Add these to your to-read pile! Newbery winner and more

In case you didn’t hear, the American Library Association announced its 2015 youth media awards on Monday. That includes the Caldecott Medal (for picture books), the Newbery Medal (for middle grade), various Coretta Scott King awards (recognizing African American authors and illustrators) and the Printz Award (for young adult books.)

While I’ve read several books that were honorees — like “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “El Deafo” — I haven’t read the top winners of either the Caldecott or the Newbery.

The Crossover

“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” written and illustrated by Dan Santat won the Caldecott. It’s the story of an imaginary friend seeking the perfect child to pair with. “The Crossover” by Kwame Alexander won the Newbery. It’s a novel in verse about twin brothers dealing with growing up, family ties and basketball.

Count them among my to-read pile, along with a bunch of the others on the ALA list.

Also count this children’s book on my to-read pile when it debuts next month: “Rad American Women A-Z.” It’s an alphabet book featuring biographies of women from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston. According to Bitch Magazine, the selected women are “diverse in terms of race, era, and in their field of work, ranging from scientists to writers and activists.” I can’t wait to check it out!

Rad American Women A-ZA book that came out this week that I hope to pick up soon is “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia” by Miranda Paul, who is in one of the online writers community I participate in. It’s the true story of five women tackling the plastic trash problem in their village.

One_Plastic_Bag_Cover_Miranda_Paul

What rad children’s books have you added to your to-read list lately?

Got graphic novels?

Illustrator Mary Rockcastle recently posted a list of “9 Graphic Novels Every Girl Should Read” that look wonderful. Hat tip to Emily C. for sharing the link with me!

Although the headline refers to “girls,” I don’t think Rockcastle’s suggestions are geared to children. Some would no doubt be good for teenagers, though. I’ve only read two on the list, so getting to the rest is now among my 2015 reading goals.

For younger kids, my top graphic novel recommendation is Cece Bell’s “El Deafo.” Published by Abrams last year, it depicts a deaf girl navigating friendships and crushes while wearing a “phonic ear” device that allows her to hear her teacher anywhere in the school. (Yes, that includes when the teacher’s in the bathroom!) It’s actually a memoir about Bell’s own childhood, though she’s portrayed as a rabbit.

Here’s a video of Bell talking about “El Deafo”:

Got any suggestions for graphic novels focused on social justice events, characters or themes? If so, please share them in the comments!

(And if you feel iffy about the merits of reading graphic novels, go read this feature story I recently wrote on the subject: “Want your kid to read more? Give them graphic novels.”)