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Gabi, A Girl In Pieces

Literacy Daily

2015 Award-Winning Books
by Karen Hildebrand
‘Tis the season for book awards! All year educators, librarians, publishers, booksellers, and students wait to hear about the best of the best from the previous publishing year. Various organizations and journals compile their “bests” and share them with readers. Libraries hold “mock” Newbery and Caldecott elections to allow local readers to have a vote for their favorites. Here are some of the most recent award winners, all published in 2014. Annotations are provided from publisher notes. Honor book selections can be seen by clicking on the link for each book award.

Caldecott Medal Winner 2015
Santat, Dan. The Adventures of Beekle. Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company.
This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and—at long last—is given his special name: Beekle.

Newbery Medal Award 2015
Alexander, Kwame. The Crossover. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
“With a bolt of lightning on my kicks… The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I’m delivering,” announces dread-locked, 12-year-old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood from Kwame Alexander.

Coretta Scott King Awards 2015
Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York, NY: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Group.
Jacqueline Woodson won Best Author (in addition to a number of other accolades) for her memoir in free verse poetry. From an earlier CLR review, “Woodson’s memoir is a testament to the power of family connections, hope in the face of tragedy and the liberating force of writing.”

Copeland, Misty. Firebird. Illus. by Chrisopher Myers. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam/Penguin Group.
In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland’s debut book won Best Illustrator for Christopher Myers. The story tells of a young girl — an every girl — whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.

John Steptoe New Talent Award 2015
Reynolds, Jason. When I Was the Greatest. New York, NY: Atheneum Books/Simon & Schuster.
Ali lives in Bed-Stuy, a Brooklyn neighborhood known for guns and drugs, but he and his sister, Jazz, and their neighbors, Needles and Noodles, stay out of trouble until they go to the wrong party, where one gets badly hurt and another leaves with a target on his back.

Michael L. Printz Award 2015
Nelson, Jandy. I’ll Give You the Sun. New York, NY: Dial Books/Penguin Group.
“A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by artists Jude and her twin brother Noah.”

Schneider Family Book Award 2015
Rabinowitz, Alan. A Boy and a Jaguar. Illus. by Catia Chien. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion — their voice — but he stutters uncontrollably. Except when he talks to animals, then he is fluent. Follow the life of the man Time Magazine calls, “the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation” as he searches for his voice and fulfills a promise to speak for animals, and people, who cannot speak for themelves.

Mildred L. Bachelder Award 2015
Tak, Bibi Dumon. Mikis and the Donkey. Illus. by Philip Hopman. Translated by Laura Watkinson. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
One day, Mikis’s grandfather has a surprise for him: a new donkey. Mikis falls in love with the creature, but his grandparents tell him the donkey is a working animal, not a pet. However, they still let Mikis choose her name — Tsaki — and allow the two of them to spend their Sundays together. Mikis and Tsaki soon become fast friends, and together the two have some grand adventures. Eventually, both Mikis and his grandfather learn a bit more about what exactly it means to care for another creature.

Pura Belpré Award 2015
Morales, Yuyi. Viva Frida. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press/Neal Porter.
These book garnered a best illustrator prize. Frida Kahlo, one of the world’s most famous and unusual artists is revered around the world. Her life was filled with laughter, love, and tragedy, all of which influenced what she painted on her canvases.

Agosin, Marjorie. I Lived on Butterfly Hill. Illus. by Lee White. New York, NY: Atheneum Books/Simon & Schuster.
Agosin received the best author award for I Lived on Butterfly Hill. When her beloved country, Chile, is taken over by a militaristic, sadistic government, Celeste is sent to America for her safety and her parents must go into hiding before they “disappear.”

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award 2015
Bryant, Jen. The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus. Illus. by Melissa Sweet. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
For shy young Peter Mark Roget, books were the best companions—and it wasn’t long before Peter began writing his own book. But he didn’t write stories; he wrote lists. Peter took his love for words and turned it to organizing ideas and finding exactly the right word to express just what he thought. His lists grew and grew, eventually turning into one of the most important reference books of all time. Readers of all ages will marvel at Roget’s life, depicted through lyrical text and brilliantly detailed illustrations.

Stonewall Book Award 2015
Pitman, Gayle E. This Day in June. Illus. by Kristyna Litten. Washington, DC: Magination Press/American Psychological Association.
“In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, this title welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united. Also included is a reading guide chock-full of facts about LGBT history and culture, as well as the ‘Note to Parents and Caregivers’ with information on how to talk to children about sexual orientation and gender identity in age-appropriate ways.”

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award 2015
Kang, Anna. You Are (Not) Small. Illus. by Christopher Weyant. New York, NY: Two Lions, New York.
Two fuzzy creatures can’t agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! The simple text of Anna Kang and bold illustrations of New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant tell an original and very funny story about size—it all depends on who is standing next to you.

William C. Morris Award 2015
Quintero, Isabel. Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.
From an earlier CLR review: California high school senior Gabriela (Gabi Hernanadez) is caught between not being Mexican enough and gravitating toward the things white girls do—at least according to her mother. To make sense of her world, she keeps a journal about her own struggles with self-esteem and related weight issues, also writing about her best friend Cindy’s pregnancy and her other best friend Sebastian’s coming out to his family.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction 2015; Van Wagenen, Maya. Popular, a Memoir: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek. New York, NY: Dutton/Penguin Young Readers Group.
The memoir of a one-year social experiment in which teen author Maya Van Wagenen followed a 1950’s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell.

The Scott O’Dell Award, Larson, Kirby. Dash. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world—the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.

Karen Hildebrand is an Ohio library and reading consultant. These reviews are submitted by members of the International Reading Association’s Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.
- Karen Hildebrand, February 16, 2015  Visit Website

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