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American Library Assn. announces 2012 Youth Media Award winners

January 23, 2012 | 10:45 am

DeadendinnoreltThe American Library Assn. announced the 2012 winners of its annual Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and other awards Monday in Dallas. The awards are given to authors and illustrators of books, audio books and videos for children and young adults.

Jack Gantos won the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature with his novel "Dead End in Norvelt." The ALA described the book as "an achingly funny romp through a dingy New Deal town."

Author and illustrator Chris Raschka took the Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children with "A Ball for Daisy."

"Where Things Come Back," from debut young adult author John Corey Whaley, won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults, as well as the William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. The ALA described Whaley's novel about a boy agonizing over his brother's disappearance as "a groundbreaking coming-of-age tale."

Kadir Nelson, author and illustrator of "Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans," won the Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing African American authors. Shane W. Evans, illustrator and author of "Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom," won the Coretta Scott King Book Award for illustration.

AballfordaisyDuncan Tonatiuh won the Pura Belpre Award honoring a Latino illustrator for "Diego Rivera: His World and Ours;" Guadalupe Garcia McCall won the Belpre Author Award for "Under the Mesquite."

Susan Cooper won the 2012 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. The Theodor Geisel Award for most distinguished beginning reader book went to "Tales for Very Picky Eaters," written and illustrated by Josh Schneider.

"The Running Dream," written by Wendelin Van Draanen, won the Schneider Family Book Award for best teen book embodying an artistic expression of the disability experience. "Close to Famous," by Joan Bauer and Brian Selznick's "Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures," won the Schneider Award for middle-school readers.

Wherethingscomeback"Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy" by Bil Wright, won the Stonewall Book Award for exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

Ten books were named as part of the 10th annual Alex Awards, given to adult books that appeal to teen audiences. The winners include:

    "Big Girl Small" by Rachel DeWoskin
    "In Zanesville" by Jo Ann Beard
    "The Lover's Dictionary" by David Levithan
    "The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens" by Brooke Hauser
    "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern
    "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline
    "Robopocalypse: A Novel" by Daniel H. Wilson
    "Salvage the Bones" by Jesmyn Ward
    "The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt: A Novel in Pictures" by Caroline Preston
    "The Talk-Funny Girl" by Roland Merullo

ALA President Molly Raphael, during the ceremony at the association's midwinter meeting in Dallas, called the Youth Media Awards "one of the highlights" of her job. One of the fundamental roles of librarians is "empowering parents and caregivers with youth-friendly materials that will encourage children and teens to read. I hope to find today's titles in school libraries which desperately need our support ... to raise a nation of avid readers," said Raphael, whose organization is currently petitioning the White House to dedicate funding to school libraries.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photos: Cover art for "Dead End in Norvelt," by Jack Gantos; A Ball for Daisy," by Chris Raschka; "Where Things Come Back," by John Corey Whaley. Credits: Farrar Straus Giroux, Schwartz & Wade Books, Atheneum Books for Young Readers