AWARD WINNERS: Children’s Literature

This posting features an outline of some recent award winning Children’s Literature titles. Sometimes an award label is a great motivator for digging into a book. Sometimes not. (see article referenced below)


THE LAST  CUENTISTA by Donna Barba Higuera

winner of the Newbery Medal 2022

When the planet Earth is destroyed by a comet, Petra’s family has been chosen for a mission to begin life anew on a new plant. But the aboard the spaceship, the sinister Collective  wants to take over and control the destiny of humanity – no matter the cost to human lives.  Congratulations to Donna Barba Higuera for a fantastic journey to a new planet, for providing us with a character who carries stories of the past drawn from Mexican folklore, given to  PetraMexican abuelita, for serving the world of children’s literature a compelling, engrossing Science Fiction read. 

“A mountain-lion roar drowns out the computer’s voice. Metal clanks like a rattling silverware drawer for a long time, before it stops and levels off into a steady purr. “Gravity shell activated,” the ship’s voice says, meaning we’ve moved beyond Earth’s atmosphere.” (page49)


Winner of the National Book Award, 2021, Young People’s Literature

It is 1954,  Is it safe for two girls to fall in love, especially in Chinatown, San Francisco.

“Lily was thirtee, and she couldn’t remmber if she’d seen a group of Chinese girls like this before: in bathing suits and high heel,s their hair and makeup perfectly done. They looked so American.” (prologue)

THE LIBRARY BUS by Bahram Rahman; illus. Gabriele Grimard
Winner of the 2021 Middle East Book Award, Picture book category

In Kabul, Afghanistan, the library bus, with no bus seats, but chairs and tables and shelves and shelves of books, Pari becomes her mother’s helper and yearns to go to school to learn English, and join other Afghan girls who are in pursuit of education.  

“Pari, when you go to school next year, I want you to study hard. Never stop learning. Then you will be free,. Tell me now,” she adds with a wink, ‘how does learning make you feel?”

OUR LITTLE KITCHEN Written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Winner of Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, 2021

Resourceful neighbours come together revery Wednesday to prepare meals from garden produce and make a difference for those suffering from housing and economic insecurity.

A SKY-BLUE BENCH  by Bahram Rahman; illus. Peggy Collins

Congratulations to Bahram Rahman, Peggy Collins and Pajama Press for the 2022  honour winner of The Schneider Family Book Award, for books that emobody an artistic expression of the disability experience for children (Young Children category)

A young girl in Afghanistan is worried about sitting all day on the hard floor of her classroom with her new prosthetic leg. 

“It was right before dawn when a brave new idea came into her mind. ‘I’ll build myself a bench. surely that will help.”

WATERCRESS by Andrea Wang; illus. Jason Chin

Caldecott Medal Winner, 2022

The family of a young girl stops alongside the road to pick watercress which inspires a tender memory story of life in China, inspired by the author’s story.

“I look from my uncle’s hollow face to the watercress on the table and I am ashamed of being ashamed of my family.”


Caldecott Winners, Announced January 24, 2022

Medal: Watercress by Andrea Wang; illus. Jason Chin

Honor Books:  Have You Ever Seen a Flower? by Shawn Harris

                           Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor

                           Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carol Boston Weatherford; illus. Floyd Cooper

                           Wonder Walkers by Micah Archer

Newbery Winners, Announced January 24, 2022

Medal: The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

Honor Books: Red, White and Whole by Rajani  LaRocca

                          A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

                          Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff

                          Watercress by Andrea Wang; illus. Jason Chin



(announced on Friday October 29th):

  • The Barnabus Project, written and illustrated by Terry Fan, Eric Fan and Devin Fan (Tundra Books), won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
  • Our Little Kitchen, written and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Groundwood Books), won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
  • Powwow: A Celebration Through Song and Dance, written by Karen Pheasant-Neganigwane (Orca Book Publishers), won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non‐Fiction ($10,000)
  • The Paper Girl of Paris, written by Jordyn Taylor (HarperTeen), won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
  • Facing the Sun, written by Janice Lynn Mather (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
  • No Vacancy, written by Tziporah Cohen (Groundwood Books), won the Jean Little First-Novel Award ($5,000)

FYI: Article: 100 years of the Newbery Award

The Newbery Medal is 100. It smuggled some real duds onto our library shelves.  by Sara L, Schwebel and Jocelyn Van Tuyl

SLATE: January 21, 2022

This article presents a fine overview of the impact of awards by considering the past, the present and future winners.

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There’s no Dr. Larry Awards but these two lists shine a light on some of my favourite children’s literature titles, 2021


A KID IS A KID IS A KID by Sara O’Leary; illus. Qin Leng
MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD by Matt de la Pena; Illus Christian Robinson
OUR LITTLE KITCHEN by Jillian Tamaki

UNSPEAKABLE: The Tulsa Race Massacre  Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. Floyd Cooper
WE ALL PLAY by Julie Flett


BURYING THE MOON by Andree Poulin; illus, Sonali Zohra
LINKED by Gordon Korman