The Geisel? The what? You know, the Theodor Seuss Geisel award for beginning readers. Particularly important this year because it goes to There’s a Bird on Your Head, by Mo Willems. Didn’t I say that was my favorite of the Elephant and Piggie books? Oh, yes I did. Go Mo!
The Caldecott Honor Awards go to Henry’s Freedom Box, illustrated by Kadir Nelson; First the Egg, written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; The Wall, written and illustrated by Peter Sis; and... OMG, Knuffle Bunny Too, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on that listing. No gold or silver for Let It Shine, but it did win the Coretta Scott King illustrator award, so maybe that will do. (Not really, but whatcha gonna do?)
But the surprise winner of the Caldecott, the award selection that will have everyone talking is... The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. The cheers and applause were truly notable during the announcement of a book that everyone assumed would be shut out by being neither here nor there in terms of award categories. I know someone who will be pretty happy. I’m ecstatic. It truly deserved to win.
Now the Newbery Honor Awards have some familiar titles, namely Elijiah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis; The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt; and Feathers, by Jacqueline Woodson. The winner has not been a very big book outside the kidlitosphere, but it’s still a surprise to me (though not to Fuse#8, who totally predicted the whole list), Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village, by Laura Amy Schlitz and Robert Byrd.
Shut out from the awards was the much-praised The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, but I can guess that it was too mature for the Newbery and too young for the Printz. In any case, it did win the National Book Award. There’s better balance in the Newbery shortlist than last year’s list, which was all Girls In Trouble.
A complete list of all of the ALA awards is available here. Reactions, anyone?