The American Library Association (ALA) recently announced the winners of this year’s awards for books for young people. These are the Oscars for writers and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature, and the competition this year was fierce! Happily, all these award-winning books are available through the Ottawa Public Library. Starting with the younger readers, the Randolph Caldecott medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children was awarded to We Are Water Protectors, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade. Through text and illustrations, We Are Water Protectors portrays Indigenous peoples’ defense of access to water across North America. It is the first Caldecott medal winner to be both written and illustrated by two Indigenous people.
When You Trap A Tiger by Tae Keller was awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature (ages 8 to 13). It is the story of three generations of women in a Korean-American family, blending Korean folklore with a contemporary story of loss, coming of age, and the bond between family members.
Everything Sad Is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults (ages 13 and up). The book draws on Persian fables as well as the author’s experiences in a refugee camp and growing up Persian in Oklahoma to tell a unique tale of belonging.
February is Black History Month, and you can kick it off by reading Before the Ever After, winner of the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award. Told in verse, this middle-grade novel deals with a boy whose friends support him as his father, a professional football player, suffers from headaches, memory loss, and other problems after too many concussions. Picture book aficionados can check out R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Carole Boston Weatherford, winner of the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award.
To find out more about all the ALA award-winners, and the honourable mentions for each category, visit the ALA website. Happy Reading!