With the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and the Oscars all in a row, it’s easy to let your kids gorge themselves on movies and television shows and forget about kids’ books.
This week, though, the rough equivalent of the children’s/young-adult book Oscars happened at a convention in Seattle: the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. There were no Alexander McQueen fashions; just people who get really, really excited about these things in the best kind of nerdy way.
The Association’s two biggest awards — the John Newbery Medal (most outstanding contribution to children’s literature) and the Randolph Caldecott Medal (most distinguished American picture book for children) — sadly didn’t go to anyone in this area. (Still, Newbury Award-winner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Caldecott Award-winner This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen, are great additions to any bookshelf.)
Thankfully, honorable mentions were awarded to some familiar locals.
Coretta Scott King Book Award (recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults):
This one’s a family affair. This year’s Coretta Scott King award went to Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, illustrated by Brian Pinkney and written by his wife, Andrea Davis Pinkney. Andrea Davis Pinkney was also given the honor of delivering the 2014 Arbuthnot Lecture. The talent in the family doesn’t stop there: The Hudson River Museum just finished up an exhibition celebrating the art of illustrator Jerry Pinkney, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson with his wife and award-winning children’s author, Gloria Jean Pinkney — Brian Pinkney’s parents. Brian and Andrea currently live in Brooklyn, but we’re sure there are some family dinners up in Northern Westchester.
A couple of other authors who don’t live here anymore (but still have a connection to the area) were recognized:
Caldecott Honor Book:
Writer/illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger won an honor for Green. While she lives in Long Island, she learned some of her artistic skills at Purchase College.
Alex Award (given to the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences):
Carol Rifka Brunt, who won an Alex award for Tell the Wolves I’m Home, grew up in Pleasantville. Here’s her description of living in the area, according to her Web site: “Leafy suburbs… Had jobs like childrens’ party entertainer and bagel shop server and summer camp counselor. This worked out okay until I decided to go all gothy and people didn’t want to hire me anymore.”
YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award; Robert F. Sibert Medal (informational books); Newbery Honor Award:
Finally, we have Steve Sheinkin. His name was all over the ALA YMA broadcast (winning the three awards above) for his book Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. According to his Web site, he lives in the “suburbs north of New York City.” Turns out, that means Saratoga Springs, which is a little too north of New York City to be officially in our coverage area, but we’ll take it.