With the announcement of the 2010 recipients of the Newberry, Printz, and Caldecott medals, Wednesday was this year’s biggest day for children’s books. Among 2010’s Printz honorees is locally-born author Adam Rapp.
Rapp’s young adult novel, Punkzilla, follows 14 year-old punk-aficionado Jamie as he journeys from Oregon to Tennessee. After running away from military school, Jamie heads to Memphis to seek out his brother who is dying of cancer. Jamie’s brother was cut off from the rest of their family after they discovered that he is gay. Not your typical young adult novel, Jamie battles meth addiction and makes his living stealing iPods. Written as a series of stream of consciousness letters, Punkzilla is a dark and gritty tale of teenage life on the streets.
Rapp was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois. After graduating from high school, Rapp accepted a basketball scholarship at Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where he became interested in fiction writing. Rapp published his first young adult novel, Missing the Piano, in 2002. He currently lives in New York City.
2010 Medal Winners
Punkzilla (Candlewick Press) shares 2010 Printz honors with Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt) by Deborah Heiligman, The Monstrumologist (Simon and Schuster) by Rick Yancey, and Tales from the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance, 1973 (Viking Children’s Books) by John Barnes. The Printz medal was awarded to Libba Bray for Going Bovine, the tale of a 16 year old boy with “Mad Cow” Disease.
This year’s Caldecott Medal, given in honor of outstanding illustrations, was awarded to Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse (Little, Brown and Company). Nearly wordless, Pinkney relies on his vivid watercolors to tell the classic Aesop fable.
The Newberry Medal, presented for significant contribution to children’s literature, was awarded to Rebecca Stead for When You Reach Me (Wendy Lamb Books). Stead’s novel follows Miranda, a sixth grader in New York City, on her quest to save her best friend’s life through the use of mysterious letters that appear to predict the future.