DALLAS- Jack Gantos, author of “Dead End in Norvelt,” and Chris Raschka, illustrator of “A Ball for Daisy” are the 2012 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious awards in children’s literature.
Jack Gantos and Chris Raschka were among the award winners announced January 23, by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas, Jan. 20 - 24. The Newbery and Caldecott Medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.
The 2012 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature went to Jack Gantos for “Dead End in Norvelt,” published by Farrar Straus Giroux. The importance of history and reading (so you don’t do the same “stupid stuff” again) is at the heart of this achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nose bleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice.
“Who knew obituaries and old lady death could be this funny and this tender?” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Viki Ash.
Jack Gantos, born in 1951 in Mount Pleasant, Pa., earned both a BFA (1976) and an MA (1984) from Emerson College. Now living in Boston, Gantos has received numerous awards including a 2001 Newbery Honor for “Joey Pigza Loses Control,” and 2003 Printz and Sibert Honors for “Hole in My Life.”
The 2012 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book is awarded to Chris Raschka for “A Ball for Daisy,” written and illustrated by Chris Raschka and published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc. In a wordless book with huge children’s appeal, Chris Raschka gives us the story of an irrepressible little dog whose most prized possession is accidentally destroyed. With brilliant economy of line and color, Raschka captures Daisy’s total (yet temporary) devastation. A buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship.
“Chris Raschka’s deceptively simple paintings of watercolor, gouache and ink explore universal themes of love and loss that permit thousands of possible variants,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Steven L. Herb. ‘A Ball for Daisy’ holds as many unique stories as there will be young readers and re-readers.
A writer, artist and musician, Chris Raschka has more than 40 children’s books to his credit. Accolades for his work include 1994 Caldecott honor recognition for “Yo! Yes?” and a Caldecott Medal win in 2006 for “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” written by Norton Juster. He lives with his family in New York City.
Two Newbery Honor Books were named:
“Inside Out & Back Again,” written by Thanhha Lai and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. Hà and her family flee war-torn Vietnam for the American South. In spare yet vivid verse, she chronicles her year-long struggle to find her place in a new and shifting world.
“Breaking Stalin’s Nose,” written and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin and published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC. On the eve of his induction into the Young Pioneers, Sasha’s world is overturned when his father is arrested by Stalin’s guard. Yelchin deftly crafts a stark and compelling story of a child’s lost idealism.
Three Caldecott Honor Books were named:
“Blackout,”written and illustrated by John Roccoand published by Disney · Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. A summer’s power outage draws an urban family up to their building’s roof and then down to the street for an impromptu block party. Rocco illuminates details and characters with a playful use of light and shadow in his cartoon-style illustrations. He delivers a terrific camaraderie-filled adventure that continues even when the electricity returns.
"Grandpa Green," written and illustrated by Lane Smith and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership. Elaborate topiary sculptures give visual form to memories in a wildly fanciful garden tended by a child and his beloved great-grandfather. Using an inspired palate, Lane Smith invites readers to tour a green lifetime of meaningful moments.
“Me . . . Jane,” written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Watching the birds and squirrels in her yard, a young girl discovers the joy and wonder of nature. In delicate and precise India ink and watercolor, McDonnell depicts the awakening of a scientific spirit. A perceptive glimpse of the childhood of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.
Members of the 2012 Newbery Medal Selection Committee are: Chair Viki Ash, San Antonio Public Library; Laura Amos, Norfolk (Va.) Collegiate School; Timothy D. Capehart, Dayton Metro Library (Ohio); Mary Clark, Greenwich (Conn.) Country Day School; Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York; Naphtali Faris, Missouri State Library, Jefferson City; Peter Howard, Louisville (Ky.) Free Public Library; Andy Howe, Simms Library, Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy; Maeve Visser Knoth, San Mateo (Calif.) County Library; Angelique Kopa, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, Md.; Renee C. McGrath, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, N.Y.; Mary Michell, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library; Andrea R. Milano, Multnomah County Library, Hollywood Branch; Portland, Ore.; Lynn M. Rutan; Holland, Mich.; and Amanda J. Williams, Austin (Texas) Public Library.
Members of the 2012 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee are: Chair Steven L. Herb, Pennsylvania State University, Paterno Library, University Park; Pabby Arnold, East Baton Rouge (La.) Parish Library; Christine D. Caputo, Free Library of Philadelphia; Tony A. Carmack, Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library; Peg W. Ciszek, Northbrook (Ill.) Public Library; Patricia A. Clingman, Dayton Metro Library, Kettering, Ohio; Betsy Crone, Guilford County Schools, Greensboro, N.C.; Ellen G. Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Michele Farley, Indianapolis, Indiana; Cathryn M. Mercier, Simmons College, Boston; John E. Peters, Bronx, N.Y.; Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library; April Roy, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; Allison Santos, Princeton (N.J.) Public Library; and Luann Toth, School Library Journal, New York.
ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their Web site at www.ala.org/alsc.
For information on the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.