It's a dreary, cold morning in Chicago, but I'm sure there are a few celebrations going on today, as the American Library Association announces the winners of its annual youth literature awards!
Jack Gantos won the Newbery Award for his novel, Dead End in Norvelt. The Caldecott Medal for best children's illustrated book went to A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. And the Printz Award, recognizing Young Adult literature, was awarded to John Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back.
I'm embarrassed to say I haven't even heard of Where Things Come Back, even though I'm making a concerted effort to read more contemporary YA. I'm a little surprised the award didn't go to one of the bigger-name books this year (Chime, A Monster Calls, Life: An Exploded Diagram, etc), but I always find it exciting when awards spotlight under-the-radar books (or maybe this one was just not on my radar).
I remember in elementary school, we always highly anticipated the Newbery Award, and our librarians would have big award events on the winning book. The first book that I remember people really went nuts about was Louis Sachar's Holes (which will tell you how much of a youngun I really am). But I have fond memories of Walk Two Moons, The Midwife's Apprentice, Out of the Dust...
In honor of today's winners, here's the writing space of one of my favorite Newbery authors, Lois Lowry, whose books The Giver and Number the Stars have left their fingerprints all over my writing:
For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps, it was only an echo.