Submitted by county_ys on

Every year, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), an important division of the American Library Association, debates the best children’s books of the year. The results are the winners and honor books of the Newbery and Caldecott medals, selected as the best children’s literature and picture books, respectively. The 2021 winners were just announced! This year, the Caldecott Medal went to We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and the Newbery Medal went to When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller.

We Are Water Protectors is a beautiful and moving, timely piece illustrated by Michaela Goade that details the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It honors the sacred nature of water and the life it gives while not shying away from the scarier aspects of what the pipeline could do to the environment. It is a powerful piece.

Honor Books for the 2021 Caldecott Medal:

  • A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart  illustrated by Noa Denmon and written by Zetta Elliott
  • The Cat Man of Aleppo illustrated by Yuko Shimizu and written by Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha
  • Me & Mama illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera
  • Outside In illustrated by Cindy Derby and written by Deborah Underwood

When You Trap a Tiger is a beautiful story of a girl learning through the Korean folklore stories told through her Halmoni, or grandmother. The stories encourage readers to embrace their inner tiger and stand tall, being courageous as they face the future.

Honor Books for the 2021 Newbery Medal:

  • All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team written by Christina Soontornvat
  • BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom written by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood
  • Fighting Words written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • We Dream of Space written by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • A Wish in the Dark written by Christina Soontornvat

In 2020, the Caldecott medal went to The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson, a powerful and “…poetic tribute to the resiliency, strength, and perseverance of the historical and present day Black experience,” according to the ALSC. The title, which was also named as an honor book for the Newbery medal, challenges us to look hard at the past and the present as we forge our pathways through life. As the ALSC noted, “America, this is for you.”

Honor books for the 2020 Caldecott Medal:

  • Bear Came Along illustrated by LeUyen Pham and written by Richard T. Morris
  • Double Bass Blues illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez and written by Andrea J. Loney
  • Going Down Home With Daddy illustrated by Daniel Minter and written by Kelly Starling Lyons

The 2020 Newbery medal winner took not only the honor of the title, but also made history as the first graphic novel to do so. New Kid, written and illustrated by Jerry Craft, tells the incredibly moving story of navigating racism and daily microagressions while also growing up and trying to figure out who you are and where you belong. Readers are pushed out of their comfort zones as they enter the intimate world Craft has created, giving them “… a glimpse into what it means to be other,” according to the ALSC.

Honor books for the 2020 Newbery Medal:

  • The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes written by Christian McKay Heidicker and illustrated by Junyi Wu
  • Other Words for Home written by Jasmine Warga
  • Genesis Begins Again written by Alicia D. Williams
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