Newbery, Caldecott & Printz Awards
On February second many people will be on pins and needles waiting to hear if the groundhog has seen his shadow. This year, librarians and children's book lovers everywhere will be on pins and needles waiting to hear who won the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz medals for the best books of the year for young people, announced at the American Library Association's mid-winter conference.
It is my professional dream to serve on the Newbery committee and maybe one day I'll get there. In the meantime I spend my year speculating which books will win and rooting for my favorites. It is important to note that my favorite books of the year rarely win. I tend to lean towards readable books that young people would enjoy. The committees select what they feel is the best book, regardless of popularity or interest level. I can count on my fingers how many of my favorites have won. I correctly predicted Holes, Tale of Desperaux, Dead End in Norvelt, When you Reach Me, and The Graveyard Book. After over twenty years in the business, that's it. My track record for the Caldecott is even more dismal. It might even be said that an award prediction by Kate Nafz jinxes a book's chances (Sorry, Ms. Palacio). Nevertheless, I keep reading like mad, predicting, and tuning in on announcement day. Here are this year's predictions:
Newbery Award (best written work for children) Prediction:
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Mystery, historical fiction, contemporary realism all under the backdrop of New York City (my favorite place) and all about art. Plus a likable protagonist. This book has a little bit of everything good.
Newbery Honor Predictions:
This is, in my humble opinion, the amazing Civil Rights trifecta (in no particular order):
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Because They Marched by Russell Freedman
Revolution by Debbie Wiles
Printz Award (best book for teens) Prediction:
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Amazingly written sneak peak into the minds of two twin artists. The plot moves and twists with a family mystery eventually solved. Nelson is my new favorite author.
If pressed to pick an honor book this year I would go with The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming; an impeccably researched and written account of the Russian Revolution.
Caldecott Award (best illustrated work for children) Prediction:
Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
A sweet, wordless picture book showcasing the amazing talent of Frazee.
Caldecott Honor Predictions (in no particular order):
Draw by Raul Colon
Quest by Aaron Becker
Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato