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Profile of 2016 Newbery Medal winner Matt de la Peña

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The first time I met Matt de la Peña, he was sitting at a table in the Random House booth at the 2008 National Council of Teachers of English annual convention in San Antonio. It was shortly before the exhibit hall was scheduled to close, and the booth was empty. No fans. No signing lines. […]

The Audacious Choice of Sophie Blackall: Profile of 2016 Caldecott Medal Winner Sophie Blackall

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In 1914, Lindsay Mattick’s great-grandfather Captain Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian traveling across Canada on his way to serve in the Great War, stopped at a train station and decided to buy a baby black bear from a trapper on the platform. That was a rather audacious thing to do. As it turns out, literature for […]

Profile of 2016 CSK Author Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia

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Whenever I think of Rita Williams-Garcia, it is not long before the memory rises of a teen mother asking Rita a question at a school visit coordinated by my library, Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. The young women at the school had read Rita’s seminal novel Like Sisters on the Homefront in preparation for […]

Profile of 2016 CSK Illustrator Award winner Bryan Collier

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In 2012, I met two men whose talent and generosity would change my life: Trombone Shorty and Bryan Collier. Born and raised in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews found a broken trombone when he was four years old and taught himself how to play. By the seasoned age of six, he was leading his […]

Jerry Pinkney and the Power of Story: Profile of 2016 Wilder & CSK–Virginia Hamiliton Award Winner Jerry Pinkney

Photo: Robyn Pforr Ryan.

The power of story takes on new and exciting meaning when applied to the work of Jerry Pinkney. His choice of tales, his selection of words, the artistry of his pictures, and the way he brings these aspects together give power to the story. In exquisite and relevant ways, Jerry conveys a richness that lingers […]

2016 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Bryan Collier

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I would like to give thanks to all the members of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee for their hard work in shining a light on Trombone Shorty, as well as on many other important books. A special thanks goes out to my agent, Marcia Wernick, and to the staff of Abrams Books, especially […]

2016 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Rita Williams-Garcia

williams-garcia_gone crazy in alabama

Good morning, family. I am overjoyed to once again stand before you. Honestly, I hoped for a Coretta Scott King Honor. I just wanted to be here at the table, as one of the many being honored. You would think that by now, I’d have it together. I would know: put the phone by the […]

Drawing My Dream: 2016 Wilder Medal Acceptance by Jerry Pinkney

A great partnership: Jerry and Gloria Jean. Photo courtesy of Jerry Pinkney.

When I was notified about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, I was struck once again with the revelation that drawing changed the trajectory of my life. More than that, actually — drawing changed me. I was born in 1939, smack in the middle of a family of eight, and in the middle of another turbulent […]

2016 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Sophie Blackall

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“What about a story?” said Christopher Robin. “What about a story?” I said. “Could you very sweetly tell Winnie-the-Pooh one?” “I suppose I could,” I said. “What sort of stories does he like?” “About himself. Because he’s that sort of Bear.” I am also that sort of bear and I’m going to tell you stories […]

2016 Newbery Acceptance by Matt de la Peña

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“I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.” This is the last line of Denis Johnson’s short story collection Jesus’ Son, and it describes perfectly the way I felt way back in 2003 when I was informed that my first novel, Ball Don’t […]