Thursday, January 24, 2008

ALA Awards Announced

Here's a report by Teen Services Librarian Geri Dioro, from the American Library Association mind-winter meeting in mid-January in Philadelphia.

While much of the world was fixated on the Golden Globe Awards ceremony (or lack thereof), I was fortunate enough a few weeks ago to be present in Philadelphia when the American Library Association announced its own annual awards. As an intern on the ALA Awards Committee, I mostly take notes during the meetings, but I was able also to take part in discussions and vote on matters pertaining to the awards. This gave me a unique behind-the-scenes look at a process that helps to discover “classics” for new generations of young readers.

ALA gives out numerous literary honors, but the most well-known are for children’s literature in several categories. The Newbery Medal goes to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children published in the previous year. This year the winner was Laura Amy Schlitz for her book “Good Masters Sweet Ladies: Voices from a Medieval Village,” an unusual choice because it is a book of linked poems rather than a standard narrative.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the previous year. Brian Selznick won this year for “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” - not your usual slim picture book, but a 530-page tome in which the story is mainly told through Selznick’s gorgeous black and white drawings.

Of special interest to me as a Teen Services Librarian is the Printz Award, given to a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature. This year’s winner, “The White Darkness” by Geraldine McCaughrean, is a beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat thriller about a girl who is abducted to Antarctica by her mad (or is he mad?) uncle.

Stop by the Ridgefield Library and check out these award winners!

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