The Children’s Lit Awards: Redefining Perceptions

I woke up Monday to the annual awards for Children’s literature. I won’t post the full list, that’s why the good designers gave us hyperlinks. But I found this year’s selections very interesting–at the very least for Newbery and the Caldecott the judges apparently decided to turn everything on our heads this morning…

Newbery:
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

I’d never heard of this book and a part of me is hoping it came out early in the year before I was actually working as a children’s librarian. Fortunately, I don’t think I’m the only one for whom it was a surprise. A set of historical monologues..giving voice to 23 characters from a medieval village…it sounds like something I could have used when I was in high school and trying to help the Incredibly-Patient-Mother get junior high students through after school drama. I have a copy on the way to me from another library (we didn’t own it, oops) and I’ll sit down and read through it pronto. I’ll have to–I’m sure there are about to be a ton of holds on it.

Caldecott:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Wow! Congratulations to Selznick! Not only for an amazing book but I think he just redefined “children’s picture book.” For anyone not on PubLib, I just stuck my neck out in defense of the award and am waiting to see if I get flamed for it. While not a “traditional” picture book–it is not a book that works without its pictures and it is a children’s book. Yes, they’ve made an audiobook of it but I can’t imagine even the best narrator being able to render the tiny details that make Selznick’s illustrations so incredible. Interestingly, popular children’s lit blogger and NYPL librarian Elizabeth Bird said this one shoud but won’t win at SLJ. A ‘should’– did!

Nice to see things shaken up a little!