105 Ways to Give a Book

Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Schneider

I know. It’s way past time to cover these ALA Awards, but I’m kind of doing it more for me than for you. So... there. I’ve decided not to cover the Young Adult awards because I haven’t read enough in YA this year to form any thoughtful opinions on the awards.

Let’s start with — on a most appropriate day — the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, recognizing an African American author/illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults. The Author winner came as no surprise to anyone paying attention in children’s literature for the last year: One Crazy Summer, written by Rita Williams-Garcia, is well-deserving of the award. Three King Author Honor Books were selected: Lockdown, by Walter Dean Myers (haven’t read it, but will), Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhodes (read it, liked it), and Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty, written by G. Neri (haven’t read it, probably won’t).

The Coretta Scott King Illustrator Book Award went to Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave, illustrated by Bryan Collier — apparently the best book you’ve never read. One King Illustrator Honor Book was selected: Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. I’m sorry, but I haven’t seen this either. I wish Ruth and the Green Book had made one of these two lists. A missed opportunity to expose kids to a different topic in the Civil Rights period — that of the African American motorist. (Read the book.)

The Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award went to Zora and Me, written by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, and the Illustrator Award went to Seeds of Change, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler, written by Jen Cullerton Johnson. Haven’t read the first, liked the second.

The Pura Belpré Author Award honors a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience. The winner was The Dreamer, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan. The three honor books were ¡Olé! Flamenco, written and illustrated by George Ancona, The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette’s Journey to Cuba, written by Margarita Engle, and 90 Miles to Havana, written by Enrique Flores-Galbis. I’ve read none of these. Sorry.

I had better luck with the Pura Belpré Illustrator Awards. While I have not seen the winner, Grandma’s Gift, illustrated and written by Eric Velasquez, I have read all three of the honor books. They are Fiesta Babies, illustrated by Amy Córdova, written by Carmen Tafolla; Me, Frida, illustrated by David Diaz, written by Amy Novesky; and Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh. I didn’t particularly like the illustrations of Fiesta Babies or Dear Primo, but Me, Frida is gorgeous.

The Schneider Family Book Award is given for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience. The Pirate of Kindergarten, written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Lynne Avril, wins the award for children ages 0 to 10. After Ever After, written by Jordan Sonnenblick, is the winner of the middle-school (ages 11–13) award, and the teen (ages 13–18) award winner is Five Flavors of Dumb, written by Antony John. I like how this category is divided by age group. I’ve read and like the first two, and plan to read the teen title.

So, that wraps it up for me for another year. I have a lot of catching up to do on the award reading, because I didn’t get to many of the books selected this year. Better luck for 2011.

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Peaceful Reader said...

The Pirate of Kindergarten, One Crazy Summer and Ninth Ward were wonderful! I love it when books win that I'm already proud to have read. Even though the awards have passed it is fun to read others' views.

The Pen and Ink Blogspot said...

I think I'll break my rule of never reading award winners and check out The Pirates of Kindergarten. Thanks for the roundup. I wonder, is their any award where actual kids readers do the selecting?

Beth said...

There are lots of kids choice awards -- here the libraries help the kids nominate (I think) and vote in the Washington Children's Choice Picture Book.

This isn't too late to discuss the award. At least I hope not. I'm not even going to look hard at them until after the Cybils are announced.

megwrites said...

The Dreamer is fantastic. I highly recommend it!