Jerry Pinkney, Valley author and winner of this year’s Caldecott Award. Photograph by Myles C. Pinkney
Big awards news this week, right? Oh no, I don’t mean the Golden Globes (I liked Avatar a whole bunch, but I still find something totally uninspiring about its big win). I’m talking about the American Library Association Youth Media Awards.
Chances are, unless you work in publishing, you didn’t follow the big announcements for the Caldecott, Newbery, and other awards. Lucky for you, you have our local bookstore owners, librarians, and (ahem) bloggers to remind you when they are decided. Hopefully, those reminders will be persistent — even if you don’t have kids, these books are often terrifically good reads.
You can find the complete list of winners here, and as I was reading it one thing immediately popped out at me: the winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal for picture books was The Lion and the Mouse, illustrated and written by Northern Westchester’s Jerry Pinkney. Kudos to him! I had the chance to interview Mr. Pinkney and his wife for an article in the September issue of our sister publication, Westchester Magazine about local children’s book authors and illustrators. I could’ve filled the whole article with just his quotes. Here’s something he told me at the time (that didn’t make it into the final article) about why he gravitated towards children’s books in the first place: “One of the things I find so fascinating is how in many ways children’s illustration doesn’t follow trends. In institutional or editorial or advertising art, you can see something and peg it to a period, there’s a certain look of a certain time. Children’s books aren’t like that.” If you look through the illustrations in The Lion and the Mouse, they certainly have that timeless, classic look to them.
Pinkney is also a walking, talking supporter of libraries, so it’s fitting that the ALA chose him to honor. When we were talking about finding inspiration and avoiding creative blocks, he said: “I tend to not like the Internet, by the way. The libraries here are incredibly supportive over the years and they’ve helped me a lot in finding those things that are challenging for me to find. I learn the most through books. That feeds directly into the writer’s/illustrator’s block — you can see me warming myself up to the subject with the exercise of doing the research. I try to find pictorial reference, but often I can’t. But text will turn up more. There’s more you can mine from written text because you can breathe your own impressions into it.”
Anybody read anything else on the ALA list? Did you find it to be overrated/underrated? Let me know in the comments.