Chris Raschka on his 2012 Caldecott Award for the picture book A Ball for Daisy. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful, complementing a heart-warming story about a small dog dealing with the loss of a special toy. It's a tale that any child-- and any adult who remembers what it was like to be a child-- will appreciate.
Jack Gantos on his 2012 Newbery Award for his novel Dead End in Norvelt. Jack Gantos, the eponymous hero of this story, set in 1962, lives in the town of Norvelt, PA, a planned community created during the Greate Depression and named for its biggest supporter, Eleanor Roosevelt. Grounded by his parents for misbehavior, Jack comes under the supervision of the local librarian, who gives him the task of typing obituaries of the town's residents. Well, it's not as dull as it sounds for soon he's having adventures involving Eleanor R., molten wax, strange promises, Hells Angels, a homemade airplane, voices from the past, and even a possible murder.
Kadir Nelson on his 2012 Coretta Scott King Award for his picture book Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African-Americans. This book expressively maps the story of the black experience in America; it's a story of injustice and hope, of racism and courage, or brutality and faith.
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