Matt de la Peña, Sophie Blackall win Newbery, Caldecott Medals

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/11/2016


Macey Morales
Deputy Director
Public Awareness Office
American Library Association
312 280 4393

BOSTON - Matt de la Peña, author of “Last Stop on Market Street,” and Sophie Blackall, illustrator of “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” are the 2016 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious awards in children’s literature.

Matt de la Peña and Sophie Blackall were among the award winners announced Jan. 11, by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Boston, Jan. 8 – 12. The Newbery and Caldecott Medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.

The 2016 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature went to Matt de la Peña for “Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson and published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature and people surround him.  CJ’s questions are familiar, and Nana answers him with gentle wisdom.  Right up until their arrival at the last stop on Market Street, Nana guides CJ to become “a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

“Read it aloud to someone. The use of language to elicit questions, to spark imagination and to make us laugh is at its best when spoken,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Ernie J. Cox.

New York Times bestselling author Matt de la Peña earned an MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. He currently lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with his family.

The 2016 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book was awarded to Sophie Blackall for “Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” written by Lindsay Mattick and published by Little, Brown and Company, an division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

“Finding Winnie” is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. Blackall beautifully interprets this multi-dimensional family story through her distinctive Chinese ink and watercolor art, capturing intimate and historical details perfect for a child’s eye.

 “Children will be enchanted by Winnie’s journey from the forests of Canada to the pages of the Hundred Acre Wood. Blackall offers a tour-de-force of visual storytelling,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Rachel G. Payne.

Blackall is an Australian-born illustrator based in New York. Saying she first learned to draw in the sand with a stick at the beach, Blackall has illustrated over thirty books. A keen observer of human and animal behavior, Blackall’s illustrations illuminate moments and emotions in fine detail.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named:

“The War that Saved my Life” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC. Bradley’s powerful plot, remarkably drawn characters and sparse language are outstanding components of this novel about courage, community and conviction.

“Roller Girl” written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC. Astrid falls in love with roller derby and learns how to be tougher, stronger and fearless. Jamieson perfectly captures the highs and lows of growing up in this dynamic graphic novel.

“Echo” by Pam Muñoz Ryan and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. Four stories, one harmonica. This original fairytale intertwines with historical fiction to explore music and its power to save, heal and set free.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were named:

“Trombone Shorty,” pictures by Bryan Collier and words by Troy Andrews and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

In this autobiography, Trombone Shorty reminisces about his early life in the jazz music scene of his beloved hometown of New Orleans. Through Collier’s paintings and collage illustrations, the story’s authentic, heartfelt tone is masterfully realized. “Waiting,” illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

 “Waiting” delivers an intimate story of five figurines, each anticipating the wonder of everyday moments. Using rich brown lines and a soft pastel palette, Henkes invites young readers to slow down and explore a range of emotions in a world on a windowsill.

“Voice of Freedom:  Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Candlewick Press.

In this biography in verse, Ekua Holmes’ illustrations provide children with an intensely visual encounter with Civil Rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer. The repetition of colors and motifs within the richly layered collage create complex images that capture Hamer’s power and bravery.

“Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Peña, published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

Readers are transported, along with a young boy and his grandmother, on a journey through the city. Robinson’s illustrations, a colorful mix of acrylic paint and collage, feel both vintage and fresh. The diversity, vibrancy, and beauty of the urban setting are celebrated as CJ and Nana share meaningful moments together.

Members of the 2016 Newbery Medal Selection Committee are: Chair Ernie J. Cox, Prairie Creek Intermediate School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Eric Barbus, San Francisco Public Library; Shawn S. Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, Wis.; Allie Jane Bruce, Bank Street College of Education, New York; Ty R. Burns, University of Houston Clear Lake, Texas; Amber Emery, Fargo (N.D.) Public Library; Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.; Cheryl Lee, Santa Clara City (Calif.) Library; Karen R. Lemmons, Detroit School of Arts; Penny S. Markey, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; Christine E. Scheper, Queens (N.Y.) Library; Mary Schreiber, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio; John P. Scott, Friends School of Baltimore; Destinee Sutton, King County (Wash.) Library System; and Joanna Ward, County of Los Angeles Public Library.

Members of the 2016 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee are: Chair Rachel G. Payne, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Lauren Anduri, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Alan R. Bailey, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.; Jill Bellomy, Highland Park Middle School, Dallas; Sharon Deeds, Utah State Library, Salt Lake City; Brian Fahey, West Chester (Pa.) Friends School; Laura A. Given, Parkview Center School, Roseville, Minn.; Celia W. Jackson, Oakland (Calif.) Public Library; Elise R. Katz, Wayland (Mass.) Free Public Library; Karen A. MacPherson, Takoma Park Maryland Library; Nicole Powell, Sacramento (Calif.) Public Library; Tess Prendergast, British Columbia, Canada; Jennifer Ralston, Harford County (Md.) Public Library; Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison; and Sarah Bean Thompson, Springfield-Greene County (Mo.) Library.

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

For information on the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit