This is my first time participating in Weekly Geeks, in which book bloggers write about a specific theme. I like having a prompt, and I like having an entire week to write about it!
This week’s prompt is inspired by the American Library Association’s award announcements on Monday, January 18th: the 2010 winners of the Newbery, the Caldecott, the Printz, and the Coretta Scott King awards. While I haven’t read many of these books lately, in looking over the archive of Newbery Medal and Honor Books, I recognized many winners from long ago, that played a formative role in my development as a reader during the 1960s and 70s:
- 1972 Medal Winner: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien
- 1968 Medal Winner: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg
- 1967 Medal Winner: Up a Road Slowly, by Irene Hunt
- 1963 Medal Winner: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
- 1959 Medal Winner: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
- 1953 Honor Book: Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White
And then there’s the Caldecott Medal, where my reminiscences were even more evocative. Being an award for illustration, each title conjures up an image of the cover, or illustrations within the text. These medal winners were some of my childhood favorites, and some 40 years later I can still see myself sitting cross-legged in my bedroom, slowly turning each page and marveling at the lines, the color, the figures …
- 1964: Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
- 1961: Baboushka and the Three Kings, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov; text: Ruth Robbin
- 1958: Time of Wonder, by Robert McCloskey
- 1942: Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey
I’ve read very few of the more recent award winners, but when my children were young I sought them out, especially for gifts. The Newbery and Caldecott emblems were an automatic “seal of quality.” My girls are now in their teens, but they have developed an appreciation for reading and literature that I’m sure will endure for their lifetime. I like to imagine them looking back on these award lists someday, with memories just as fond as my own.