April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

*UPDATED* Applegate, Klassen Win Newbery, Caldecott Medals

Newbery and Caldecott 2013 winners

The audience erupted in cheers Monday morning after “Animorphs” (Scholastic) author Katherine Applegate was named the winner of the Newbery Medal for her heartfelt and unforgettable story The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins), and Jon Klassen was awarded the Caldecott Medal for This Is Not My Hat (Candlewick) at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards for 2012, which were announced during ALA‘s annual Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, WA. Another Klassen project, Mac Barnett’s picture book Extra Yarn (HarperCollins), was named a Caldecott Honor book.

Katherine Applegate

The Newbery for The One and Only Ivan, Applegate’s uniquely creative, fictional take on the true story of a silverback gorilla who once lived in glass enclosure in a shopping mall, surprised many attendees who had not shortlisted it for the win. Nevertheless, the book had many enthusiastic fans among the crowd in Seattle, who agreed that it wasand would continue to bea hugely popular choice with kids.

California resident Applegate was visiting relatives in Virginia when she was surprised by the call from the Newbery committee this morning, only an hour and a half before the YMAs presentation began, she tells SLJ. “I was stunned, totally delighted but speechless,” she says. “The speechlessness went on for a while, then I screamed, and my family marched in at that, and there were a lot of screams! Then we watched the webcast and it was great. It was fun to watch with no anxiety, because they had called me already.”

Writing the book “was absolutely a process,” Applegate says. “I knew I wanted to do First Person Gorillabut figuring out that voice was really tough. It helped a lot to think that gorillas would be poetic, so I took a spare poetic approach to the prose. I tried doing it very journalistically and found that it was a really short book. The fictional element made it more cohesive and a longer story.”

Applegate credits her win in part to a large community of online fans, especially on Twitter, who have been championing the book and who have conducted huge amounts of outreach to middle readers, including John Schumacher and The Nerdy Book Club. “I have gotten so much support from different communities,” she says. “They have helped tremendously in how visible the book was to readers.”

Adds Applegate, “It’s just surreal! I know what a lottery it is because there were so many good books this year. It’s a huge honor but it could have been any one of them.”

Jon Klassen

And although This Is Not My Hat was a Caldecott favorite going into the awards, “I was actually very, very surprised,” Klassen tells SLJ. “I had done a pretty good job of convincing myself not to think about it, so it came out of the blue. It’s such a big thing to think that you were going to get mentioned at all, (the dual win) didn’t register. I’m still getting used to the idea that people are looking at these books, much less giving them the distinction.”

As an illustrator, Klassen says, “You do have this weird ‘tiny room’ relationship with a book. It’s my little guy, the book I made in my house! It doesn’t seem real seeing it in stores.”

Fortuitously, Klassen has collaborator Mac Barnett to help him navigate these strange new waters. “We had dinner last night!” he says. “I was already on a plane to San Jose for an art direction gig, and he was in Berkeley. So we got to sit down and smile across the table.”

Adds Klassen, “Mac is so smart and so plugged in to this whole librarian community, so he’s been helping me out how this world works. Librarians are very important! It’s been crazy to find this stuff out. It’s not a marketplace angle; librarians are looking for what’s best for kids, so they have different criteria. The opinions that they give out are really thought through. They’re very passionate.”

Klassen’s achievement in creating both the Caldecott Medal book and illustrating a Caldecott Honor book is notable; he is only the second illustrator to have done so in the award’s 75-year history. The other distinguished artist was Leonard Weisgard in 1947, who  illustrated Caldecott Medalist winner The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown (writing under the pseudonym of Golden MacDonald), and the Caldecott Honor book Rain Drop Splash by Alvin R. Tresselt.

“Leonard Weisgardhe’s amazing,” Klassen says. “He did such interesting work.” For Klassen, being now placed in the same category as an illustrator “is the hardest thing to process for me,” he says.

Another surprise win, according to many SLJ spoke to today, was Nick Lake’s In Darkness (Bloomsbury), which was awarded the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in YA literature. “We are basking in the glow,” Beth Eller, Bloomsbury’s director of school and library marketing, tells SLJ. “We are thrilled, surprised, and stunnedbut most of all thrilled. There were just so many good books this year. It was an ambitious novel; it’s nice to see it get some recognition.”

The crowd was also ecstatic to learn that the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, will be presented to Tamora Pierce for her significant and lasting contributions to YA literature via her “Song of the Lioness” series. The award is sponsored by SLJ.

Other big winners of the day were Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon (Roaring Brook Press) by Steve Sheinkin, which scored the YALSA nonfiction award, the Sibert Informational Book Medal, and a Newbery Honor; and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Simon & Schuster) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, which also was selected three times: for the Stonewall Award, the Belpré Author Award, and a Printz Honor.

Although Sheinkin knew Bomb was a strong contender for the YALSA nonfiction award, he was “really surprised by the other awardshappily so,” he tells SLJ.

In fact, after the YALSA committee informed him of his win for the nonfiction award on Saturday night, he turned off his phone before the Sibert committee was able to reach him. “They tried to call me many times last night,” he says, “but then they left a message. But that was cool, too.” (Now he has the message saved, he says.)

Sheinkin hopes his cross-category wins might signal a trend of growing popularity for exciting young adult nonfiction overall among kids.

“It’s really cool to break out of just the nonfiction category,” he says. “That’s my biggest thingI’m a big proponent of history for kids, of nonfiction, but also trying to win over people who just want to read a good book. To prove to young readers that this kind of book can be fun also is a really big thing. A lot of kids know it (some kids are into history) but some kids are scared of it.”

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Meanwhile, Sáenz, after hearing of his three wins across categories “had a frantic and beautiful morning, was in class all afternoon and then quietly celebrated by taking a walk in the desert,” he tells SLJ, adding that the Stonewall award was a “complete surprise” and the Printz honor left him “stunned.”

He notes, “the Belpré people called me the night before and I was absolutely thrilled. They were all on speakerphone and I could hear them screaming. They were very sweet and I didn’t know what to say. I don’t know that we as authors should expect awards; they are gifts to us. I get really choked up. I’m just grateful for the gifts. I would hope my mother raised a gracious man, who knows how to say thank you.”

He also notes that the book’s cross-category recognition is a testament to how well it was marketed by Simon & Schuster as well as the word of mouth of reviewers and librarians who recommended it. “They felt that everybody should read this book, they put it into everybody’s hands,” he says. “It takes a village to take the book out into the world. We had a great village.”

The prolific authorwho writes poetry, children’s books, and adult novels in addition to YA literaturesomehow found the time to write Aristotle and Dante while teaching bilingual creative writing and acting as MFA department chair at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is already deep into his next project, another dramatic YA novel. “I’m always writing,” he says.

* * *

Here is the list of winners of the ALA’s Youth Media Awards:

(John) Newbery Medal
The One and Only Ivan. Katherine Applegate. HarperCollins.

Splendors and Glooms. Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick.

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. Steve Sheinkin. Flash Point/Roaring Brook.

Three Times Lucky. Sheila Turnage. Dial/Penguin Young Readers.

(Randolph) Caldecott Medal
This Is Not My Hat. Jon Klassen. Candlewick Press.

Creepy Carrots! Aaron Reynolds. Illus. by Peter Brown.
Simon & Schuster.

Extra Yarn. Mac Barnett. Illus. by Jon Klassen.
HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.

Green. Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Neal Porter Books/Roaring Brook.

One Cool Friend. Toni Buzzeo. Illus. by David Small. Dial/Penguin Young Readers.

Sleep Like a Tiger. Mary Logue. Illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Theodore Seuss Geisel Award
Up, Tall and High. Ethan Long. G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Let’s Go for a Drive! Mo Willems. Hyperion/Disney.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illus. by James Dean. HarperCollins.

Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover. Cece Bell. Candlewick.

(Laura Ingalls) Wilder Award
Katherine Paterson

Andrew Carnegie Medal
Anna, Emma and the Condors. Produced by Katja Torneman.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. Steve Sheinkin. Flash Point/Roaring Brook

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. Robert Byrd. Dial/Penguin Young Readers.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. Phillip M. Hoose. Farrar.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. Deborah Hopkinson. Scholastic.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award
My Family for the War. Anne C. Voorhoeve. Dial/Penguin Young Readers.


A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return. Zeina Abirached.
Tr. by Edward Gauvin. Graphic Universe/Lerner.

Son of a Gun. Anne de Graaf. Eerdmans.

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
Andrea Davis Pinkney

Pura Belpré Awards
Author: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Simon & Schuster.

Honor: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. Sonia Manzano. Scholastic.

Illustrator: Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert. Gary D. Schmidt. Illus. by David Diaz. Clarion.

Michael L. Printz Award
In Darkness. Nick Lake. Bloomsbury. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Simon & Schuster.

Code Name Verity. Elizabeth Wein. Hyperion/Disney.

Dodger. Terry Pratchett. HarperCollins Children’s Books

The White Bicycle. Beverley Brenna. Red Deer Press.

Odyssey Award
The Fault in Our Stars. John Green. Narrated by Kate Rudd. Brilliance Audio.

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian. Eoin Colfer. Narrated by Nathaniel Parker. Listening Library.

Ghost Knight. Cornelia Funke. Narrated by Elliot Hill. Listening Library.

Monstrous Beauty. Elizabeth Fama. Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Macmillian Audio.

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon. Steve Sheinkin
Flash Point/Roaring Brook

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different. Karen Blumenthal. Feiwel & Friends.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. Phillip Hoose. Farrar

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster. Deborah Hopkinson. Scholastic.

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. Cynthia Levinson. Peachtree Publishers.

William C. Morris Award
Seraphina. Rachel Hartman. Random House.

Wonder Show. Hannah Barnaby. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books.

Love and Other Perishable Items. Laura Buzo. Knopf/Random House.

After the Snow. S. D. Crockett. Feiwel and Friends.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post. emily m. danforth. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Margaret A. Edwards Award
Tamora Pierce for her “Song of the Lioness” series

Coretta Scott King Book Awards
Author: Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illus. by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion/Disney.

Honors: Each Kindness. Jacqueline Woodson. Illus. by E. B. Lewis.
Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers.

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller 
Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner.

Illustrator: I, Too, Am America. Langston Hughes. Illus. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster.

Honors: H. O. R. S. E.. Christopher Myers. Egmont USA.

Ellen’s Broom. Kelly Starling Lyons. Illus. by Daniel Minter. Putnam/Penguin Young Readers.

I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. Ilus. by Kadir Nelson. Schwartz & Wade/Random House.

Virginia Hamilton: Demetria Tucker
Practitioner Award for Lifetime achievement

Stonewall Book Award
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Simon & Schuster.

Drama. Raina Telgemeier. Graphix/Scholastic Inc.

Gone, Gone, Gone. Hannah Moskowitz. Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Lesléa Newman. Candlewick.

Sparks: The Epic, Completely True Blue, (Almost) Holy Quest of Debbie. S. J. Adams. Flux.

Schneider Family Book Award
Somebody, Please Tell Me Who I Am. Harry Mazer and Peter Lerangis. Simon & Schuster.

Middle Grade: A Dog Called Homeless. Sarah Lean. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Book.

Children: Back to Front and Upside Down! Claire Alexander. Eerdmans.

Karyn M. Peterson About Karyn M. Peterson

Karyn M. Peterson (kpeterson@mediasourceinc.com) is a former News Editor ofSLJ.



  1. Thanks for getting the winners up so quickly. You got the link at our library website! Good on you guys!


  1. […] Since I am a book nut and youth services librarian and I knew someone who went to Seattle this week for the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Conference, where they announce all the ALA youth media awards, I knew I wanted to post on it. They released the info on Monday, but I’ve been so scatterbrained that I’ve been unable to post on it until today. At least this year, I’ve read the Caldecott winner (wouldn’t have been my choice, but there ya go). I was happy that Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin won a Theodor Geisel Honor award, as I love that book series! And I was glad to see Seraphina by Rachel Hartman win the William C. Morris for best debut YA book, as it was a really interesting first book to the beginning of a series, especially for someone who has never written YA books before. Here are the results as taken from School Library Journal’s posting: […]

  2. […] *UPDATED* Applegate, Klassen Win Newbery, Caldecott Medals (slj.com) […]

  3. […] more about this year’s ALA Youth Media Awards for children and young adults, you can read this article at School Library Journal. Share this:Like this:Like […]

  4. […] young adult novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (S & S, 2012), was named for three of the American Library Association’s coveted Youth Media Awards, distinctions that left him both […]