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2022 Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners honor stories of apocalypse, heritage and history

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Written by Scottie Andrew, CNN

The 2022 winners of the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards, America’s premier children’s literature awards, include stories of trans boys, coming of age during the apocalypse, historical tragedies and celebrations of heritage .

The nonprofit Literacy Awards, which include the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, and Coretta Scott King Awards, recognize the best in children’s and young adult literature, from picture books to novels. And this year’s winners, announced Monday at a live-streamed ceremony, represent a wide range of experiences and backgrounds.

Newbery Medal

The John Newbery Medal, which honors the “most outstanding contribution to children’s literature”, was awarded to “The Last Cuentista” by Donna Barba Higuera. According to the publisher Dear Levine, the novel follows a girl named Petra Pea, forced to abandon Earth after a comet destroys it, who spends hundreds of years asleep until she awakens to find she is wearing the humanity’s only memories of the ancient planet.

Four other books received Newbery Honors, including ‘Watercress’ and ‘Too Bright to See’, which also received additional awards.

Caldecott Medal

“Watercress”, an autobiographical story that follows a first-generation girl rediscovering her Chinese heritage while seeking the titular leafy green in Ohio, was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal, awarded to “America’s Most Distinguished Picture Book for Children”.
Author Andrea Wang noted she was “shouting with delight” at the news, and this “Illustrator Jason Chin’s incredible, bright, and exquisite art not only brought the story to life, but also brought the lost family back to me.”

Coretta Scott King Book Award

The award named in honor of King, the civil rights activist and wife of Martin Luther King Jr., is given to black authors and illustrators whose works “demonstrate an appreciation for African-American culture and universal human values “, according to TO THE.
This year, the author and illustrator awards went to the same book: “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre”, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Floyd Cooper. The non-fiction book introduces young readers to the thriving black community of Greenwood, Oklahoma and its destruction in 1921 at the hands of a white mob.

Amber McBride received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award for her debut album “Me (Moth),” and Regis and Kahran Bethencourt, who illustrated “The Me I Choose to Be,” received the New Talent Illustrator Awards.

Nikki Grimes, a prolific author who penned the slam poetry-influenced novel “Bronx Masquerade” and picture book biographies of former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, received the Coretta Scott King Award -Virginia Hamilton for her entire career for her over 77 years. books.

Pura Belpr Rewards

The Belpr Awards, which recognize Latino writers and artists whose works “best describe, affirm and celebrate the Latin American cultural experience,” went to Higuera for “The Last Cuentista” and illustrator Ral Gonzalez for the playful picture book “Vamos! Bridge.” In the young adult category, author Raquel Vasquez Gilliland won the prize for her novel “How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe.”

Stonewall Book Award

The LGBTQ Literature for Young People Award, officially titled Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, went to Kyle Lukoff’s “Too Bright to Be Seen” which follows a trans boy’s summer of discoveries (and ghosts) and Malinda Lo’s young adult novel “Last night at the Telegraph Club,” a lesbian love story set during the Red Scare in 1950s Chinatown.

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