Jerry Craft, Kadir Nelson win honors for children’s books
New York – Jerry Craft’s “New Kid,” a graphic novel about a 7th grader’s struggle to adjust to a private school with little diversity, has won the John Newbery Medal for the year’s best children’s book. “New Kid” also received the Coretta Scott King Award for an outstanding work by an African American writer.
Kadir Nelson won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for his illustration of “The Undefeated,” a poetic tribute to African American history, featuring the words of Kwame Alexander. “The Undefeated” was also a runner-up for the Newbery prize, won by Alexander in 2015 for “The Crossover,” and won the Coretta Scott King prize for best illustrated book.
The prizes were announced Monday by the American Library Association during its annual mid-winter meeting, held this year in Philadelphia.
Other winners include A.S. King’s “Dig,” named the outstanding young adult novel, and Colson Whitehead’s novel “The Nickel Boys,” cited as one of 10 books for adults that appealed to young people. Lifetime achievement prizes were given to Kevin Henkes, whose books include “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” and Steve Sheinkin, author of such historical works as “The Port Chicago 50” and “The Notorious Benedict Arnold.”
Carlos Hernandez’s “Sal and Gabi Break the Universe” was the Pura Belpré Author Award winner for an outstanding Latino writer. Rafael Lopez received the Belpre illustrator prize for “Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln.” American Indian Youth Literature awards were given to “Bowwow Powwow: Bagosenjige-niimi’idim” and illustrator Jonathan Thunder for best picture book and to “Hearts Unbroken,” written by Cynthia Leitich Smith, for best young adult book.
Some writers from the outside book world also were honored. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor won the Schneider Family Book Award for books that “embody an artistic expression of the disability experience.” Her book, “Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You,” illustrated by Rafael López, was inspired in part on her battle with diabetes.
George Takei of “Star Trek” fame shared a prize for best young adult literature by an author of Asian Pacific background. He, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott co-wrote “They Called Us Enemy,” a graphic memoir based on Takei’s being held in a detention camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.