We’re absolutely thrilled that 54 of this year’s American Library Association Youth Media Awards and honors went to JLG selections. We’re so proud of our amazing authors and illustrators, as well as our talented editorial team and their history of picking winners. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the winners of this year’s Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the recipients of the Coretta Scott King Author Award, Michael L. Printz Award, Robert F. Sibert Award, and Pura Belpré Award.
Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina
Winner, 2019 Newbery Medal
JLG Category PG Middle Plus
In this coming-of-age story, sixth grader Merci Suárez struggles to find her place in school and at home. As a scholarship student at a private school, she doesn’t feel like she occupies the same world as her wealthier classmates. And at home, her beloved grandfather’s strange behavior — forgetting things, falling off his bike, and getting angry for no reason — worries her. What’s worse, no one will tell her what’s going on.
Author Meg Medina expertly conveys the sense of constant change and confusion that tends to characterize the middle-school experience, as well as the strength and importance of familial bonds.
“Medina consistently and assuredly portrays Latinx girls and women who grapple with their insecurities while learning about themselves and their worlds, and middle-grade heroine Merci is a fine example. Accurate and natural use of Spanish words and sayings that fit each character’s tone builds authenticity. Medina writes with sincerity and humor to convey the experience of growing up in a close-knit family that tends to mingle too much in each other’s business while unfailingly and dedicatedly supporting and helping one another.” —The Horn Book Magazine (starred review)
Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall
Winner, 2019 Caldecott Medal
JLG Category Easy Reading
In this lushly illustrated book, the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family beautifully unfolds. Readers enjoy Blackall’s enchanting artwork as the seasons pass, the fog rolls in, and icebergs drift past.
This quiet and lovely picture book follows the keeper as he boils water for tea, lights a lamp’s wick, and enters the details of his day in his logbook. Filled with visual details, it’s a charming story boasting plenty of warmth and nostalgia.
"Blackall's accomplished illustrations are a mix of homey detail and spectacular scenery." ―The Horn Book Magazine
A Few Red Drops by Claire Hartfield
Winner, 2019 Coretta Scott King Author Award
JLG Category History High
On a July day in 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to a “white” beach. When a white man saw them and got angry, he started throwing stones, killing one of the teens. Racial conflict erupted, sparking the Chicago Race Riot and shaking the city to its foundation.
This captivating narrative highlights contemporary accounts and traces the roots of this incident, which exploded out of the tension that had been brewing for decades regarding race relations, politics, business, and culture.
"This readable, compelling history explores the longstanding and deeply rooted causes of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, which left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded (two-thirds of the casualties were black; one-third, white)." ―The Horn Book Magazine
We’re very proud to count these titles among our JLG selections, and we’re always thrilled when the books we offer our members — titles we genuinely believe in — receive much-deserved honors.
Growing up in Harlem, Xiomara Batista feels unheard by her parents, who don’t really understand her or her love of poetry.
While she feels closer to her brother, Xiomara’s relationship with her parents, and particularly her mother, is often strained due to their strict religious beliefs, which Xiomara doesn’t share.
In this novel in verse, Xiomara finally begins to find herself when she joins a poetry group at school. Poetry becomes the vehicle through which she explores her complex feelings about her life and starts to understand who she is.
“The force and intensity behind her words practically pushes them off the page, resulting in a verse novel that is felt as much as it is heard. This is a book from the heart, and for the heart.” —New York Times Book Review
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman
Winner, 2019 Sibert Award
JLG Category Biography Middle Plus
This nonfiction title examines the life of Maria Sibylla, one of the first naturalists to study insects directly and to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly.
Working in a time when women were not expected to be scientists, and when insects were believed to be “beasts of the devil,” Sibylla’s professional path was not an easy one, but here contributions to the field were significant and important.
In addition, the book’s rich illustrations help to paint a picture of one of the first female entomologists who pursued her passions and defied convention.
"A fantastic array of illustrations embellish the text with photos of butterflies, caterpillars, and chrysalises, and lovely images of Maria’s artwork and that of her father’s. Meanwhile, exceptional captions identify and establish each illustration’s relevance to Maria’s life. A vibrant, wonderfully rounded biography on a pioneering and prodigiously talented woman." —Booklist, starred review