As children head back to school, parents are likely to see books coming home with award-winning accolades on the front cover. Read up on the major awards for picture books and juvenile literature.


The Caldecott Award is named after 19th century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is presented annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association,

"to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children."

2010 winner: This year's winner is The Lion and the Mouse. A retelling of the classic Aesop fable, it is illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney.

Past winners include Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say (1994), The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1986), and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1964).


This medal was named for John Newbery, an 18th century British bookseller. It is awarded each year by the ALSC to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Newbery is

"believed to be the originator of books for children designed to give real pleasure, as well as instruction." (Indiana University-Purdue)

The 2010 Newbery Medal Winner is When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Set in New York City, the book is about sixth grader Miranda, who starts receiving mysterious notes.

Previous winners include Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (1990) and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L 'Engle (1963).

Corretta Scott King Award

In memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and in honor of Corretta Scott King carrying on his work, this award is

"given to African American authors and illustrators for outstanding inspirational and educational contributions."

2010 Author award: Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux.

2010 Illustrator winner: My People, illustrated by Charles R. Smith, Jr. Author: Langston Hughes

Past winners include Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison (2005), Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor (1982), and illustrator winner Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold (1992).

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal

The Wilder medal

"honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children."

The 2009 winner was Ashley Bryan, author of books such as Walk Together Children, and Beautiful Blackbird (also a 2004 Coretta Scott King Award winner).

Previous winners of this award include: Eric Carle, Beverly Clearly, Maurice Sendak, and the beloved Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel).

The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

According to his website, Mr. O'Dell, author of Island of the Blue Dolphins and Journey to Jericho, established this award

"to encourage other writers — particularly new authors — to focus on historical fiction. He hoped in this way to increase the interest of young readers in the historical background that has helped to shape their country and world."

Set in Kansas during the Dust Bowl of the 1930's, The Storm in the Barn by Michael Phelan is the 2010 winner.

Past winners include Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (1986), and Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson (2009).


A fairly new award, The Printz Book Award is named after Michael L. Printz, a librarian in Topeka, Kansas who was a member of the Young Adult Library Services Association. He died in 1996. The yearly award, first presented in 2000, is for a book

"that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."

The 2010 Printz winner was Going Bovine by Libba Bray, a story about a teenage boy with a terminally illness, who sets off on road trip with some unique companions. In addition to winning the award, the book also received good reviews from both Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

Previous Printz Award winners include Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (2009), The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean (2008), and Postcards From No Man's Land by Aidan Chambers (2003).