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Silver medals

Hello, everyone. I’m back from ALA’s annual conference, which began (for me) with the devastatingly sad news that Robin Smith, co-author of this blog, had died, and ended (for me) with the Newbery/Caldecott/Wilder banquet. I will be using this space to remember our beloved Robin in the near future — oh, let’s face it, I’ll probably be […]

Profile of 2017 Caldecott Medal and CSK Illustrator Award winner Javaka Steptoe by Azure Thompson

When I first met Javaka, he was on year two of his six-year journey to the birth of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, a book that we now know begins: “Somewhere in Brooklyn, between hearts that thump, double Dutch, and hopscotch and salty mouths that slurp sweet ice, a little boy […]

2017 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Javaka Steptoe

“Nobody loves a genius child.” Langston Hughes’s poem “Genius Child” was read at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s memorial service by his friend Freddy Brathwaite, also known as Fab 5 Freddy, host of Yo! MTV Raps. It sums up the love-hate relationship many of us have with bringers of change. Our connections with revolutionaries are often uncomfortable and […]

2017 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Javaka Steptoe

I would like to begin by taking a moment to point out that I am in Chicago, and to recognize the contribution of another Jean to this day. For those of you who are unaware, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable — a Haitian man of African and French descent — established a trading post and […]

Preview July/August 2017 Horn Book Magazine

Special Issue: ALA Awards Stunning original cover art by 2017 Caldecott Medal winner Javaka Steptoe. “The Year in Pictures” and “The Year in Words”: critics Minh Lê and Jonathan Hunt discuss the books of 2016. Rudine Sims Bishop’s Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance speech. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Diversity Statistics: a conversation between […]

On Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Following in Their Fathers’ Paths” (from March 1998)

If you don’t already know, the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced this morning at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta. Among the honorees is Javaka Steptoe, who will receive the Caldecott Medal for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (read the starred review from the November/December 2016 issue of The […]

Radiant Child: The Story of a Young Jean-Michel Basquiat

I’ve been looking forward to writing about this book’s Caldecott possibilities ever since I reviewed it for the Magazine. This one is way up there on my top ten list for 2016. Maybe even at #1. I have a hunch it’s going to be this year’s Voice of Freedom, getting nods from Sibert, CSK, and […]