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Two books: Big by Vashti Harrison and The Eyes & the Impossible by Dave Eggers
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The winners of the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal have been announced for 2024.

This year’s Newbery Medal winner was “The Eyes & the Impossible” by Dave Eggers. The book explores the themes of freedom, friendship and beauty. Eggers is a well-known author who been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award.

The Newbery Medal dates back more than 100 years as it was first proposed in 1921 and awarded in 1922. It is named for 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery and is awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Similarly, the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most DISTINGUISHED American picture book for children. The Caldecott Medal was first awarded in 1938, after some people involved with the Newbery Medal realized that the artists creating picture books for kids were equally deserving of an award for their work. The award is named for Randolph Caldecott, an influential English children’s illustrator in the 19th century whose illustrations have been described as unique for their time.

This year’s Caldecott Medal winner is “Big,” which was written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison. “Big” explores individuality, self-acceptance and resilience. Harrison is the New York Times bestselling creator of Little Leaders, Little Dreamers, and Little Legends.

Both the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal are handed out annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  

The ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, dating all the way back to its founding in Philadelphia in October 1876!

The ALA strives to improve library and information services with the goal of enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for everyone. The ALSC is dedicated to supporting and enhancing library services for kids. Its members include more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educators.

Happy reading everyone!

A person in a heatsuit pouring molten metal into a large furnace, creating a fiery glow and intense heat.A Cool & Cleaner Way to Refine Iron

About 90 percent of the metal that’s refined these days is iron. It’s the base metal of steel used in making commercial buildings, bridges, cars, household appliances all the way down to tiny bearings and pins.

Unfortunately, to EXTRACT iron from the iron ore that’s mined produces a lot of pollution in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. But an article published Feb. 5 says chemists have come up with a new process for refining iron that could dramatically cut CO2 EMISSIONS!

A whopping 2.5 billion tons of usable iron ore is mined each year. The usual refining process is to use a blast furnace to heat layers of iron ore with carbon-rich coal called coke and limestone to about 2700° F. But this process releases about 8 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions into the air, which equals the amount of pollution that cars and trucks produce each year!

But Paul Kempler, a chemical engineer at the University of Oregon, and other researchers on his team have come up with a new way of getting the metal without putting CO2 into the air!

Their process uses saltwater, a battery-like setup with two electrodes, and electrical power. The negative electrode, called a cathode, has the iron oxide that needs to be refined. As current is applied, the result is solid metallic iron, chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide. The chlorine and sodium hydroxide are also useful and could be sold for industrial uses.

Not only does this new way of refining iron not

require a blast furnace and super hot temperatures, the researchers also point out that the process can work with intermittent electricity generated by wind or solar panels. But while the process works in a lab and should be cost effective, scaling it up to meet all our iron needs may not be practical. It could produce more sodium hydroxide than is useful.


March 2024