Geisel Award, which goes to Bink and Gollie — written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile — with two honor books named: Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin, and We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems. These were the only titles I heard tossed around for this award, so that all three should get distinction is no big surprise. What does seem odd to me, though, is giving the “Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book” to a title that isn’t a beginning reader book. I kinda thought that there were very specific criteria for what makes a beginning reader book, and I didn’t think this winner was it. But whatever.
Andrew Carnegie Medal is given for excellence in children’s video, and is often jokingly called the Weston Woods Award, as this seems to be the only group making videos of children’s books, thus narrowing the field significantly. (In fact, I think I may have just discovered a new career.) In any case, the honor went to Paul R. Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard of Weston Woods, for The Curious Garden. I liked the book quite well, and it was a Cybils finalist last year. As for the video, what up with the British narrator? Like an American isn’t good enough for you? And wasn’t the garden inspired by the elevated New York City gardens? If you needed a distinct accent, perhaps you should have headed to Brooklyn instead of across the pond.
Robert F. Sibert Medal for most distinguished informational book for children. (Thank you — thank you very much.) Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, written by Sy Montgomery, featuring photographs by Nic Bishop, is the 2011 Sibert Award winner. Two Sibert Honor Books were named: Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, illustrated by Brian Floca, and Lafayette and the American Revolution, written by Russell Freedman. I’ve heard wonderful things about the first two books, and I have been loving Nic Bishop’s photography and Brian Floca’s artwork for years, so I’m happy for the acknowledgment for them both. Can’t say much about the third title, but I’m sure it is among the most interesting books written about the American Revolution.
Odyssey Award, because I’m personally unable to listen to audio books without mentally drifting off. But I was excited by the surprise winner — and I mean a surprise to the winner himself, who had no idea his book was even being considered — The True Meaning of Smekday. The book is written by Adam Rex and narrated by Bahni Turpin. One of my favorite books, and I’m glad to see it get some notice in any format.
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