Author Louis Sachar wins 1999 Newbery Medal;Illustrator Mary Azarian wins Caldecott Medal

Contact: Paige Wasson


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

February 1999

Author Louis Sachar wins 1999 Newbery Medal;Illustrator Mary Azarian wins Caldecott Medal

Winners of the 1999 Newbery and Caldecott awards – the most prestigious awards in children's literature – are Louis Sachar, author of "Holes," and Mary Azarian, illustrator of "Snowflake Bentley."

The Newbery and Caldecott medals and other awards were announced February 1 at the American Library Association's 1999 Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia. Considered the "Academy Awards" of children's book publishing, the Newbery and Caldecott medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the U.S. during the previous year.

Sachar's "Holes," published by Frances Foster Books / Farrar Straus and Giroux, tells the story of Stanley Yelnats. The heir to his family's curse of bad luck, Stanley is convicted of a crime he didn't commit. He serves his sentence at Camp Green Lake, a dry, flat wasteland where the warden assigns each inmate the task of digging one deep hole every day. Hole by hole, Stanley and his friend Zero, dig their destiny.

Committee Chair Virginia McKee said, "'Holes' is masterfully unified in character, setting and theme. As timeless and as outrageously funny as a tall tale, 'Holes' ultimately charts the heroic journey of two very real boys."

"Snowflake Bentley," winner of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, was published by Houghton Mifflin Company. The book takes children back to the days when farmers worked with ox and sled and cut the dark with lantern light. It introduces Wilson Bentley, a boy who loved snow more than anything in the world and is determined that one day his camera would capture the extraordinary and unique beauty of snowflakes.

Committee Chair Barbara Barstow said, "'Snowflake Bentley' has a beautiful and thoughtful design, a poetic and informative text, distinguished illustrations, universal appeal and resonance. Mary Azarian, a Vermont artist who loves snow as much as Wilson Bentley, has created strong and skillfully carved woodcuts that portray sensible, sturdy characters and a timeless rural landscape."

One Newbery Honor Book was chosen. Richard Peck received the distinction for "A Long Way from Chicago," published by Dial Books for Young Readers.

The Caldecott Committee cited four Honor Book illustrators. They are: Brian Pinkney for "Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra," written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and published by Hyperion Books for Children; David Shannon for "No, David!" published by The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.; Uri Shulevitz for "Snow," published by Farrar Straus Giroux; and Peter Sís for "Tibet Through the Red Box," published by Frances Foster Books/Farrar Straus Giroux.

Members of the 1999 Newbery Committee were: McKee, chair, Providence (R.I.) Public Library; Betty Carter, Texas Woman's University, Coppell, Texas; Beryl D. Evans, Free Library of Philadelphia, NW Region Branch; Maralita L. Freeny, Prince George's Company Memorial Library, College Park, Md.; Marlene E. Gawron, Orange County Library Systems-Orlando Public Library, Winter Garden, Fla.; Melinda Greenblatt, Library Power-New Visions for Public Schools, Rockville Centre, N.Y.; Molly S. Kinney, Georgia Department of Technical & Adult Education-Office of Public Libraries, Atlanta; Yapha Mason, Brentwood School Library, Sherman Oaks, Calif.; Cathryn M. Mercier, Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature, Melrose, Mass.; Connie Pottle, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, Ohio; Elizabeth M. Simmons, Kirkwood Highway Library, Wilmington, Del.; Roger Sutton, The Horn Book, Inc., Boston; Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, Millersville, Penn.; Letitia A. Wilson, Dayton (Ohio), Mont. Co. Public Library; and Teresa M. Young, Eva Perry Regional Library, Raleigh, N.C.

Members of the 1999 Caldecott Committee were: Barstow, chair, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, Ohio; Alan Bern, Berkeley (Calif.) Public Library; Rudine Sims Bishop, Ohio State University, Columbus; Rosanne Cerny, Queens Borough Public Library, Kew Gardens Hills, N.Y.; Julie A. Corsaro, The Stony Point School, Richmond, Va.; Janice N. Harrington, Champaign (Ill.) Public Library; Barbara Immroth, University of Texas at Austin; Ronald A. Jobe, University of British Columbia Department of Language Education, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Alice R. Neve, Saint Paul (Minn.) Public Library; Rosalyn Pierini, Nipomo (Calif.) Branch Library; Leda Schubert, Vermont Department of Education, Plainfield; Susan C. Sponaas, Greenville (S.C.) County Library; Susan Stan, Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant; Cynthia Woodruss, Gilman Lower School Library, Baltimore.; and Deborah L. Wright, Belmont Elementary School,Woodbridge, Va.