American Library Association Youth Media Awards! Today was a big day in the children’s book world. It was like the Oscars for youth books. There was all kinds of excitement as the American Library Association presented the 2015 Youth Media Awards. If you love children’s books, I encourage you to check out all of the honorees.www.ilovelibraries.org/yma. I couldn’t help but watch, as Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas had been sent in. And well, though it tends to be only large publishers recognized, one just never knows. There are a slew of books if you are interested– in just about anything. There seemed to be an assortment of winners, ranging from diversity topics, homosexuality, and even just for fun books. As an author of a children’s book (We’re Having A Tuesday) that helps kids with seeing their own situations and being able to relate, I was happy to see the myriad of topics addressed. There is nothing quite like having a book help a child feel like they are not the only one who feels that way. It is even better if they are books that will work as read aloud books, as then they can go one step further, in which they can foster discussion. I really love books that do that. I will look forward to reading and writing about some of them here in the coming weeks. Also, as an author of a book that is strictly for the pure pleasure of reading for fun, laughing and using our imagination Santa’s (Zany, Wacky, Just Not Right!) Night Before Christmas, I was very thrilled to see that the winner of the Caldecott Award this year appears to be just that kind of book. I have not seen it myself yet, but The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, has moved up high on my priority list of books to read. I love nothing more than a book that just carries kids away. I can’t wait to read it! There were all kinds of awards, and all kinds of books. So I recommend if you have any interest in reading out loud to kids that you check them out. They cover picture books, chapter books, and even audio books. You are bound to find something that your little listener will enjoy hearing. And if you are reading out loud, maybe a family read aloud, or to an older group of kids in middle school or even high school, be sure to check out the Alex Awards, as they are books that are recognized as adult books that a teen audience is likely to enjoy. Just check them all out on the list! If you are like me, your library hold list, or your books to buy list might grow by leaps and bounds after reviewing it. And if you want even a little bit more excitement, watch the replay video of the announcements here. To me, there isn’t much more exciting than hearing a room full of people cheer about BOOKS for KIDS! I love the American Library Association Youth Media Awards. Makes me want to buy up a pile of books!
And because I just cannot close without at least one book recommendation, today I will focus on the 2014 Newberry Medal winner, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell. This is a darling chapter book complete with wonderful illustrations. To me it is a great bridge for kids that are getting to big for picture books, but might not be quite ready for books without any pictures at all. It is a whirlwind tale about a girl, a squirrel, and superhero type adventures. It made me think of crazy old cartoons where the characters were getting into slapstick humorous trouble. I loved the use of vocabulary in this book. I think most kids would be pretty anxious to see what happens next. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the part in which they turn the Mom into a lunatic stressball smoker, complete with an illustration. Couldn’t she have been crazily chomping ice, or eating lollipops, or winding ringlets in her hair? I just hate anything in kids books that makes it seem like smoking is ever ok. Sometimes I have to overlook it when a book was written long before we knew better, but this one is not that case. In any case, don’t let that detract you from an enjoyable ride. And maybe use the smoking as a talking point with your kids. I liked it!