Congratulations to Award Winners!

by Laura Crockett
Scribbles & Wanderlust

This weekend, Philadelphia hosted the ALA Midwinter meetings and exhibits, where the winners for the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz awards were announced.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually to the artist of the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” Many times the artwork is simple, conveying the story through the whitespace; today’s winner is one of detail, emotion, and pure storytelling through the artist’s historical accuracy. Brian Floca’s Locomotive won the Caldecott, with three other Honors books: Aaron Becker’s Journey, Molly Idle’s Flora and the Flamingo, and David Wiesner’s Mr. Wuffles!.

The Newbery Medal is awarded annually to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” So many beloved classics are Newbery winners, and Kate DiCamillo’s won yet another (her first the adorable The Tale of Despereaux) with Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Four other Honors included Holly Black’s Doll Bones, Kevin Henkes’s The Year of Billy Miller, Amy Timberlake’s One Came Home, and Vince Vawter’s Paperboy

The Printz Award is awarded annually to the author of the best book for teens based on its literary merit. This year’s winner is Marcus Sedgwick for Midwinterblood, an excellent blend of the strongest YA themes and subgenres today: fantasy, history, paranormal, horror, beauty, love, and preservation. Four other Honors were awarded to the stunning Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, Susann Cokal’s Kingdom of Little Wounds, Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon, and Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early.

To see more information, including the other awards and honors presented today, hop on over to Publishers Weekly’s announcement. Feel free to follow the #alamw14 and #alayma hashtags on Twitter to see the reactions, links to other news sources, celebrations, and book reviews!

Reflections from the SCBWI Winter Conference


I spent last weekend in New York City at the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Winter Conference. There were 999 attendees from some 17 countries and 45 states. Meg Rosoff opened the conference telling the 999 attendees that she is tired of the question, “When are you going to write a real book?”  – yes, that questions – the one that seems to pop up rather frequently for those who write for children and young adults – as if writing picture books or YA novels is somehow easier than writing a mainstream novel targeted at an adult audience. But Rosoff points out that this isn’t just a perception issue. She argued that children’s and YA writers often make excuses for the fact they are not writing for adult audiences.

She then reminded the audience that books have the power to change kids’ lives. Books like A Wrinkle in Time, Winnie the Pooh, The Hobbit, The Phantom Tollbooth, or The Giver have and will change the lives of children for years to come.  What book changed your life?

There were so many other great speakers: Shaun Tan, Tomie dePaola, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and Mo Williams, plus all of the breakout faculty representing the big six and many other top publishing houses, but final speakers of the conference were Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. They spoke about their collaborative writing process: how they trust one another, value each other’s opinion and thought processes, and how they enjoy it. But they also talked about the responsibility in writing for children. Julie Andrews said, “You can’t get it wrong.”

Books help kids navigate the murky and often rough waters of adolescence. So I ask again – what book changed your life?

Anne Converse Willkomm