Read Across America with Award-Winning Books
by Andrea Szabo
January 27 was a big day for all of us in library land and the book industry — the announcement of the Youth Media Award Winners. This includes awards such as Caldecott for illustration, Newbery for children’s literature, Coretta Scott King Awards recognizing African-American authors and illustrators, the Pura Belpre award honoring Latino writers and illustrators and many more. This year’s winners and honors were beautiful books that included many cultures and lifestyles representing our richly diverse nation.
As librarians, we make it our goal to find the perfect book for each child — the proverbial lid for every pot. Some books are considered “mirror” books, those that reflect your own life experience; while others are considered “window” books where people have the opportunity to explore others’ experiences. Listed below are some of the winners that may be a mirror or window for you.
Randolph Caldecott Medal:
Hello, Lighthouse illustrated and written by Sophie Blackall
Kids can step back in time with this award-winning picture book. Watch the lighthouse and its keeper experience a year.
John Newbery Medal:
Merci Suárez Changes Gears written by Meg Medina
Merci Suárez knew that things would change in sixth grade, but she didn’t think that it would be so hard. She doesn’t fit in at her private school, and has trouble making friends. Something strange is happening to her grandpa as well. This is a relatable coming-of-age story that many kids will enjoy.
Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:
The Stuff of Stars illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Marion Dane Bauer
The Stuff of Stars tells the tale of how the earth, the stars, the people and all the cosmos are interconnected.
Pura Belpré Award:
Dreamers written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Yuyi Morales tells her immigration story using beautiful images and poetic language. When she and her son first arrived in America, they felt lost, but when they discovered the library, a whole new world opened up for them.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award:
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science written by Joyce Sidman
Sidman uses original artwork from Maria Merian’s collection to help tell her story. Maria Merian lived in a time when women did not show an interest in science and the natural world. Despite expectations, Maria dove into the world of entomology and became one of the world’s first female butterfly scientists.
Stonewall Book Award:
Julián is a Mermaid written by Jessica Love
When Julian sees “mermaids” on the subway, he decides he wants to be a mermaid, too. When he and his grandmother get home, Julian creates an elaborate mermaid costume. What will grandmother think? This is a great story about being yourself.
Upcoming Wilton Library Programs
Read Across America with Dr. Seuss: March 2 , 2:30 p.m. Get out your striped hat and join us on Dr. Seuss’ birthday to celebrate Read Across America! We will read some of Dr. Seuss’ stories, and do some fun Seuss-inspired crafting. For ages 4 and up with their caregivers. Drop-in.
Python Coding with Cozmo: March 2, 11 a.m. Kids, ages 10-12, are invited to participate in this four-session coding program. Using library iPads and Cozmos, ‘the smartest, cutest robot you’ve ever seen,’ kids will work together to learn, create, problem solve and have fun. Registration is required.
Brick Building Club: Wednesdays in March, 4 p.m. Kids, in grades K and up, can join this weekly Brick Building Club. Each session will be based on a new theme, such as castles, vehicles, towers and more. Children will learn about the theme through stories and nonfiction books, and then create a masterpiece for display. Drop-in.
Bouncing Babies: March 8, 11:15 a.m. Join us twice a month for this interactive program especially for babies under 12 months old and their caregivers. We will start off with some time to play and socialize. Then we will share stories, songs and rhymes all geared for babies and their grown-ups.
Making Music with Jay and Ray: March 16, 10:30 a.m. Kids, in grades K-5, are invited to this brand-new reduce, reuse, and re-purpose program that introduces young people to these concepts in a fun and interactive way. There will be a multimedia presentation connecting music, movement, up-cycled art, tools and furniture. Registration required.
Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road. For more information, call 203-762-6336 or visit www.wiltonlibrary.org.
Andrea Szabo is the Children’s Library Manager at Wilton Library Association.