It is time to look at the best of the decade in children’s librarianship and literature, because what a decade it has been! There’s been highs and lows from drama in publishing to people holding one another accountable for better books, better representation, better [programming and better everything. Let’s take some time to celebrate the good that has happened. And strive to do even better in the decade to come!
These awards are solely my own opinion, not the opinions of ALSC and are completely for fun!
Best Newbery Award Winner: I’m very partial to Merci Suarez Changes Gears (the last and best Newbery winner of the decade!) but have to admit that I’m of course biased because that was my year on the committee. From Rebecca Stead starting the decade strong with When You Reach Me, to a sports book in verse winning with The Crossover by Kwame Alexander in 2015- I have to give the cake to the picture book Newbery Medal Winner of Last Stop on Market Street Matt de la Peña: a book that truyl exemplifies all six of the Newbery criteria in a very short word count!
Best Caldecott Medalist: This category was a tough one. I loved the wordless art in the 2010 winner, The Lion & the Mouse,and who can not appreciate the dark humor in This is Not my Hat, or the beauty and creativity in The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend.Since I am making the rules for these “awards” on my own, I’m declaring a draw for this winner and asking for people’s votes in the comments. Because I can! Help me make a decision please!
Best Programming Trend: From learning a digital language in coding programs, to finding the inner zen with yoga, to cuddling away with therapy dogs, to making it out of the library in escape rooms, to a surge of makerspaces and sensory programming… the list goes on and on and on! I am going to call Makerspaces the trend of the decade, they have been booming and evolving in nearly every library from big to small!
Most Unique Circulating Items: Circulating Technology, Library of Extraordinary Things, the name changes depending on the library but libraries aren’t just for books anymore. You can get laptops, iPads, phone chargers, umbrellas, cupcake tins- but my favorite item would be how you can get a borrowed stroller with a baby doll from the Elmhurst Public Library. So. Awesome.
Best Change Made: With a new decade, comes changes in the field, and this decade was one for the books. From the new Early Learning Digital Media Award, to lifelong donations from the ,1876 Club, I think a most momentous change is ALSC’s noteworthy decision to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. Will this pave the way for award name changes in the future? Only time will tell.
Best “serial” Series: We’ve seen Magic Treehouse, rebrand and renumber with Merlin Missions, we’ve watched Scholastic’s Branches make great strides in fun beginning chapter book series, we’ve seen the Princess in Black band together with her allies, we’ve watched Geronimo and his clan take over the universe and our dear Wimpy Kid have awkward exploit after awkward exploit. But I have to give it to Dav Pilkey’s latest creation: DOG MAN!!!!!!! A series where truly every book gets better than the last!
Most Exciting Substance: Is glitter a thing of the past? Is slime the new silliest item? Are rubber band balls making a comeback? Do ukuleles count as a material? With an increase in books, programming, and fun- I give the most exciting substance to SLIME! Because who doesn’t want to have a slimey time in the library?
KidLit Adaptation: There’s nothing new about movies being made from children’s books, but TV shows and now Netflix shows have taken a new rush. Netflix has gone on a spree buying rights to children’s books . To All the Boys I Loved Before, Dumplin, Series of Unfortunate Events, the controversial 13 Reasons Why series,
I have to give it to Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Such a well done series, that actually sticks to the booms surprisingly well. I need to watch this again. And read them all again.
Best library “buzz words”: New trends, new phrases, new hashtags take over the world: computational thinking, racial equity, social innovation, big body play, digital divide. I’m not sure if #weneeddiversebooks counts, but it’s my winner- keep those #ownvoices coming!
Best interactive picture book: In 2011, Herve Tullet published “Press Here,” a book with an engaging and fun concept that kids could be involved in the story. The book had huge success and was later published in big books and more formats. Tullet has written several others and started a trend of interactive picture books from Christie Mathesons, Tap the Magic Tree, Plant the Tiny Seed, and Touch the Brightest Star. Jessica Young’s Play This Book and Shake the Tree by Chiara Bignocchi, and Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Tecktentrup! Ther’s the Dinosaur Vs. Series, and It’s a Tiger! and Don’t Push the Button and Olaf 1-2-3! My winner is Tap the Magic Tree, because it can be timely in all four seasons- pretty impressive! Can this come out in big book format yet?
This post has been fun, but the decade was definitely a lot to cover- thanks for an amazing decade in children’s literature and librarianship. Let me know more nominations and more best ofs. We could recap 2010 for the whole new decade, but I cannot wait to see what’s to come!
These awards were solely my own opinion, not the opinions of ALSC and are completely for fun!