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This year the top honor for writing in children’s literature goes to a story about a day-in-the-life of four middle school kids. The top award for illustration was won by a winter’s tale that will warm hearts.

The John Newbery Medal is awarded each year for excellence in children’s literature. The American Library Association announced the winner in February, and the top prize this year went to “Hello, Universe” by Erin Entrada Kelly. The story is told from the viewpoints of four young PROTAGONISTS, two girls and two boys. They have unique backgrounds and perspectives, but they are brought together by a bullying incident. 

The resulting neighborhood adventure leads these sixth-graders to discover what it means to be brave in a tale filled with suspense, humor and understanding.

The Newbery Honor Books for 2018 are “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds, “Piecing Me Together” by Renée Watson and “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” by Derrick Barnes. “Crown,” a barbershop tale of boys getting new haircuts, was crowned another honor, as well (see below).

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded to the best American picture book for children. This year’s winner, “Wolf in the Snow,” written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, tells the story of a girl and a wolf cub lost in a snowstorm. They learn to trust each other to find their way home.

Four Caldecott Honor Books were also named: “Big Cat, little cat,” written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper; “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” illustrated by Gordon C. James and written by Barnes; “A Different Pond,” illustrated by Thi Bui and written by Bao Phi, and “Grand Canyon,” written and illustrated by Jason Chin.

The Newbery, named for an 18th century publisher of children’s books, was first awarded in 1922. The Caldecott, awarded to the illustrator who creates “the most distinguished picture book for children,” is named for a 19th century illustrator. This annual award began in 1938.     

Visit the library or bookstore to find Newbery- and Caldecott-winning books—they often have the medal or honor stamped on their covers.

March 2018