‘New Kid,’ ‘Un­de­feated’ win hon­ors for chil­dren’s books

The News & Observer (Sunday) - - Read - BY HILLEL ITALIE

Jerry Craft’s “New Kid,” a graphic novel about a sev­enth grader’s strug­gle to ad­just to a pri­vate school with lit­tle di­ver­sity, has won the John New­bery Medal for the year’s best chil­dren’s book. “New Kid” also re­ceived the Coretta Scott King Award for an out­stand­ing work by an African Amer­i­can writer.

Kadir Nel­son won the Ran­dolph Calde­cott Medal for his il­lus­tra­tion of

“The Un­de­feated,” a po­etic trib­ute to African Amer­i­can his­tory, fea­tur­ing the words of Kwame Alexan­der. “The Un­de­feated” was also a run­ner-up for the New­bery prize, won by Alexan­der in 2015 for “The Crossover,” and won the Coretta Scott King prize for best il­lus­trated book.

The prizes were an­nounced Jan. 27 by the Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion dur­ing its an­nual mid-win­ter meet­ing, held this year in Philadel­phia.

Other win­ners in­clude A.S. King’s “Dig,” named the out­stand­ing young adult novel, and Col­son White­head’s novel “The Nickel Boys,” cited as one of 10 books for adults that ap­pealed to young peo­ple. Life­time achieve­ment prizes were given to Kevin Henkes, whose books in­clude “Kit­ten’s First Full Moon,” and Steve Sheinkin, au­thor of such his­tor­i­cal works as “The Port Chicago 50” and “The No­to­ri­ous Bene­dict Arnold.”

Car­los Her­nan­dez’s “Sal and Gabi Break the Uni­verse” was the Pura Bel­pre Au­thor Award win­ner for an out­stand­ing Latino writer. Rafael Lopez

re­ceived the Bel­pre il­lus­tra­tor prize for “Danc­ing Hands: How Teresa Car­reno Played the Pi­ano for Pres­i­dent Lin­coln.” Amer­i­can In­dian Youth Lit­er­a­ture awards were given to “Bow­wow Pow­wow: Bagosen­jige-ni­imi’idim”

and il­lus­tra­tor Jonathan Thun­der for best pic­ture book and to “Hearts Un­bro­ken,” writ­ten by Cyn­thia Leitich Smith, for best young adult book.

Some writ­ers from the out­side book world also were hon­ored. Supreme Court Jus­tice So­nia So­tomayor won the Sch­nei­der Fam­ily Book Award for books that “em­body an artis­tic ex­pres­sion of the dis­abil­ity ex­pe­ri­ence.” Her book, “Just Ask! Be Dif­fer­ent, Be Brave, Be You,” il­lus­trated by Rafael Lopez, was in­spired in part on her bat­tle with di­a­betes.

Ge­orge Takei of “Star Trek” fame shared a prize for best young adult lit­er­a­ture by an au­thor of Asian Pa­cific back­ground. He, Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott co-wrote “They Called Us En­emy,” a graphic mem­oir based on Takei’s be­ing held in a de­ten­tion camp for Ja­panese Amer­i­cans dur­ing World War II.

Quill Tree Books and Ver­sify via AP

“New Kid” by Jerry Craft, left, won the John New­bery Medal, and “The Un­de­feated” by Kadir Nel­son won the Ran­dolph Calde­cott Medal.

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