Tracy Kampa

As you die-hards know, Newbery Monday morning generally finds me at the kitchen table with three or more electronic devices all tuned to the same web address. (One can never be too careful…what if one bursts into flames seconds before the awards start? You hadn’t considered that yet, had you?) After the awards start, I am usually up and pacing, still in my robe, muttering to my tablet. (Sometimes, people are glancing my way with wariness and concern in their eyes…until they remember what day it is. The wariness leaves, the concern might remain.)

This year, though, the conference was in Seattle…two hours ahead of Central Standard Time. Never before had I experienced Newbery Monday at work. My greetings of “Happy Newbery Monday!” were met with some initial confusion, but soon, everyone was on board…or pretended to be. (I work with wonderful, tolerant people!)

I knew that I could watch the results in the office, but Book Time was happening right next to my door, and my screams and moans might frighten the children. I dialed up my tablet and headed to the staff lounge. Oh! Good! Dion, my partner-in-crime, got here a few minutes early! I pulled her in with me and we set up. We were only a couple of minutes early, but the wait was insufferable. I might have let out a few excited vocalizations into my sleeve to muffle the sound. Dion reminded me that her knowledge of CPR was rudimentary, and asked if I thought we might need more professional help? No, I’ll be fine. Maybe.

Finally, finally, it’s time! There are many awards given during the hour-plus broadcast, and I have the complete list at the children’s desk if you care to see it. Many of my favorites took home awards this year. “Dreamers” by Morales was my favorite picture book of the year. It won the Pura Belpre award, which honors a Latinx writer and illustrator who best portrays the Latino cultural experience. “Julian is a Mermaid” was the winner of the Stonewall Book award, honoring books important to the LGBTQ experience. “We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” by Sorell won a Robert F. Sibert honor award and “The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science” by Sidman won the Robert F. Sibert award for best informational book. Two of my favorites won Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature: “Drawn Together” by Le and “Front Desk” by Yang. All of these books enchanted me this year, for wildly varying reasons.

The Caldecott committee named four honor books this year: “Alma and How She Got Her Name” by Martinez-Neal, “A Big Mooncake for Little Star” by Lin, “The Rough Patch” by Lies (this was a huge, albeit welcome, surprise!) and “Thank You, Omu” by Mora. The Caldecott Medal went to “Hello Lighthouse” by Sophie Blackall. Come check them out!

The Newbery Award surprised me this year! It was awarded to Meg Medina for “Merci Suarez Changes Gears.” This book was just published in September, and it wasn’t on my Newbery radar at all. (Although, due to its many starred reviews, it was already in my book cart to purchase.) I just received my copy…stay tuned! The Newbery Committee also named two honor books this year: “The Night Diary” by Hiranandani and “The Book of Boy” by Murdock.

Another of my favorites this year, “The Parker Inheritance” by Johnson, won a Coretta Scott King honor award, as did “Finding Langston” by Cline-Ransome and “The Season of Styx Malone” by Magoon. The Coretta Scott King medal went to “A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919” by Hartfield. The Coretta Scott King illustrator award went to Ekua Holmes for “The Stuff of Stars” by Marion Dane Bauer.

You know how you feel after the hubbub of Christmas morning is over and all the wrapping paper has been recycled? Yeah, that’s the week after Newbery Monday for me. This week it’s particularly brutal, with the polar vortex threatening to close Minnesota. But, wait! Horn Book just published its list of starred reviews for March and April…hmmm…oh my! “Dogs in Space” received a starred review…good thing I just ordered it! Let the 2020 Newbery Monday games begin!

This week at your library:

Monday, Feb. 4, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m., Book Time

Join ECFE teachers in the Story Circle for books, songs, finger plays, flannel board stories, and all other sorts of fun! Then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and a time to play and visit.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 10:15 and 11:15 a.m., Saturday Story Time

Join ECFE teachers in the Story Circle for books and songs, then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and a time to play and visit. Families may earn one Baby Steps coupon for attending this Story Time.


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