For the second year in a row, I set my alarm early on a Monday morning (when, in the one perk of working nights, I normally get to sleep in) to watch the live webcast announcing the American Library Association Youth Media Awards. The two biggest include the Caldecott Medal (for distinguished contribution to picture books) and the Newbery Medal (for distinguished contribution to children's literature). The Geisel Award, named after Theodor Geisel, aka "Dr. Seuss", the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Michael Printz Award (Young Adult books) have all been growing in popularity as well.
So, huge Children's book nerd that I am, I was up and watching the webcast. This announcement is like the Oscars for librarians and children's authors. Here's the ALA press release on the winners. The Caldecott Medal went to The House in the Night, a Good Night, Moon-ish picture book. The Newbery was more a shock to me, going to the not-so-shiningly reviewed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. That one I haven't read yet, but it's about a boy named Nobody who lives in a graveyard and is raised by ghosts. I plan on reading it soon so I can have an opinion. But, as always, the amazingly awesome Mo Willems can't stay away from the ALA Award circuit. His first Pigeon book and both Knuffle Bunny books were Caldecott honors, while one of his Elephant and Piggie books, There is a Bird on Your Head, won the Geisel Award last year. This year, he returns with another adventure for the crazy duo, Are You Ready to Play Outside? The man is pure genius. This is the fourth year for the award and he's won half of them!