PHILADELPHIA — Kate DiCamillo, author of “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” and Brian Floca, illustrator of “Locomotive,” are the 2014 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious awards in children’s literature.
Kate DiCamillo and Brian Floca were among the award winners announced January 27, by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, Jan. 24 - 28. The Newbery and Caldecott Medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.
The 2014 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature went to Kate DiCamillo for “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” illustrated by K.G. Campbell and published by Candlewick Press. Comic book fan and natural-born cynic Flora Belle Buckman and Ulysses, a flying, superhero, poetry-writing squirrel, join forces to overcome Ulysses’ arch-nemesis, Flora’s mother and encounter a quirky cast of characters. Through poignant, laugh-out-loud episodes, this homage to comic books is a testament to the power of love.
“Our dedicated committee of 15 considered hundreds and hundreds of titles in our quest for the best books for children, and I am delighted with our selections,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Elizabeth C. Orsburn.
DiCamillo, a resident of Minneapolis, has previously received Newbery recognition for “The Tale of Despereaux,” the 2004 Medal winner, and “Because of Winn-Dixie,” a 2001 Honor Book. DiCamillo was recently named 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
The 2014 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book is awarded to Brian Floca for “Locomotive,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.
All aboard! Accompany a family on an unforgettable weeklong train trip from Omaha to Sacramento in 1869. Brian Floca’s dramatic watercolor, ink, acrylic and gouache illustrations incorporate meticulously-researched portraits of the train, the travelers and the crew as they traverse the American landscape on the new transcontinental railroad.
“The committee was impressed with Floca’s ability to creatively capture the immensity and inner workings of the early locomotive and combine it with a family’s adventurous journey west,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Marion Hanes Rutsch.
Author/illustrator Brian Floca grew up in Temple, Texas, graduated from Brown University, and received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. He won a Robert F. Sibert Honor award for “Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11” (Atheneum, 2009), “Lightship” (Atheneum, 2007), and “Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring” by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Flash Point/Roaring Brook, 2010). Floca lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Four Newbery Honor Books were named:
“Doll Bones” by Holly Black, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division. In this distinctive coming-of-age tale, best friends Zach, Poppy and Alice set out on a life-altering quest driven by the presence of a sinister bone china doll who haunts their dreams and waking hours. Black explores complex questions of storytelling, imagination and changing friendships in this superbly haunting narrative.
“The Year of Billy Miller” by Kevin Henkes, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Seven-year-old Billy Miller starts second grade with a bump on his head and a lot of worries, but during the year he develops better relationships with his teacher, his little sister, and his parents, and celebrates a quiet triumph of his own.
“One Came Home” by Amy Timberlake, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc. In 1871 Wisconsin, love, betrayal, grief and violence spur 13-year-old Georgie on a gripping adventure full of hardship, heartbreak and terror. As she tries to solve the mystery of her sister’s disappearance, Georgie and her brash, humorous voice pull readers along on her journey of self-discovery.
“Paperboy” by Vince Vawter, published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Little Man, a sensitive and resilient 11-year-old boy who stutters, ventures beyond the familiar and finds his voice while taking over his best friend’s paper route. Set in the summer heat of 1959 Memphis, “Paperboy” is a moving coming-of-age novel.
Three Caldecott Honor Books were named:
“Journey,” written and illustrated byAaron Becker, and published by Candlewick Press. Finding a magical red crayon, a bored and lonely girl draws a new door on her bedroom wall that leads her to a wondrous but perilous new world. Her drab, sepia-toned, humdrum reality gives way to sumptuous, lushly-hued watercolor and pen and ink landscapes.
“Flora and the Flamingo,” written and illustrated by Molly Idle, and published by Chronicle Books LLC. The budding relationship between an awkward young girl and a graceful flamingo is revealed through carefully orchestrated flaps. The minimalist setting, limited color palette, use of white space and page turns create a timeless and joyful visual experience. The call-and-response of this balletic duet is cinematic and comedic.
“Mr. Wuffles!” written and illustrated by David Wiesner, published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Mr. Wuffles finds a new toy that is actually a tiny spaceship in this nearly wordless science fiction tale of epic and miniature proportions. Crisp watercolor and India ink illustrations shine in an innovative graphic novel, picture book hybrid featuring hidden worlds, alien languages and one peeved cat.
Members of the 2014 Newbery Medal Selection Committee are: Chair - Elizabeth “Betsy” Orsburn, Drexel University, Philadelphia; Marilyn Ackerman, BookOps, Long Island City, N.Y.; Robert Bittner, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada; Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library; Andrea Erickson, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Laurel, Md.; Kathy Jarombek, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, Conn.; Laura M. Jenkins, Chicago Public Library Uptown Branch; Ada G. Kent, Worthington, Ohio; Amy E. Koester, St. Charles City-County Library District, Wentzville, Mo.; Debra Ann McLeod, Johnson City Community College, Overland Park, Kan.; Elizabeth A. Poe, Morgantown, W.Va.; Susan H. Polos, Bedford (N.Y.) Central School District; John Schumacher, Butler School District, Oak Brook, Ill.; Amy E. Sears, Teaneck (N.J.) Public Library; and Meg E. Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Hope Mills, N.C.
Members of the 2014 Caldecott Medal Committee are Chair Marion Hanes Rutsch, Chevy Chase, Md.; Deborah A. Burns, Chicago Public Library; Dr. Cora Phelps Dunkley, University of South Florida School of Information, Tampa, Fla.; Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library; Natasha J. Forrester, Multnomah County Library District, Portland, Ore.; Judy Freeman, Children’s Literature Consultant, Highland Park, N.J.; Rachel Fryd, Free Library of Philadelphia; Carl A. Harvey, II, North Elementary School, Noblesville, Ind.; Travis Jonker, Wayland Union Schools, Dorr, Mich.; Carla J. Kozak, San Francisco Public Library; Dennis J. LeLoup, Avon (Ind.) Intermediate Schools; Miriam Medow, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Leslie M. Molnar, Cleveland; Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson; and Blanche Woolls, Glendale, Calif.
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 website 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.