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For Immediate Release

June 19, 2008

ALA honors Newbery, Caldecott winners at Annual Conference

CHICAGO­­­ — The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), will honor the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott medals for outstanding writing and illustration in children’s literature from 6-11 p.m. on Sunday, June 29, in the Anaheim Hilton, Pacific Ballroom, at the gala Newbery-Caldecott Banquet to be attended by nearly 1,100 librarians, reviewers, publishers and fans of children’s literature. The event is part of the ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, June 26 – July 2.

Author Laura Amy Schlitz, winner of the John Newbery Medal for outstanding writing for “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” and illustrator Brian Selznick, winner of Randolph Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustration for “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” will receive their medals and deliver their acceptance speeches during the Banquet. The Newbery and Caldecott honor book recipients will receive certificates.

Each year, ALSC announces the Newbery and Caldecott medal and honor books, the most prestigious awards in children's literature, as part of the Youth Media Awards press conference at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year. The honor books chosen are also truly distinguished titles.

Schlitz is a professional storyteller, playwright, novelist and a librarian at the Park School in Baltimore. In “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village,” published by Candlewick, she brings 13th-century England to life with 21 dramatic narratives.

Selznick, who splits time between Brooklyn and San Diego, received the Caldecott medal for “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic. The book tells the story of Hugo, a young orphan secretly living in the walls of a train station, where he works on completing a mysterious invention left by his father. The tale’s black-and-white pencil illustrations, beginning with the image of the full moon setting over an awakening Paris in 1931, evoke the flickering images of silent films.

The Newbery honor book recipients receiving certificates at the Banquet include: Christopher Paul Curtis, author of “Elijah of Buxton,” published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic; Gary D. Schmidt, author of “The Wednesday Wars,” published by Clarion; and Jacqueline Woodson, author of “Feathers,” published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

The Caldecott honor book recipients receiving certificates at the Banquet are: Kadir Nelson, illustrator of “Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad,” written by Ellen Levine and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic; Laura Vaccaro Seeger, illustrator and author of “First the Egg,” published by Roaring Brook/Neal Porter; Peter Sís, illustrator and author of “The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain,” published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Frances Foster; and Mo Willems, illustrator and author of “Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity,” published by Hyperion.

Tickets are $89 and will be available at the onsite registration counter until the event is sold out, or noon Friday, whichever occurs first. Doors open at 6:45 p.m., and cocktails (cash bar) will be available prior to dinner at 6 p.m.. Tickets will not be sold at the door, but those without tickets will be admitted at no charge following the meal service, in order to hear the speeches. A receiving line following the Banquet offers an opportunity to meet the winners in person.

The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world, holds its Annual Conference each June. The largest such convention in the world is attended by more than 18,000 librarians, educators, writers, publishers, Friends of Libraries, trustees and special guests. The conference includes more than 2,300 meetings, discussion groups, and programs on various topics affecting libraries and librarians as well as tours and special events. Topics include libraries and technology, censorship and literacy.