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The ones that got away: Vera B. Williams

What book do you think most deserved to win the Newbery or Caldecott and didn’t even get an Honor?

williams_stringbeans“The 1989 Caldecott Committee righted one wrong by honoring James Marshall (Goldilocks and the Three Bears), but they overlooked another work of genius, Vera B. Williams and Jennifer Williams’s Stringbean’s Trip to the Shining Sea (1988). Its innovation was stunning, challenging the conventions of the picture book in all sorts of ways, yet it stayed true to its child audience. And even the stamps on the postcards are brilliant.”

-Martha V. Parravano

williams_scooter“If I ran the circus, I would give a Newbery Medal to Vera B. Williams for Scooter (1993). I find the voice of the first-person narrator utterly convincing: feisty, funny, down-to-earth, and true. Elana meets the difficulties of her young life head on, making her own fun in straitened circumstances while gaining an ever-clearer sense of herself over the course of a momentous summer.

-Leonard S. Marcus

From the July/August 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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