The red carpet! The glamor! The contestants!
It's book award season, don't you know and the announcements for two of the biggest awards, The Caldecott and The Newbery medals, are just around the corner. So who are the main contenders this year? The awards are always veiled in secrecy (even the nominees) but we love making educated guesses! Even here at Green Bean, the team is divided on who will take the gold!
Unanimously loved by the staff, Wonder by R.J. Palacio has a real chance at the Newbery this year. Not exactly new to the children's book scene (Palacio is also a children's book editor and designer of fantastic covers), Wonder has been a huge hit with both adults AND kids. The story of an ordinary boy with facial abnormalities, it was a true standout this year. (She also visited Green Bean over the summer on her book tour and was incredibly kind and gracious so she gets extra 'nice points' from our staff!)
It's no secret that we (especially Jennifer!) love Grace Lin, but her newest book, Starry River of the Sky, is quite possibly her best. The first book in the series, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, won a Newbery honor back when it came out in 2011, but Lin has outdone herself with this newest folk-tale-meets-modern story. She certainly deserves a gold medal at some point for her flawless skill, so the question remains: will it be for this book?
Other contenders might possibly be Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, or Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker (my favorite) but every few years we are completely surprised by the winner, so who knows?!
So what of the Caldecott? I, personally, think the Caldecott will be much harder to predict this year, but if we were to judge based solely on customer appreciation, Extra Yarn, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen would take the cake. Klassen released two other fabulous books last year, but the illustrations for Extra Yarn are extra special... and totally appropriate for this very chilly weather we are having!
Another standout was Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (herself, no stranger to award-talk), particularly with Portland readers. If the peoples of the frozen north have multiple words for snow, then surely Portlanders' understand that the same is true for the color green! The rich, almost textured illustrations of each shade of green and how it appears in our beautiful world are absolutely breathtaking.
While we loved Julie Fogliano and Rebecca Stead's gorgeous, And Then It's Spring, we wonder if the committee would choose to honor Stead again so soon after winning two years ago. And what about Baby Bear Sees Blue, by Ashley Wolff? Is it special enough to edge out a juggernaut like Klassen? What do you think? Do you have any favorites this year for Caldecott or Newbery? Let the prediction game begin!