Call me crazy (go ahead, I can take it), but one of the best parts of being a parent is getting to read to my kids. Even the twins, at just 5 months old, love being read too. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of new picture books and chapter books to choose from each year, but thankfully the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) (a division of the American Library Association) makes it a bit easier to choose a few noteworthy titles destined to become classics by awarding the Caldecott Medal to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, and awarding the Newbery Medal to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. This year, medals and honors were bestowed on ten books in the two categories, giving parents and kids a small trove to choose from.
My daughter and I love a great picture book, and thanks to the Caldecott Medal, finding a great one is easy. This year’s winner is This Is Not My Hat, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen. It is a cautionary tale of a little fish that has stolen a little blue hat from a slumbering big fish. The little fish is quite matter of fact about stealing the hat and how he will get away with his crime. He’s quite certain all will be well, that is until the big fish wakes up and starts searching for his hat. As Roger Sutton wrote in his excellent review on nytimes.com, This Is Not My Hat is probably not a bedtime story, but is a great book to explore right and wrong, as well as property rights, with kids.
Along with this year’s winner, five other titles were selected for Caldecott Honor books:
Creepy Carrots!, illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds
Extra Yarn, also illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue
Although not as visually stimulating as a great picture book, the introduction of chapter books into a child’s life allows them to feed their own imagination with great age appropriate literature. Almost by accident, this year we stumbled upon Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series of books and our soon-to-be six year old has been eating up chapter books ever since. Thankfully, we will be turning out attention to the list of Newbery Medal winners to help us wade through the torrent of chapter books available for young minds in order to discover great literature for our budding bookworm.
This year’s winner of the Newbery went to The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. The ALSC’s describes the book as Ivan’s transformative emergence from the “Ape at Exit 8” to “The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback,” comes to life through the gorilla’s own distinct narrative voice, which is filled with wry humor, deep emotion and thought-provoking insights into the nature of friendship, hope and humanity. “Katherine Applegate gives readers a unique and unforgettable gorilla’s-eye-view of the world that challenges the way we look at animals and at ourselves,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Steven Engelfried.
In addition to The One and Only Ivan, there are three honor books for 2013:
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
All of the 2013 Newbery and Caldecott winning titles are available on www.amazon.cn for between RMB48-164 and can likely also be found at PageOne or Bookworm bookstores.
Photo by Flickr user: nophoto4jojo