Bookshelf (copy)

Josie Hanneman, Bookshelf

The awards season has arrived.

In library land we put out all of our “best of” lists in December, and quickly follow that with the Youth Media Awards in January.

The Youth Media Awards include well known awards like the Newbery (awarded to an author of the best children’s book) and the Caldecott (awarded to an illustrator of the best children’s book), but there are many more, such as those for teen audiences, nonfiction, audiobooks, and lifetime achievement.

Each year I like to make predications, though I’m nearly never spot on with these. Nonetheless, these books are worth taking a look at, even if they don’t win a coveted medal.

The following are a few of my favorites in the picture book category, contenders for the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished illustrations in a children’s book. View the live Youth Media Awards on Monday, Jan. 24, at 6 a.m. here:

"Milo Imagines the World" by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Young Milo travels with his sister to an unknown destination on a city subway. The trip takes quite a while, and along the way he imagines the lives of those around him. He sketches their stories as a way to pass the time. When one of the other passengers, one he imagines with a privileged life, also disembarks at the women’s prison which is Milo’s destination, his perspective changes. Acrylic paint and collage make this world come alive, illustrating both the mundane subway car, and Milo’s amazing imagination.

"Nina" by Traci N. Todd, illustrated by Christian Robinson

This biography of Nina Simone tells of her roots in North Carolina and her fame in New York City, covering both her activism and her art. The images take on a predominantly earth-toned palette, with bright pops of color created with acrylic paint, collage, and digital tools. As a biography, this book would also be eligible for the Sibert award for informational books.

"It Fell from the Sky" by Terry Fan, illustrated by Eric Fan

The world of spiders and insects is turned upside down when a wonder drops from the sky. While we, the readers, can see that it is a marble, the insects are in awe of the mysterious item. A canny spider monopolizes on the opportunity, charging others in the insect realm to experience the treasure. This fable on the consequences of greed provides an introductory view of capitalism, supply and demand, and the uncertainty of markets. The black and white hues in graphite of the insects’ world contrast sharply with the colorful marble.

— Josie Hanneman is a community librarian at the Redmond Public Library. josieh@dpls.lib.or.usfa

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