ALA Youth Media Awards Have Been Announced!

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Earlier today the American Library Association announced the 2013 Youth Media Awards Winners. Click here to read the press release.

Highlights include:

John Newbery Medal Winner (for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature):

The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2012)

Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner (for the most distinguished American picture book for children):

This Is Not My Hat, illustrated and written by Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, 2012).

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award Winner (recognizing an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults):

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, 2012).

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award Winner (recognizing an African American illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults):

I, Too, Am America, illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Langston Hughes (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Pura Belpré (Author) Award Winner (honoring a Latino writer whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award Winner (honoring a Latino illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):

Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert, illustrated by David Diaz, written by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books, 2012)

Come Hear Author Francisco X. Alarcón Read From His Book “Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems” ~ July 30, Merced, CA, USA

Friday, July 29th, 2011

To kick off the Merced County Arts Council’s Demand the Arts campaign author Francisco X. Alarcón will host a book reading on Saturday, July 30th from 11am – noon. The event will take place at the Merced Multicultural Arts Center 645 W. Main Street, Merced, CA, USA. Mr. Alarcón will read from his bilingual book for children Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems / Jitomates risueños y otros poemas de primavera. Publisher Children’s Book Press’ overview of Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems reads:

From the imagination of poet Francisco X. Alarcón comes this playful and moving collection of twenty poems about spring in English and Spanish. Tomatoes laugh, chiles explode, and tortillas applaud the sun! With joy and tenderness, delight and sadness, Francisco’s poems honor the wonders of life and nature: welcoming the morning sun, remembering his grandmother’s songs, paying tribute to children working in the fields, and sharing his dream of a world filled with gardens. Artist Maya Christina Gonzalez invites us to experience the poems with her lively cast of characters—including a spirited grandmother, four vivacious children, and playful pets who tease and delight. Follow them from page to page as they bring the spring season to colorful life.

Alarcón is an award-winning poet, educator and author of 12 volumes of poetry.  Raised in Mexico and California, he refers to himself  as a “bi-national, bicultural, bilingual poet” and writes for children and adults in English and Spanish. His children’s books vividly paint pictures of Latino culture, family, fun, and flavor and have won such prestigious awards as the American Library Association’s Pura Belpré Honor Award and the Américas Award Commended Title. Alarcón was a featured speaker at Talleres de Poesia’s inaugural  Children’s Poetry Festival held last November in El Salvador

Merced Arts Council Executive Director Staci Santa encourages children and their families to come down and enjoy the event. She says “Francisco seamlessly weaves language, art and diversity in an accessible and joyful way that makes everyone who meets him happier. The arts council is excited to bring Mr. Alarcón to Merced to share the beautiful languages and images in his children’s books to kids young and young at heart.”

To download the event poster click here.


This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted at Book Aunt  – head on over.


15th Anniversary of Children’s Day/Book Day (El día de los niños/El día de los libros) ~ April 30th (USA)

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Children’s Day/Book Day (El día de los niños/El día de los libros), also known as Día is a celebration of children, families, and reading. Held annually in the USA on April 30, Día celebrations emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Founded by author Pat Mora in 1996, Día is now hosted by the Association for Library Service for Children (ALSC) along with founding partner REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.

2011 marks the 15th anniversary of  Día and there are plenty of great events planned! Visit the ALSC’s  Día Celebrations page to find out all the details. Use the interactive map to search for events in your area and find out how others across the country celebrate literature, culture, and family! Let the ALSC know what’s going on in your community and they’ll send your library 100 Día stickers. Use the 2011 Día Media Kit to download logos and brochures and read the #dia11alsc Twitter feed.

The Arthur F. Turner Community Library in Sacramento, CA,  has an exciting Día event planned for this Saturday, April 16th. Author Jorge Argueta and author/illustrator Maya Christina Gonzalez will be on hand to read and sign their books, there will be bilingual stories, crafts, free book giveaways and more! Click on the poster image above to enlarge and get all the details.

On April 30th the national kick-off for Día takes place at the Pima County Library System (Valencia branch) in Tucson, AZ.  There, Pat Mora, ALSC members, and the general public can join the Pima County librarians in an afternoon filled with children’s reading events and a discussion on the history of Día.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to visit the site of one of the first libraries in the nation to embrace El día de los niños/El día de los libros,” said Mora. “Libraries play such a key role in supporting family literacy within diverse communities. From bilingual story hours for children to adult literacy and English as a Second language programs – libraries are truly part of the American Dream and are an important key to lifelong learning.”

Mora is the author of many children’s books including the Pula Belpre award-winning book Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day : Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros. Read PaperTigers’ interview with Pat Mora here and click here to watch ¡Colorín Colorado!’s video interview with Pat about Día’s 15th Anniversary.

Week-end Book Review: My Abuelita by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, photographed by Tim O’Meara,

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Tony Johnston, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, photographed by Tim O’Meara,
My Abuelita
Harcourt Children’s Books, 2009.

Ages 5-8

“I live with my grandma. And she lives with me. I call her Abuelita.” So begins this lively love-filled story of a boy and his grandmother going about their morning routine. Tony Johnston’s masterful language and Yuyi Morales’ trademark vibrant palette turn the most prosaic of daily events – getting ready for work – into a magical adventure. As Abuelita bends, stretches, baths, yodels, hums, eats, and packs, the reader turning pages with anticipation: what job could possibly require a scarf like a cloud that flows down to the ground, or a skeleton and plumed snake, or a temple and a crown of stars?

Children and adults alike will delight in discovering Abuelita’s job, even as they revel in unexpected joys and surprises sprinkled throughout the text and images. Johnston’s figurative language perfectly compliments Morales’ intricate, impish visuals, which defy any notions of grandparents as elderly or aging. Abuelita wakes up with the sun and is round “like a calabeza, a pumpkin,” with “hair the color of salt and a face crinkled like a dried chile.” After she takes her morning shower, she looks like a great big bee wrapped in her black and yellow towel, and when they sit to breakfast, she eats fried eggs that look like stars.

Each step in the morning routine flies off the page in this 2010 Pura Belpré Honor book. Award-winning illustrator Morales builds on her former success by introducing a new illustration technique, building and staging puppets and taking photographs of the scenes. With the help of Tim O’Meara, she finishes each illustration digitally, which gives the whimsical, exuberant images a three-dimensional quality akin to a Pixar film. Family love wafts from words and pictures alike, as the narrator assists his grandmother in each step of their familiar morning routine, and confides he wants to be like her when he grows up. Magical realism, traditional iconography, and sprinklings of Spanish all root this story in its Mexican context, while its themes of love, family, and dreams make it immediately and intimately familiar to all. A joyful tale for readers and non-readers alike, and an ideal read-aloud for teachers, families, and friends.

Sara Hudson
April 2011

Books at Bedtime: The Storyteller’s Candle

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

The Storyteller's Candle/ La velita de los cusentos by Lucía González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Children's Book Press, 2008)The Storyteller’s Candle/ La velita de los cuentos Children’s Book Press, 2008) is one of the books selected for inclusion in the 2010 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set, which is part of the Spirit of PaperTigers Project launched yesterday on our website. Set during the early years of the Great Depression (1929-1935), it tells the story of two children, cousins Hildamar and Santiago, who have moved with their families from Puerto Rico to New York and how their lives are transformed by coming into contact with librarian Pura Belpré, whose pioneering work revolutionised the roles of libraries within their communities.

This telling of Pura Belpré’s work through the eyes of children, written by Lucía Gonzalez, makes a very special readaloud, both to a group of children and cosily at home. As the whole Puerto Rican community of El Barrio joins together to put on a play at the library to celebrate el Día de los Reyes, Three Kings’ Day on the 6th January, the cold outside is forgotten and the library is filled with the warmth not only from the roaring fire, but also from people’s hearts. Then, at the end,

“Ms. Belpré concluded the show in her usual way. “Close your eyes and make a wish,” she whispered as she held the storyteller’s candle.

Lulu Delacre’s gorgeous illustrations (and you can see some of them in her PaperTigers Gallery) are particularly special because she has added collage details to every page using a newspaper from 6th January 1930. I think my favorite, wittily accompanying this illustration of the audience at the library, is a column of thank yous to theatre critics for rave reviews…

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Of course, Pura Belpré’s work continues to be commemorated by grown-ups with the awarding of the Pura Belpré medal, whose 2010 winners were announced in January. The Storyteller’s Candle means that children can share in her wonderful story too – and enjoy her legacy of libraries as hubs in their communities.

2010 ALA Youth Media Awards Announced

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Earlier today the American Library Association (ALA)  announced the top books, audiobooks and video for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting in Boston.

A complete list of all the 2010 literary award winners can be  seen here. Highlights include:

Winner of the John Newbery Medal (for most outstanding contribution to children’s literature):
When You Reach Me written by Rebecca Stead

Winner of the Caldecott Medal (for most distinguished American picture book for children):
The Lion & the Mouse illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney

Winner of the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award (recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults):
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Winner of the Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
My People illustrated by Charles R. Smith Jr. and written by Langston Hughes

Winner of the Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award (honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience):
Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El día de los niños/El día de los libros illustrated by Rafael López and written by Pat Mora

Winner of the Pura Belpré (Author) Award:
Return to Sender written by Julia Alvarez

Meet Pura Belpré Honor Author Lucía González

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Lucia Gonzalez, renowned storyteller, puppeteer, and Pura Belpré Honor author, will be giving a presentation at the Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main Street, Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday, July 18, at 1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend.

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Lee & Low Books' 2008 New Voices Award Honor Goes to Hayan Charara

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Lee & Low Books, an independent children’s book publisher focused on diversity, has announced the winner of the New Voices Award Honor for 2008 – Hayan Charara of Houston, Texas- for his poignant story, The Three Lucys.

The Three Lucys explores the realities of war from the perspective of Luli, a young Lebanese boy whose most beloved possessions are his three cats, all named Lucy. Returning home with his parents after a visit with his aunt and uncle, Luli discovers that conflicts between people can change some things forever. But in the end, Luli also learns to hope for a future in which change is possible as differences are put aside. Mr. Charara’s writing is honest and lyrical and captures a strong sense of place. The Three Lucys is based on the experiences of the author’s younger brother during the month-long war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

A first-generation Arab American born in Michigan, Mr. Charara is a poet, editor, and teacher. While this is his first foray into writing for children, Mr. Charara’s work for adults has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies.

Lee & Low Books established the New Voices Award in 2000 to encourage writers of color to submit their work to a publisher that takes pride in nurturing new talent. The award reflects the company’s mission of meeting the need for stories that children of color can identify with and that all children can enjoy. “When we started the company, there was a lot of interest in books focused on diversity,” says co-founder Tom Low, “but most of the titles were folktales about exotic people from distant lands. We felt strongly that it was important to have books with a contemporary setting that reflect how we live today.”

Lee & Low has published over 200 books since 1991. A number of their titles have won major awards and honors, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the Pura Belpré Honor Award, and The Jane Addams Peace Award.

ALA Youth Media Awards Announced Monday January 26

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

On January 26 at 7:45 a.m. MT, the American Library Association, in Denver, Colorado for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, will provide a free live Webcast of its annual awards ceremony honoring outstanding books and media for children and young adults The awards can also be twittered, with live updates given as award winners are announced. The RSS feed from the Youth Media Awards Twitter site can be followed on Facebook.

Awards include:

  • Alex Awards honoring the best adult books that appeal to teens
  • Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoring African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to “the African American experience via literature and illustration.”
  • John Newbery Medal honoring the author of the year’s most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honoring an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.
  • Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring an author’s lifetime contribution in writing for young adults as well as a specific body of his or her work.
  • Michael L. Printz Award honoring excellence in literature written for young adults.
  • Pura Belpré Award honoring Latino/Latina writers and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
  • Randolph Caldecott Medal honoring the illustrator of the year’s most distinguished American picture book for children.
  • Robert F. Sibert Medal honoring an author, illustrator and/or photographer of the most distinguished informational book published for children.
  • Schneider Family Book Award honoring books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.
  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award honoring the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished book for beginning readers published in English in the United States.
  • William C. Morris Award inaugurated in 2009, honoring a book published by a first-time author writing for teens.

Supporting the Pura Belpré Awards

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Lucía Gonzalez, the author of The Storyteller’s Candle / La velita de los cuentos illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Children’s Book Press, 2008) and our current Book of the Month, has generously given all the proceedings from the book to the Pura Belpré Award Endowment… so a good reason to get hold of it: not to mention that the book, an account of “how Pura Belpré, New York City’s first Latina librarian, brought the warmth of Puerto Rico to the island of Manhattan in a most unexpected way”, is itself a treasure…