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And the Winners Are…

The American Library Association has just announced the winners of the biggest prizes in children’s literature.

The book covers for Big and The Eyes and the Impossible are in front of a striped backdrop.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Knopf Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books

If you’re looking for a book you can sink your teeth into, you might want to check out some Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners. Each January, the American Library Association (ALA) gives these prizes to the best children’s book (Newbery) and best picture book (Caldecott) of the previous year. The latest Newbery and Caldecott winners were announced on January 22, 2024, taking their place among some of the greatest kids’ books of all time.

The 2024 Newbery selection is The Eyes and the Impossible by Dave Eggers. The story is about a dog named Johannes who roams freely through a city park. Johannes is both the narrator and the “eyes” of the book. With help from some of the park’s other animal residents, he watches over the park to make sure the balance between people and nature is maintained. When the park is thrown off balance, it looks as if the only home Johannes knows could change forever.

The Caldecott Medal went to Big, by author and illustrator Vashti Harrison. The book explores how the words a young girl hears as she grows up affect the way she feels about herself. Like all Caldecott winners, Big has beautiful illustrations that help tell the story. Some of the pages have no words at all—but the pictures show the young girl’s emotions.

“For me, this story was really about the words we give and share with children, and I wanted to make a story that followed a child on a journey towards self-love,” Harrison told National Public Radio (NPR).

Vashti Harrison; © Brecht Van Maele

Vashti Harrison (left) wrote Big, which won the Caldecott Medal. Dave Eggers (right) is the author of The Eyes and the Impossible, winner of the Newbery Medal.

If you’re interested in Newbery and Caldecott books (or any other books), ask a teacher or librarian for help. Newbery or Caldecott Medal winners have a round gold seal on their covers.

Check out a previous In the News page for book recommendations and more!

NEWS EXTRA!

Happy Lunar New Year!

Two smiling girls hold red envelopes and artwork in front of Chinese decorations.

 © Gins Wang—iStock/Getty Images Plus

Lunar New Year, a major holiday in China and around the world, begins on February 10, 2024. This annual holiday takes place on the day of the year’s first new moon—sometime in late January or February.

Lunar New Year is celebrated over the course of 15 days. Celebrations take place in several countries. The best known is Chinese New Year. 

Lunar New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start. People often clean their homes before the new year to remove any bad luck from the previous year. They also decorate their homes in red, which is said to ward off bad luck.

The holiday is a time to gather. Families get together for a feast, and children receive red envelopes filled with money. 

In the traditional lunar calendar, each year is represented by an animal. 2024 is the Year of the Dragon.

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Did You Know?

Black and white photo of Coretta Scott King smiling.

Warren K. Leffler—USN&WR/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-U9- 32953-11)

Coretta Scott King

Big by Vashti Harrison also won Coretta Scott King Book Award author and illustrator honors. Named for the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognize children’s books by Black authors that reflect the experience of Black Americans.

How to Write a Story

© 88studio/stock.adobe.com

What makes a good story? Think about the books or movies you love. All those great stories have certain things in common, such as interesting or relatable characters, a conflict, or problem, and a beginning, a middle, and an end.

You can write your own story! The questions below will help you get started.

  1. What’s the story about? Ideas can come from all over the place. You might base your story on something that happened to you, or maybe you’ll be inspired by a dream you had.
  2. Who is the story about (your main character), and where does the story take place (your setting)? Do you want to write about a rabbit that works in an ice cream factory? How about a basketball player who travels to Venus? It’s up to you!
  3. How does the story begin? Here’s where you introduce your main character. You can reveal things about your character’s personality here as well. Is this character funny? Brave? Maybe they’re scared to try new things.
  4. What happens in the middle of the story? A story needs to have a conflict—some kind of problem that the characters face. Maybe friends have had an argument. Maybe aliens just landed in the middle of New York City!
  5. What happens when the character faces the problem? The character should try to solve the problem and maybe even learn something along the way. This is what makes a story interesting.
  6. How does the story end? The conflict usually gets resolved at the end of the story.

Stories Are Never Out of Style!

© Maria Starus/Dreamstime.com

People have been telling stories for thousands of years. You can learn more about storytelling and different types of stories at Britannica!

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Word of the Day

yarn

Part of speech:
noun
Definition:

: an exciting or interesting story

Definitions provided by
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