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Saturday, July 03, 2010

Great Story on Newbery and Caldecott Honors/Medals

In the Times, a heart-warming story about the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, given for best children's writing and best illustrations respectively. The winner for the Caldecott Medal, Jerry Pinkney for The Lion & the Mouse, has won 4 Caldecott Honors previously. He is the first individual African-American to win the honor and he won it at age 70. Rebecca Stead won the Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me. Here's a link to all the award winners this year. About Pinkney acceptance:

It was especially meaningful for Pinkney to win a Caldecott Medal for "The Lion & the Mouse" because it's a fable "that's been coursing through my mind for years.

"... I believe ultimately the enduring strength of this tale is in its moral: no act of kindness goes unrewarded. Even the strongest can sometimes use the help of the smallest. To me the story represents a world of neighbors helping neighbors, unity and harmony, interdependence."

Pinkney concluded by asking the audience something he asks school children: "Do you think I am just as excited today as I was some 46 years ago when illustrating my first book?" The answer from the audience was a resounding "Yes!"

About Stead's acceptance speech:

Reading books was vitally important to Stead as a child and "by the time I was 9, I knew I wanted to write.

"But I didn't tell anyone, because it was too wild a dream. Instead, I told people I wanted to be an actress, which I thought was much more practical, and I waited. I waited about 20 years. Meanwhile, like a lot of people who secretly want to write, I became a lawyer."

After initially trying to write for adults, Stead said that "the universe intervened by telling my 3-year-old son to push my laptop off the dining-room table. No more stories." Stead later recalled how important books had been to her as a child and she started writing again, "but this time, I was writing for children."

On that last point, well, I always think TTT - Things Take Time. A dream deferred does not have to be a dream denied.

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