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The 2012 Newbery and Caldecott Medals, the most prestigious prizes in children’s literature were awarded today by the American Library Association. The ALA also awarded the Printz Award for Young Adult literature and seventeen other prizes for children’s and young adult literature. First awarded in 1922, the Newbery is the world’s oldest honor for children’s literature.
Unlike prizes for adult books, the children’s literature awards often provide a significant sales bump. Moon over Manifest, which won the 2011 Newbery Prize, jumped from no. 49,676 to no. 17 on Amazon after the announcement. This year’s winner jumped from no. 36,347 to no. 192 in two hours.
Dead End in Norvelt (Farrar, Strauss & GIroux) by Jack Gantos won the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. Dead End is the semi-autobiographical tale of a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for summer vacation are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his parents. But summer takes an unusual turn when Jack starts helping an elderly neighbor type up the obituaries of the people who founded Norvelt as a utopian experiment during the Great Depression. Jack learns the history of his strange and wonderful hometown and stumbles on a possible murder. The judges praised this “achingly funny romp” for teaching a love of reading and history.
Runner-up honors went to Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai (HarperCollins) and Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin (Henry Holt).
Chris Raschka won the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal for A Ball for Daisy (Random House), a picture-only book about a dog whose favorite toy–a red ball–is destroyed by a poodle. The judges called it “a buoyant tale of loss, recovery and friendship” with “brilliant economy of line and color.”
The runner ups named Caldecott Honor Books were Blackout by John Rocco (Disney), Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press) and Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown).
John Corey Whaley won the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award for Where Things Come Back (Simon & Schuster)… Things tells the story of Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, when he becomes obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker at the same time his gifted fifteen-year-old brother Gabriel disappears.
Four books were given Printz Honors as runner-ups: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (Little, Brown); The Returning by Christine Hinwood (Dial); Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (Knopf); and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic Press).
The ALA awards more than a dozen children’s literature prizes at its winter meeting, including the Coretta Scott King Award for African-American Literature, the Stonewall Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award for gay, lesbian, and transgender books, and Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for beginning readers. See the complete list of winners here.
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