Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Forget Oscars: Children's books with N.C. connections earn big awards this week

Posted January 24

The American Library Association announced 2017 award-winning books in January 2017.

I know, I know. All eyes are on the Oscar nominations this week, but there was another big announcement that celebrated another kind of art that, in many cases, has inspired the movies we see on the big screen. And that's children's literature.

On Monday, the American Library Association announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults, including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards.

And there are at least three North Carolina connections among the winners.

The Newbery Medal winner was published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Carole Boston Weatherford, an acclaimed author whose "Freedom in Congo Square" is a Caldecott Honor Book, is an English professor at Fayetteville State University.

And Chapel Hill author Sarah Dessen is the Margaret A. Edwards Award winner for her lifetime achievement in writing for young adults with books such as "Dreamland,” “Keeping the Moon,” “Just Listen,” “The Truth about Forever,” “Along for the Ride,” “What Happened to Goodbye?” and “This Lullaby."

As a long-time reader and lover of children's literature, it's a big day. My kids and I seek out these award-winning books every year, if we haven't read them already before the big announcement, and dive deep into the stories they tell.

If you buy books for kids in your life, these award-winning books make for great gifts too. It's a good list to squirrel away and use when birthdays and holidays roll around.

Here are some of the big winners with descriptions courtesy of Quail Ridge Books ...

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

2017 Newbery Medal winner

“The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” by Kelly Barnhill. Writes Quail Ridge: "An epic coming-of-age fairy tale destined to be a modern classic." Best for ages 10 and up.

2017 Newbery Medal winner

Newbery Honor Books

“Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan. From Quail Ridge: "In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that can't be bought or sold - dreams." Best for ages 6 and up.

“The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly. From Quail Ridge: "An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm. Beautifully illustrated throughout." Best for ages 10 and up.

“Wolf Hollow,” written by Lauren Wolk. From Quail Ridge: "A young girl's kindness, compassion, and honesty overcome bullying." For ages 10 and up.

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

2017 Caldecott Medal winner

“Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” written and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe. From Quail Ridge: "A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat." For ages 6 and up.

2017 Caldecott Medal Winner

Caldecott Honor Books

“Leave Me Alone!” illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol. From Quail Ridge: "An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting." For ages 4 and up.

“Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford. From Quail Ridge: "This poetic, nonfiction story about a little-known piece of African American history captures a human's capacity to find hope and joy in difficult circumstances and demonstrates how New Orleans' Congo Square was truly freedom's heart." Ages 4 and up.

"Du Iz Tak?" illustrated and written by Carson Ellis. From Quail Ridge: "The creator of Home turns a droll eye to the natural world, with gorgeous art and a playful invented language." Best for ages 4 and up.

"They All Saw a Cat," illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel. From Quail Ridge: "In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?" For ages 3 and up.

Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

King Author Book winner

“March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. From Quail Ridge: "The stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world." For ages 13 and up.

King Illustrator Book winner

“Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, who also won the Caldecott Medal.

The library association handed many other prizes on Monday. You'll find some great recommendations for picture books to young adult books on their website.


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