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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

This year's winners

January 28, 2009

It was exciting to be in the audience at the press conference at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association where this year's "Youth Media Awards" were announced.

Not only does the American Library Association award the well known Newbery and Caldecott Medals, but many other significant awards such as the Coretta Scott King Award, the Carnegie Medal for outstanding video, and many others of interest to those who live and work with children and young adults.

This year's Caldecott Medal went to a quiet book. Because it was quiet, I didn't give it as much attention as it deserved — at least until it received the Caldecott. Beth Krommes' illustrations for The House in the Night (Houghton Mifflin) are done in scratchboard. They effectively evoke a nighttime setting ideal for this bedtime book. It's a fine book, well worth close examination.

I'm sure that there are those who will not agree with the choice. It's simply impossible to please everyone. But the Caldecott Committee is a new one each year and so each year we have the opportunity to read, reread, examine, and consider books that provide readers with primarily a visual experience. And I know these are people who spend a great deal of time doing so.

Even when a Caldecott Medal book isn't a personal favorite, I know that it's been vetted completely and is a darn good book. I just have to learn to see it more clearly or with different, perhaps better-educated, eyes.

Just like we try to teach children to eat different foods, we need to introduce children to different styles of illustration, helping them to see things in a different way — and nurture an appreciation for the unique point of view.


Gee, I don't know the Eve Rice book. I'll have to track it down at the library!

WOW-this cover looks VERY much like the cover of Goodnight Goodnight by Eve Rice! My kids never want to read that book when I choose it until I get going and then they love it, and for some reason I always attributed that to the cover! I love books about the things kids do because they always love these books so. I can't wait to read this book!

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"I used to walk to school with my nose buried in a book." — Coolio