The American Library Association announced its annual awards for children's books while meeting in Philadelphia this week.
Baltimore librarian Laura Amy Schlitz has won this year's John Newbery Medal for best children's book for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village (Candlewick, 96 pages, $19.99).
The book began as a project Schlitz worked on with fifth-graders studying the Middle Ages in the early '90s...
The result is 22 monologues written in prose and verse. Robert Byrd's illustrations add a whole other dimension. Publishers Weekly had this to say: "The artist does not channel a medieval style; rather, he mutes his palette and angles some lines to hint at the period, but his use of cross-hatching and his mostly realistic renderings specifically welcome a contemporary readership."
The Randolph Caldecott award for top picture book went to Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 544 pages, $22.99), which follows the adventures of an orphan boy who lives in a Paris train station at the turn of the 20th century.
The New York Times' John Schwartz writes: "Hugo Cabret evokes wonder. At more than 500 pages, its proportions seem Potteresque, yet it makes for quick reading because Selznick’s amazing drawings take up most of the book. While they may lack the virtuosity of Chris Van Allsburg’s work or David Wiesner’s, their slight roughness gives them urgency. The result is a captivating work of fiction that young readers with a taste for complex plots and a touch of magic — think Harry H., not Harry P. — can love."