Best Books of the Year

Posted Feb 9, 2015

   It seems like there is a steady stream of awards given out this time of year – the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Academy Awards to name a few.  We may not have a red carpet or an international audience, but here in library land we are also celebrating the “best” – the best of literature for young people.

  Last week, the American Library Association announced the winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz Awards, as well as a plethora of lessor known honors. Most of these award winners  are chosen by committees of librarians from across the country.

   The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of “most distinguished picture book” of the previous year. The first Caldecott award was given in 1938.  This year’s winner is Dan Santat for his book The Adventures of Beekle: An Unimaginary Friend. Of course, with the number of stunning picture books each year, it wouldn’t be right to shine a light on a single title so several Honor Books (runners up) are also designated every year.

   The Newbery Medal is awarded to the author of “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Like the Caldecott, the Newbery also recognizes Honor Books. The first Newbery Medal was awarded in 1922. This year’s winner is The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  Previous winners include The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Caddie Woodlawn, Wrinkle in Time, and The Giver.

  The Printz Award is relatively new, given for the first time in 2000. It recognizes “literary excellence in young adult literature.” The 2015 winner is I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson.

  Click here for descriptions and lists of other award winning books and media for youth.

  Of course, the “best” book for any reader is the one they can’t put down and stays with them long after they’ve finished reading it. There is no guarantee the award winners will make your “best” list, but they are definitely worth a read.

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