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Children's Book Awards 2005

By Barbara Bietz

When you go into the children's section of your bookstore or library, there is often a section for award winning books. The most commonly referenced awards for children's books are the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott Medal.

You may have wondered exactly what these awards are and how they are chosen. The American Library Association chooses the Newbery Medal winner. This award goes to "the most distinguished American children's book." The Newbery Award was the first award specifically for children's books. The Caldecott Medal is given to the "artist of the most distinguished picture book for children." The American Library Association also awards this medal. The committee for both awards is required to consider a number of specific factors before a book is chosen for the award.

Both awards are for books from the previous year. These awards are considered the most prestigious honors in children's literature. The books that are considered finalists for the award but not chosen are given "honors." These are the books labeled with Newbery Honor or Caldecott Honor on the cover of the book.

Here are some of the recent winners. You might want to check them out!



Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata and Julia Kushkin is a wonderful story for middle grade readers. The story is told from the perspective of Katie, a Japanese American girl. Her family struggles to make a living in difficult conditions, yet Katie is full of spirit and hope. When her older sister becomes ill, Katie suffers tremendously, but never loses sight of the lessons her sister taught her.


The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a rather heart wrenching story of a poor mouse who is rejected by his family, only to fall hopelessly in love with a princess. This classic underdog is most endearing to readers. Part fantasy, part fairytale, youngsters will delight in the antics of the misfit mouse. Lovely illustrations add a little something extra to the story.


Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes is the sweet and charming tale of a kitten that believes the moon is a bowl of milk. The adorable illustrations are in black and white, and readers of all ages with delight in the antics of the adorable, inquisitive kitten. This timeless story is a must read for little ones.

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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein tells the story of Philippe Petit, a tightrope walker who ran a cable between the World Trade Center Towers and gracefully walked his way across the rope as the crowd gathered below. The story is seen by many as a tribute to the events of September 11, 2001. The exciting story is highlighted by ink illustrations and oil paint, which show Philippe's famous walk from a different perspectives. Both teachers and parents have used this story to share the history of the World Trade Center Towers and to promote discussions about September 11.

Award winning books are available in every library and bookstore. If you aren't sure which book to choose, you can't miss with a winner. Happy Reading!
About Barbara Bietz

Barbara Bietz is a writer from Oak Park, California. Her favorite pastime is reading children's books. Barbara enjoys writing for adults and children. Her work has appeared in numerous publications.

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