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It’s time for Round 2 of our prestigious Newbery Knockouts and Caldecott Clashes! The competition has been cut way, way down, and some old favorites had to fall by the wayside. Here are our top players in the Newbery category:
A Newbery winner has staying power. So this time, I asked our competitors to tell me what part of the book would still have them thinking in five years.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Gaia, Editorial Manager for Arrow Book Club
One of Ivan’s talents is painting, but he only paints what he sees in his small cage at the Big Top Mall. When Ivan realizes that he must do something drastic to save Ruby he has a breakthrough and begins painting from his imagination. In five years I will still be thinking about the moment when Ivan’s hard work pays off and Julia, the daughter of the mall janitor, discovers Ivan’s new paintings are like a puzzle. She puts them together and realizes that Ivan has drawn a picture of Ruby in a zoo with the word home spelled out.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Ann Marie, Editorial Director for Arrow, TAB & TeenRC Book Clubs
In five years, I’ll still be thinking about what a profound and positive impact one book can make. Wonder is one of a few very special books that have made their way around our entire editorial staff. As soon as one colleague finished it, he or she couldn’t wait to pass the tear-stained pages on to someone else. The book took on a life and an energy all its own, and I don’t think this experience is unique to Scholastic. All across America, people are passing Wonder to their friends and coworkers and along with it, the book’s message of hope and persistence and, most importantly, kindness.
Bomb by Steve Sheinkin
Trevor, Editorial Manager for Tab & TeenRC Book Clubs
There are so many elements and parts of this book that will stick with me: the fact that this really happened, the level of espionage that was taking place, and more. However, the moment after we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima is the one that will stick with me for DECADES! Sheinkin illustrates the devastation on the ground immediately after the bomb hit with finesse and has stunning quotes from survivors that bring this larger-than-life travesty back into reality—it truly shows the power and danger of a weapon like the atomic bomb. This is one of the most poignant, heartbreaking, and astonishing scenes I’ve read all year.
I had a little more trouble getting our Caldecott competitors down to three, so I threw caution to the wind and had FOUR people talk about their Caldecott picks. I asked them “Why does your book have the best art?”
Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
Laura, Editorial Director for Firefly Book Club
Baby Bear sees blue…and you and your child will enjoy every color in this vibrant book. The illuminating spreads feature Wolff’s ink-block prints paired with beautiful bright watercolors. Parents will appreciate the detailed ink renderings while children will be drawn to the simplicity of the colors and shapes she uses. I especially love when Baby Bear sees yellow: the little bear is about to embark on the day’s exploration and the warmth of the yellow implores readers to join him.
Unspoken by Henry Cole
Kate, Editorial Manager for SeeSaw Book Club
Compassion, fear, and courage are all depicted solely through illustrations in Unspoken. It is as if you are peeking into an artist’s intimate sketchbook, and as you turn each page, the story comes to life. With each mark of his pencil, Henry Cole has mastered storytelling through his pictures in a way that words cannot.
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Heather, Senior Marketing Manager for Honeybee and Firefly Book Clubs
The Academic: One of the qualifying statements about the Caldecott winner is that the book be the “most distinguished American picture book for children.” When Extra Yarn came out almost exactly one year ago, several friends who don’t work with kids or books sent me notes about it. If Klassen’s art can speak to adults so strongly that they need to discuss it right away, I’d say it’s distinguished.
The Gut: Because it has had me thinking about how seamlessly art, craft, and literature can work together. And how rarely we get to experience that trio working together.
And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Lori, Associate Director of Title Presentation
There is something magically simple about Erin Stead’s illustrations in And Then It’s Spring. She opens a window into a fully realized world, filling each page with textured settings that reflect the familiar sparseness of winter landscapes and yet are sprinkled with details that bring to life this story’s particular place and time. Each creature in the book—from the snacking birds to the waiting boy to the stomping bears—has its own distinct personality, and Stead captures emotions like worry and curiosity with warmth and wit. Unique, expressive, and delightful!
So there you have it. Round 2 has begun. Sound off on your favorites in the comments below!
January 23, 2013