Friday, July 24, 2009

As promised -- here is your Horn Book arrival notification.

The "all awards, all the time" edition of The Horn Book Magazine came in this week! As you may have noticed, I'm most excited about Neil Gaiman's Newbery acceptance speech and the accompanying bio by his editor Elise Howard. But there's just so much ALA award goodness jam-packed into this issue, starting with the cover featuring new art by Caldecott-winning illustrator Beth Krommes, it's hard to stop reading.

Naturally, there are acceptance speeches by Gaiman, Krommes, Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal winner Ashley Bryan, Coretta Scott King Author Award winner (and CG beloved illustrator) Kadir Nelson, and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Floyd Cooper. (Psst... check out this poem about Neil and Ashley: "Storytellers."

There are also articles on the awards, their strengths, and their weaknesses: Boston Globe-Horn Book Award judge Jonathan Hunt provides a "Printz Retrospective" and author Nikki Grimes "Speak[s] Out." Grimes argues that deserving African American illustrators are reguarly passed over for the prestigious Caldecott, especially when there's buzz that they may win the African American-specific Coretta Scott King award. She writes, "Wouldn't it be wonderful for our first black president to be able to invite the first black Caldecott medalist to the White House?" I'm continuing to root for Kadir Nelson -- his spectacular Obama celebration Change Has Come would be an especially fitting first African American Caldecott winner. Given the current maelstrom of race relations, it's a crucial time to consider how race plays out in children's books and the awards they win (and more importantly, don't win).

There's silliness, as well ; the "Mind the Gap" awards honor overlooked books (and categories) from "best use of fewest colors" to "best use of lots of colors" and "scariest ghost" to "scariest goat." You'll have to read it yourself to find out who won what, though! (Check out this issue on the web or come into CG and buy it from your neighborhood geeky Horn Book fan -- your choice.)

And, as always, there are thoughtful reviews of the best new books for kids and YAs. I'm off to read it myself!

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