonwings,” “The Rainbow People,” “The Khan’s Daughter” and the autobiographical “The Lost Garden.” His writing spans more than 30 years and includes more than 55 titles.
“Across a variety of literary genres, Laurence Yep explores the dilemma of the cultural outsider,” said Committee Chair Janice M. Del Negro. “The universality of this theme is illuminated by Yep’s attention to the complexity and conflict within and across cultures.”
The Wilder Medal is administered by ALSC and is named for its first recipient in 1954.
Robert F. Sibert Award
Russell Freedman, author of “The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights,” was named the winner of the 2005 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award.
In the book, published by Clarion Books, a Houghton Mifflin imprint, Freedman gracefully narrates the story of Anderson’s life and career. Appropriately, it is her remarkable voice that the author emphasizes in this handsomely and spaciously designed book about an artist who preferred to focus on her career, but was forced to confront her nation’s racism.
“With profound respect for his subject and his reader’s intelligence, Freedman has elegantly constructed a compelling narrative enhanced by exemplary documentation and powerful, well-chosen photographs. This book exemplifies the highest standards of informational books for children,” said Sibert Award Chair Kathleen Isaacs.
Three Sibert Honor Books also were named: “Walt Whitman: Words for America,” written by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.; “The Tarantula Scientist, ” written by Sy Montgomery, with photographs by Nic Bishop and published by Houghton Mifflin; and “Sequoyah: The Cherokee Man Who Gave His People Writing,” written and illustrated by James Rumford, translated into Cherokee by Anna Sixkiller Huckaby and published by Houghton Mifflin.
The annual award is administered by ALSC and is sponsored by Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Ill., in honor of Robert F. Sibert, its longtime president.
Andrew Carnegie Medal
Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly of Weston Woods Studios, producers of “The Dot” in association with FableVision, are the 2005 recipients of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video. The video is based on the book by Peter H. Reynolds and is narrated by Thora Birch, with music by Jerry Dale McFadden.
Frustrated artist Vashti is ready to give up when a dot – simple but complete – takes her to new artistic heights. Vashti’s talent bursts into life, joyfully encircling her and framing each canvas. Like a drop of paint from a watercolor brush on paper, Vashti’s teacher’s compassionate encouragement spreads to her young artist.
“The warmth and simplicity of Reynolds’ minimalist art is beautifully enlivened in this animated adaptation,” said Carnegie Award Chair Elizabeth Simmons.
The Carnegie Medal, established with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, honors an outstanding American video production for children released during the previous year. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC).
Mildred L. Batchelder Award
Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, was named the winner of the 2005 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a foreign language and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States for “The Shadows of Ghadames.”
Originally published in French in 1999 as “Les Ombres de Ghadamès,” the book was written by Joëlle Stolz and translated into English by Catherine Temerson. The book paints a vivid picture of a young woman’s coming of age in 19th-century Libya, as 11-year-old Malika questions the restrictions she encounters as she approaches marriageable age. When the women of her family secretly aid a young outcast, Malika gains a new understanding of the strength of the women of Ghadames, whose seclusion from the men’s world of the streets has created a powerful all-female community that extends across the rooftops of the city.
“Readers will sympathize with Malika, the rebellious adolescent, while Stolz’s rich and compelling detail invites them into her world,” said Batchelder Award Chair Marilyn Hollinshead.
Two Honor Books also were selected. “The Crow-Girl: The Children of Crow Cove,” published by Farrar Straus Giroux, and “Daniel Half Human and the Good Nazi,” published by Richard Jackson Books, an imprint at Simon & Schuster’s Atheneum division.
The Batchelder Award is administered by ALSC.
May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
Russell Freedman, renowned author of outstanding nonfiction for children and young adults, will deliver the 2006 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Each year, an individual of distinction in the field of children’s literature is chosen to write and deliver a lecture that will make a significant contribution to the world of children’s literature.
Certain that children underappreciate history due to uninspiring texts, Freedman set out to breathe life into what he believed was fascinating subject matter. Freedman’s career began as a news reporter and editor and moved into children’s books with the publication of his first book, “Teenagers Who Made History,” in 1961. Freedman has brought such diverse figures as Marian Anderson, Martha Graham, Confucius and Crazy Horse alive through extensive research, archival photographs and his ability to tell a good story.
“Freedman redefined children’s nonfiction with his emphasis on original research, realistic history and thoughtful selection of photographs,” said Arbuthnot Award Chair Jean Gaffney. “The lives and times of which he so honestly writes forever touch the reader’s heart and mind.”
The award is administered by ALSC.
Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s experts, the awards encourage original and creative work. For more information on the ALA youth media awards and notables, please visit the ALA Web site at www.ala.org/2005awards.