Each year the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes works of children's and young adult literature published in the previous year. These awards are some of the highest honors authors and illustrators can receive for their contributions to world of books and literacy. On Mon., Jan. 28, the ALA announced this year's award recipients in Seattle, Wash.
One of the most recognized awards is the John Newbery Medal, which is presented for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. This medal is given to an author who has written a compelling work of fiction. The 2013 Medal winner is Katherine Applegate for her book, "The One and Only Ivan," illustrated by Patricia Castelao and published by HarperCollins.
"The One and Only Ivan" is the story of a gorilla who resides at Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He spends his days being watched by humans through a large glass window and thinking about the television shows he watches. He also thinks about the art he creates. It isn't until a baby elephant named Ruby arrives that Ivan thinks about what his life is really like. With the arrival of Ruby come many changes; not only for Ivan but for the rest of the animals he lives with.
Three authors were also given Newbery Honors for their books. Laura Amy Schlitz, Steve Sheinkin and Sheila Turnage each had their books recognized as outstanding.
"Splendors and Glooms" by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick) is a Victorian gothic thriller full of mystery, secrets and orphans. Clara is the only child of a wealthy doctor who is entranced by master puppeteer, Gaspare Grisini. He is hired to perform at her birthday party and when he arrives he brings along his two orphan assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. It seems Clara has everything these two do not and when she is discovered missing the night after her party, it is the puppeteer and these two children who are blamed. As they do all they can to find Clara and clear their names, they discover secrets that may be the undoing of everyone involved.
Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point) is a book that tells the very real story of how the chemistry for the atom bomb was discovered and utilized to create one of the most devastating weapons in history. Filled with intrigue, spies and scientific genius, the real story behind the weapon that changed the world is incredibly interesting.
"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage (Dial) has also been nominated for the 2013 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Juvenile book. It is the tale of an orphan who washed ashore during a hurricane, Miss Moses LoBeau. She is now in sixth grade and may finally find her true family. With the help of her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, she also may find out more than she ever imagined.