Books, Children's Books, fiction, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Illustrators, Pura Belpre Awards, Rafael Lopez

And the Winner Is…

Two time winner Rafael Lopez, artist and illustrator.
It’s quiet an achievement to win an award and I imagine a great accomplishment to win an award twice, but Rafael Lopez, artist and illustrator, is one of the few multi-award winners in children’s illustrations. Artists, such as Mr. Lopez, bring to life the words written by authors, adding another dimension to a story.  
The 16th Annual Pura Belpre award honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. The award is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate. 
One of the recipients for 2012 was Guadalupe Garcia McCall, award winning author, of “Under the Mesquite Tree.” I’ve read this book and it is exquisitely written in free verse. The emotionally riveting verse has us feel the experience of 14 year old Lupita, the eldest of a large family, who is dealing with her mother’s terminal illness. 
Artist Rafael Lopez was awarded his second 2012 Pura Belpré honor award for his illustration of “The Cazuela that the Farm Maiden Stirred.” Just look at this richly colored book cover. Makes you want to turn the page to see what else is in store for the eyes.
His artistry graces buildings in San Diego with bright colored murals and he has been asked to contribute three paintings to Oprah Winfrey’s school in South Africa. He also drew the Latin Music Legends stamp series in 2011 for the US Postal Service. 
For an interesting view on how stamps are created and the artists’ experience see Lopez’ Studio blog.
Mr. Lopez said he was thrilled beyond words to receive the honor and illustrated his reaction in this short video:
As a book lover, and owner of a tiny bookstore, I appreciate the craft that goes into the writing and illustrating of a story. These artists, both of the written word and drawings, work extremely hard to get their thoughts, concepts, and visions just right. This is what separates the average from the good and great. This is what has us cherish favorite books and reread them more than once. 
When you think back on your favorite children’s books which one’s speak to you or make your children wide eyed with amazed interest?  
ALA Awards, Authors, Best Books 2012, BookNook, Books, Coretta Scott King book awards, Diversity, Pura Belpre Awards, Youth Media Awards

American Library Awards 2012

It’s been a long time since my kids were tots or tweens but we still have favorite books like “I’ll Love You Forever,” whose cover captures a little boy playing with the toilet paper. (My sons thought it was about playing with TP so of course they wanted me to buy it). The last page still makes me cry. My boys are now young men but they still remember that book. 

If the Pulitzer Prize is the Oscar of the book world, the American Library Awards for books is up there with the Nickelodeon Awards, sans the green slime. The ALA announced their Youth Media Awards of 2012 on January 25, 2012. These books represent the best of the best. As a parent and ‘nano’ bookstore owner (BookNook) this makes my book choices easier. And I’m all for easier, saving time and money. 

The ALA awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for children and youth. What I like about these awards is their quest for diverse protagonists and characters, settings, and cultures. They also recognize book illustrators. 

One of these books won two awards and is quite different in that it is a novel that reads like poetry-a verse novel.

The Pura Belpré Award presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Author Book Winner  
“Under the Mesquite,” written by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. This author was also a finalist for the William C. Morris Award for first time author writing for teenagers. The story is about the healing power of words.
Best Illustration award given to “Diego Rivera: His World and Ours,” illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh.

The Association for Library Service for Children awards the Newbery Medal annually to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.Winner“Dead End in Norvelt,” written by Jack Gantos. Fictionalized biography of history, mystery and humor.

The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.
Winner “A Ball for Daisy,” illustrated and written by Chris Raschka. The joy and sadness of special toys.

Given to African American authors for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions, the Coretta Scott King Book Award titles promote understanding and appreciation of the culture of all peoples and their contribution to the realization of the American dream. The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

Author Book Winner Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of “Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans.” This covers the colonial days until the civil rights movement.

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:“Where Things Come Back,” written by a teacher, John Corey Whaley. It’s a story about brothers, love, loss, and faith.

Another winner was announced today, (not ALA). The Amelia Bloomer Prize for “…recommended feminist literature from birth to age 18..” is Meg Medina‘s “Tia Isa Wants a Car.” 

If your library or school doesn’t carry these books, ask them to do so. Or you can accompany your kids to the library and seek out the books together. If you have any book recommendations, let’s hear them.

For a complete list of ALA awards and winners or to view the Honor Mentions please visithe ALA website. Keep on reading and instilling a love for reading in your children.