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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 […]

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 […]