The 2011 Youth Media Awards

On Monday, January 10, the American Library Association announced its 2011 Youth Media Awards. For people involved with books for children this is like the Oscars.

This year the Randolph Caldecott Medal, awarded to the illustrator of the “most distinguished American picture book for children,” went to A Sick Day for Amos McGee illustrated by Erin E. Stead, written by Philip C. Stead.

Full of beautiful woodblock-printed illustrations, A Sick Day for Amos McGee tells the delightful story of a zookeeper and his animal friends. Stead’s use of color and white space is masterful, and she creates a warm, welcoming picture book, perfect for reading to children. For a discussion with Erin Stead about how she creates her woodblock illustrations, check out this interview she did with the blog Seven Impossible Things.

The committee also chose two Caldecott Honor books this year:  

The John Newbery Medal is awarded for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature. This year the winner is Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool. This novel about a Depression-era girl investigating a hidden past is Clare Vanderpool’s first book and was such a surprise win that many library systems were caught not owning a copy.  Don't worry, DC Public Library currently has plenty.

The committee also chose four Honor books this year:

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards, first presented in 1970 for authors, and 1974 for illustrators, “honor African-American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that communicate the African-American experience. The books--fiction or nonfiction--must have been published in the year prior to the award.”

The 2011 winner of the King Author award is One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. This book is a lyrical coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of 1968 Oakland, Calif., and the Black Panther movement. The story of 11-year-old Delphine, her two sisters and the mother that abandoned them introduces readers to a time and place in American history that many novels for children shy away from, and in doing so creates a fascinating and engrossing story about family and forgiveness.

Three Honor books were also selected this year:

The 2011 winner of the King Illustrator award is Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Laban Carrick Hill.

One Honor book was chosen this year:

The Michael L. Printz Award is given for excellence in literature written for young adults. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi is the 2011 Printz Award winner.

This year the committee also selected four Printz Honor Books:

In addition to these awards, the American Library Association (ALA) also handed out the Alex Awards, the Andrew Carnegie Medal, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Mildred L. Batchelder Award, the Odyssey Award, the Pura Belpré Awards, the Robert F. Sibert Medal, the Schneider Family Book Award, the Stonewall Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award and the William C. Morris Award.  Whew, that is a lot of awards and a lot of award-winning books for you to check out.

For brief descriptions of all the awards, check out The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards Fact Sheet.

ALA also provides a list of all the winners for 2011.