where the writers are
The American Library Awards 2012

It's been a long time since my kids were tots or tweens but we still have favorite books like "I'll Love You Forever," whose cover captures a little boy playing with the toilet paper. (My sons thought it was about playing with TP so of course they wanted me to buy it). The last page still makes me cry. My boys are now young men but they still remember that book. 

If the Pulitzer Prize is the Oscar of the book world, the American Library Awards for books is up there with the Nickelodeon Awards, sans the green slime. The ALA announced their Youth Media Awards of 2012 on January 25, 2012. These books represent the best of the best. As a parent and 'nano' bookstore owner (BookNook) this makes my book choices easier. And I'm all for easier, saving time and money. 

 The ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for children and youth. What I like about these awards is their quest for diverse protagonists and characters, settings, and cultures. They also recognize book illustrators. 

The Pura Belpré Award presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Author Book Winner  

“Under the Mesquite,” written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. This author was also a finalist for the William C. Morris Award for first time author writing for teenagers. The story is about the healing power of words. This book is quite different in that it is a novel that reads like poetry-a verse novel.

 

Best Illustration award given to “Diego Rivera: His World and Ours,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh.

The Association for Library Service for Children awards the Newbery Medal annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.Winner“Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos. Fictionalized biography of history, mystery and humor.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

Winner “A Ball for Daisy," illustrated and written by Chris Raschka. The joy and sadness of special toys.

 

Given to African American authors for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

Author Book Winner Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.” This covers the colonial days until the civil rights movement.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:“Where Things Come Back,” written by a teacher, John Corey Whaley. It's a story about brothers, love, loss, and faith.

Another winner was announced today, (not ALA). The Amelia Bloomer Prize for "...recommended feminist literature from birth to age 18.." is Meg Medina's "Tia Isa Wants a Car." 

If your library or school doesn’t carry these books, ask them to do so. Or you can accompany your kids to the library and seek out the books together. If you have any book recommendations, let's hear them.

For a complete list of ALA awards and winners or to view the Honor Mentions please visit the ALA website. Keep on reading and instilling a love for reading in your children.