On January 11, the American Library Association announced the 2016 youth media award winners at its Midwinter Meeting in Boston. The awards recognize the most distinguished books, audio books, and videos for children and teens, and include the Caldecott and Newbery awards. Each year Rhode Island children's and school librarians prepare for the announcement of the Caldecott and Newbery awards by carefully examining the year's top contenders through lively discussions that hold each book to the criteria used by the committees responsible for determining the winners. Through these discussions librarians issue “mock” awards, often predicting winners before the official announcement!
After considering 29 books, Rhode Island librarians selected Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin as the 2016 RI Mock Newbery Winner and also named three honor books: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt; The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Burbaker Bradley; and Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
However, the 2016 Newbery Medal was awarded to the picture book Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson. Not since the 1982 Newbery Medal winner A Visit to William Blake's Inn has the medal gone to a picture book. Three Newbery Honor Books were also named, and include two of the Mock Newbery Honor Books selected by librarians: The War that Saved My Life, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley; Roller Girl, written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson; and Echo, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.
The 2016 RI Mock Caldecott Winner Float, written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares, did not win the medal or an honor. Instead, the 2016 Caldecott Medal went to Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick. Finding Winnie had not been among the 13 picture books considered by Rhode Island librarians, but happily the Mock Caldecott Honor Book Waiting, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, was indeed named a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book. The 2016 Caldecott Honor Books also include: Trombone Shorty, illustrated by Bryan Collier and written by Troy Andrews; Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and written by Carole Boston Weatherford; and Last Stop on Market Street, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de le Peña.
Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the two dozen children's and school librarians who participated in the 2016 RI Mock Newbery and Mock Caldecott discussions. It was certainly an interesting year in children's literature, who knows what 2017 will bring!