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March 6, 2005 Edition

Kira-Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata

Newbery Medal Book Lynn has always looked out for her little sister Katie from the time she was young, even teaching Katie her first and favorite word, “kira-kira,” which means “glittering” in Japanese. Now, their family has moved to a new town where there are no other Japanese families, where their parents work long and grueling hours, and where Lynn is suddenly very sick with cancer and it is Katie’s turn to care for Lynn and to continue to find “kira-kira” wherever she can. (chapter book)

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, by Gary D. Schmidt

Newbery Honor Book In 1912, an affluent white community in Maine destroyed an impoverished black community on a small island across the river in order to be more attractive to tourists. This is the fictionalized account of those chilling and tragic events. 13 year-old Turner meets his first African-American when he moves to Phippsburg as the son of the new preacher in town, and he and Lizzie Bright become friends. When the two find out about the plot to drive the residents of Malaga Island away, they try to find a way to stop it, but the most they can do is make sure everyone gets out alive. (young adult)

Al Capone Does my Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko

Newbery Honor Book Twelve year-old Moose has moved to Alcatraz Island, home to one of the most notorious criminals of the 1930s, so that his sister can go to a special school in San Francisco. There are other kids living there, too, all children of prison employees, and then there’s Piper. Piper is the daughter of the warden, cute as a button, and mean as a snake. Moose is just settling in, making the baseball team, and learning his way around when his sister gets kicked out of school and she’s his responsibility again. It’s goodbye to baseball and hello to trouble in this realistic and tender family story. (chapter book)

The Voice that Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights, by Russell Freedman

Newbery Honor Book Not only was this awarded a Newbery Honor, but it won the Sibert Award for informational books this year. Freedman walks that fine line between giving enough background so that readers really understand the era and events he’s writing about, while not overloading readers with trivia. Anderson, one of the greatest American singers, just wanted to sing, but because of her skin color was denied teachers, employment, and venues. It was in Europe that she made her name as a singer, and she returned to the United States in high demand as an artist. Never intending to become a mover and shaker for the civil rights movement, Anderson was nevertheless catapulted into the spotlight when she was denied rental of the Constitution Hall in Washington DC for a concert. Her decision to sing instead at the Lincoln memorial was a landmark event for civil rights and an incredible musical experience that drew 75,000 listeners of all races. (non-fiction)

Kitten’s First Full Moon, written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

This slight story of a kitten who, upon first seeing the full moon, mistakes it for a bowl of milk, is illustrated entirely in shades of grey, as befits its nighttime scenes. Henkes, famous for “Chrysanthemum” and “Julius: The Baby of the World,” mutes his sly visual humor a bit as his kitten tries again and again to reach the bowl of milk in the sky, thwarted each time by distance, water, and trees. (picture book)

The Red Book, written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman

Caldecott Honor Book In this delightful wordless book, illustrated with bright, bold pictures, a young girl finds a red book half-buried in a snowdrift. Inside, there’s a map that zooms in to show a sandy island and a young boy walking on the beach. Half-buried in the sand is a red book. When he opens it, he sees a city, and, through one building’s window, a young girl, who’s looking back at him! (picture book)

Coming on Home Soon, by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Caldecott Honor Book Set in during World War II, this is the story of a little girl left with her grandmother while her mother goes to work in far-off Chicago. Beautifully nuanced watercolors show the love between mother and daughter, and the pain that each feels at being separated. The new kitten grows, the seasons change, and the little girl and her grandmother wait anxiously for a letter that finally and joyfully arrives with good news. (picture book)

Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Tale, written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Caldecott Honor Book For the story of pre-verbal Trixie and her stuffed animal, Willems (author/illustrator of “Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”) uses black and white photographs for his backgrounds, drawing Trixie, her parents, and Knuffle Bunny in full-color over them. The story is very simple and very funny: child, stuffed bunny, and dad go to the Laundromat, where everyone has fun filling the washing machine. On the way home, Trixie has a tragic realization but can’t make her poor clueless father understand. It’s up to mom to translate for Trixie, and to send the family running back to the Laundromat, where Trixie says her first word. (picture book)

2005 Caldecott and Newbery Awards

The Caldecott and Newbery winners and honor books have been announced by the American Library Association, and we’ve got them here at the Juneau Public Libraries. The illustrations are the thing for the Caldecott awards, which are given to American picture books whose illustrations are deemed excellent and distinctive by the judges. The Newbery awards are given to distinguished books written for children by American writers. Each of these awards name one title as the Medal winner every year, and often, additional titles are named as Honor books. There’s almost always some controversy about whether one or another of the Honor books ought to have gotten the Medal instead: read them all and decide for yourself! And, for more lists of award-winning children’s books, go to, click on our Kids Stuff button, and look for “Booklists Online”.

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