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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.

And the winner is ... children!

January 26, 2012

It's always heartening to be with other booklovers — especially those who recognize that the younger we start sharing the power and pleasure of language and story with children the more likely they'll grow into lifelong learners.

It was exciting to attend what has become known as the Youth Media Awards announcements at the midwinter conference of the American Library Association.

I sometimes wonder about the effect of too many awards (it sure made for a lengthy program). Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Are there too many honors given? But I've concluded that awards can help identify books (in one form or another) that are in some way outstanding in this overcrowded field.

Sometimes authors and illustrators are recognized more than once, as was the case with this year's Caldecott Medal winner.

Chris Raschka received the 2006 Caldecott for The Hello Goodbye Window (Hyperion) and the 2012 Medal for A Ball for Daisy (Schwartz & Wade/Random).

While Raschka has a unique style, he uses it very differently in ...Daisy. The story, which is told almost entirely without words, unfolds rather like a comic book. The visual storytelling, however, needs no words to convey the small dog's joy in a toy, the devastating loss, and ultimate friendship. Young children are the most likely to take the time to carefully examine the illustrations, but readers of all ages will recognize the emotions in this seemingly simple presentation.

So congratulations to all the award winners and especially to Chris Raschka who has joined a select group of artists who can claim more than one Caldecott Medal!


Thanks, Maria, for the thoughtful article on YMA in general and "Daisy" in particular. I do love that book!

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"Writing is thinking on paper. " — William Zinsser