If finding age-appropriate, vocabulary-enriching, imagination-sparking, attention-grabbing books to read to your child isn’t your cup of tea, there’s good news. For those of us with not enough time or talent to pick out the best books for our little ones, help comes in the form of children’s literature awards.
The American Library Association recently announced the youth media award winners – prominent among which are Newbery and Caldecott Medals, that recognize the authors and artists with ‘most distinguished contributions to American children’s books’. This year’s Newberry Medal winner is Clare Vanderpool, author of Moon over Manifest, while Philip and Erin Stead won the Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee. I am yet to lay my hands on either – although I think the latter is what will be more age-appropriate for M. These are not the only awards in this category though – just the most well known. One look at the list of awards and past winners introduces you to many wonderful books, authors and artists you may or may not have come across earlier. I, for one, haven’t read many of these and didn’t even know about these awards until a few years ago when I began to hunt for good books to read to my baby. I guess, that may be true for most people who didn’t spend their childhood in America and who didn’t necessarily have access to these specific set of books over the years.
Now that I do have easy access to most of them online or via my local library or bookstore, I’m really excited to be discovering this whole new world of award-winning children’s books with M. I guess, in a way, it’s like revisiting childhood and making up for some of the experiences one may have missed out on. So, if you didn’t grow up reading Newberry and Caldecott winners (or, like me – hadn’t heard of them before), what are you waiting for? Now is your chance to explore a whole new world of children’s books handpicked for their creativity, rich vocabulary, artistic excellence, originality and their potential to spark imagination. I know I could definitely use a generous dose of those…and if it means hours of reading to my daughter – why, that’s win-win-win all the way!
Regardless of whether or not you get to devour these award-winners any time soon, at least, now you know that there’s an easy answer to the question – what should I read to my child?