Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Celebration of Picture Books ~By Suzy Leopold

The kid lit world always seems to be buzzing with news. The good news includes announcements of book birthday celebrations that debut new books, awards for distinguished and deserving books, along with many amazing events happening at bookstores, and much more.

Last week many outstanding books were recognized by American Library Association, ALA. The Caldecott Medal is defined by the ALA as:

The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most 
distinguished American picture book for children. 

As everyone knows the committee presented the 2016 Caldecott Medal to: 

FINDING WINNIE: THE TRUE STORY OF THE MOST FAMOUS BEAR by Lindsay Mattic with illustrations by Sophie Blackall.

This is a remarkable story named after the Canadian city of Winnipeg that inspired the story of Winnie-the-Pooh. You can read more about the illustrator Sophie Blackall in TIME for Kids.

And now on to the 2016 Caldecott Honor Books . . . 

TROMBONE SHORTY is a stunning autobiography about Troy Andrews. He is a legendary artist from the New Orleans Jazz Fest. Growing up in the New Orleans' district of Tremé, Troy lead his own band at the age of six. The illustrations by Bryan Collier are a combination of paintings and collage and received the 2016 Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award.
An pig, a bear, a puppy, a rabbit and an owl are waiting. What are they waiting for as they look out the window sill? Kevin Henkes is a master picture book creator and has written many beloved books. WAITING was also recognized for the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award. For more information about Kevin Henkes click on his name to read his bio.

VOICE OF FREEDOM celebrates the life and legacy of Fannie Lou Hammer [1917-1977]. Fannie Lou was an American voting rights activist, civil rights leader and philanthropist. Find out more about Fannie Lou in an article on the History web site. Her tombstone in Mississippi indicates, "I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." In addition to receiving the Caldecott Honor Award, this book with a message of hope received a 2016 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. A 2016 Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award Winner was given for the illustrations of mixed media and collage by Ekua Holmes. 

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET, by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson received many awards and include: 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, a New York Times book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2015, A Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of 2015 and the prestigious John Newbery Medal.

The reader will appreciate the beautiful moments between CJ and his Grandma as they spend their time together on a Sunday afternoon. The illustrations are a mix of acrylics and collage. Carter Higgins shares an excellent post about the Design of the Picture Book along with her excitement that we share for the awards presented to LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET.

In case you missed it, two fellow GROGgers recently shared information on the title of LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET and the award. You can find a GROG post by Kathy Halsey this past Monday. Last week, Tina Cho wrote a post about the prestigious Caldecott Award. The information shared by Kathy and Tina are both great posts, so make sure you check them out if you haven't already done so.

Along with the good news of these prestigious awards, comes those who grumble and scratch their heads. There are those who question the judges' decisions to recognize and honor these picture books. For myself, I am pleased and excited to celebrate each one of these titles.

Those who write for children know the challenges that come with being a writer. The journey to publication is most often a long journey. There is no need to question the decision of the judges. This is time to celebrate books! It is a time to recognize all the hard work the creators-authors, illustrators, editors, and many more, strive for in the world of publishing. All are deemed award winners. 


  1. Thanks for introducing us to all of the winners, Suzy. I've read all but Voice of Freedom. I LOVE Finding Winnie -- great choice for a Caldecott, in my opinion.

    1. And thank you, Patty, for sharing your thoughts. I am saddened to read negative comments via the Internet about folks who question prestigious awards given to PBs.

  2. Heartfelt post, Suzy :) I have yet to read any of them, but they're on my TBR list!

    1. Thank you, Christie. You are sure to enjoy each and everyone.

  3. No grumbles, here Suzy!
    Appreciations for your thoughts. The links are great, especially from Tina & Kathy.
    So are the books, from what I've read about them & those I've read. LAST STOP on MARKET STREET I took home from the library last year & loved the gentle community spirit.
    Also is so, so cool that a living legend, Mr. Andrews, can participate in this Caldecott for Bryan Collier.

    1. Aah, Jan! No need to grumble about any good book. You describe LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET perfectly through the words, " . . . gentle community spirit."

  4. Awesome post, Suzy! I thinknthisnyear's winners and honors stood the reading world on its head in a good way.

    1. For sure, Tracey! Forget the naysayers that are grumbling. This is a Picture Book Celebration, for sure!

  5. Thanks for these synopses of the books! Can't wait to read them all.

    1. And thank you, Tina, for reading the post about books that everyone can celebrate.