For immediate release | January 22, 2024

Dave Eggers, Vashti Harrison win Newbery, Caldecott Medals

BALTIMORE — Dave Eggers, author of “The Eyes and the Impossible” and Vashti Harrison, illustrator of “Big,” are the 2024 recipients of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious awards in children’s literature.

Eggers and Harrison were among the award winners announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held Jan. 19–22 in Baltimore. The Newbery and Caldecott Medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.The 2024 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature went to Eggers for “The Eyes and the Impossible,” illustrated by Shawn Harris and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House and McSweeney’s.

“The Eyes and the Impossible” explores themes of freedom, friendship and beauty. Johannes, a free dog with a remarkable voice, is the ever-watching Eyes of the park. With sudden changes on the horizon, Johannes and his friends, an eclectic community of animals, must work to maintain the Equilibrium.

“Eggers puts us inside the mind of Johannes, a free-spirited canine. ‘The Eyes and the Impossible’ is a captivating read that is full of joy,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Amber Creger.

Eggers, a Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house in San Francisco, and cofounder of 826 National, a network of educational centers offering free tutoring to kids of all backgrounds.

The 2024 Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished picture book is awarded to Vashti Harrison for “Big,” written by the illustrator and published by Little, Brown and Co., a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.

"Big" follows a child's quest for self-love, emphasizing the profound impact of words on one's journey. The book explores standing out and feeling invisible. Pinks and grays symbolize the emotional landscape of bigness in a world that values smallness. "Big" is an exploration of individuality, self-acceptance and resilience.

“Harrison’s use of color and space throughout the book masterfully conveys emotion as a young girl struggles to free herself from the confines of damaging words,” said Caldecott Medal Committee Chair Kathie Meizner.

“Big” is Harrison’s author-illustrator debut. She is a two-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work for Children, and is a winner of the 2020 Illustrator Honor for the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Harrison lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Five Newbery Honor Books were named:

“Eagle Drums,” by Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson, illustrated by the author and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing.

This is a mythological survival story that immerses readers in the rich tapestry of Alaskan Iñupiaq life. In rhythmic language, Hopson recounts the origin of the first Messenger Feast, emphasizing the importance of community, family and tradition.

“Elf Dog and Owl Head,” by M. T. Anderson, illustrated by Junyi Wu and published by Candlewick Press.

Masterful world-building is the heart of this innovative, compact fantasy about a boy and a magical dog. Infused with the claustrophobia of the pandemic, this humorous, wondrous adventure is an exploration of friendship and being alive. A tender and timeless coming-of-age story for all.

“Mexikid: a Graphic Memoir,” by Pedro Martín, illustrated by the author and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Martín’s graphic memoir recounts his family’s epic journey to Mexico to retrieve his grandfather. This memorable, laugh-out-loud adventure, which celebrates family and Mexican American heritage, will appeal to the young and the young at heart.

“Simon Sort of Says,” by Erin Bow and published by Disney-Hyperion, an imprint of Buena Vista Books Inc.

Simon O’Keefe struggles toward a new normal as he deals with the aftermath of a horrific trauma. Integrating humor and pathos, Bow deftly explores tough subjects such as the rawness of PTSD, the finality of death, unrelenting 24-hour news, and the redemptive power of friendship.

“The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams,” by Daniel Nayeri, illustrated by Daniel Miyares and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.

A thrilling adventure along the historical Silk Road brings together an unlikely pair—Samir, a sneaky salesman, and 12-year-old Monkey, a former monk. This gripping tale is about a chosen family, truth, loyalty, and betrayal.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were named:

“In Every Life,” illustrated and written by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

Luminous paintings present a multitude of small stories that expertly capture the diversity of human experience and the beauty of nature.

“Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter,” illustrated by Molly Mendoza, written by Aida Salazar and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

In a time when women were expected to stay home and sit still, Jovita Valdovinos refused, joining the fight for freedom in Mexico’s Cristero Revolution. Dynamic, bold sumi ink illustrations use vibrant color and sweeping lines to dramatically depict emotion and movement in this powerful, inspiring story.

“There Was a Party for Langston,” illustrated by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey, written by Jason Reynolds and published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

Words dance in celebration of Black joy as words leap and soar in an inspiring, colorful tribute to word makers Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou and Amiri Baraka.

“The Truth About Dragons,” illustrated by Hanna Cha, written by Julie Leung and published by Henry Holt and Co., an imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group.

A child embarks on a stunning quest into two very different forests. Cha deftly illustrates Western European and East Asian journeys, revealing through distinct yet harmonious styles, two kinds of dragons, and two perceptions of truth, warmly encouraging the child to embrace both paths.

Members of the 2024 Newbery Medal Selection Committee are Chair Amber Creger, Schaumburg Township District Library, Illinois; Lucia Acosta, Princeton, New Jersey; Armin Arethna, Berkeley Public Library, California; Katie Bruechert, Thoreau Middle School, Lake Vienna, Virginia; Tammiika Frowner, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina; Laura Gardner, Dartmouth, Massachusetts; Katy Hepner, New Orleans Public Library; Rebecca M. King, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Illinois; Linda M. Klein, Tucson, Arizona; Jennifer Knight, Coos Bay Public Library, Oregon; Benjamin Martin, Tuscaloosa Academy, Alabama; Elizabeth D. Rosania, St. Mark’s Elementary School, Boise, Idaho; Gretchen Schulz, Aurora Public Library District, Illinois; Caitlin Tormey, Sacramento Public Library, California; Eva Volin, Alameda Free Library, California; and Sara L. Kelley, Dallas Public Library (award administrative assistant).

Members of the 2024 Caldecott Medal Selection Committee are Chair Kathie Meizner, Edgewater, Maryland; Maria Paz Alegre, Allen-Stevenson School, New York; Amanda Bressler, Oregon State University, Corvallis; Rita A. Christensen, Salt Lake City Public Library; Lisa Dennis, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Eboni Dickerson, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Bedford, Ohio; Dr. Darryn Diuguid, McKendree University, Lebanon, Illinois; Andrea Erickson, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Silver Spring, Maryland; Abby Johnson, New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, Indiana; Kendra Jones, Timberland Regional Library, Olympia, Washington; Brooke E. Newberry, La Crosse Public Library, Wisconsin; Katie A. Paciga, Columbia College Chicago; Hannah Lee Park, American University, Washington, District of Columbia; Tara Phethean, Todd Elementary School, Briarcliff Manor, New York; Jade B. Valenzuela, Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Stephanie Saggione (award administrative assistant).

The Association for Library Service to Children 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 members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful future for all children. To learn more, visit

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

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