Lynne Rae Perkins’ “Criss Cross,” a humorous series of vignettes, illustrations and poems about a group of small town teenagers, has won the Newbery Medal for “the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature.”
“Writing in a wry, omniscient third-person narrative voice, Perkins deftly captures the tentativeness and incompleteness of adolescence,” award committee chair Barbara Barstow said Monday in a statement.
Previous winners of the Newberys, started in 1922, include Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” and Louis Sachar’s “Holes.”
The Caldecott prize for best children’s picture book was given to “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” illustrated by Chris Raschka and written by Norton Juster. The awards were announced by the American Library Association.
Perkins told The Associated Press on Monday that she was left “thrilled and wobbly and everything” by her award.
“I had planned on spending the day walking around my little town with my mouth hung open,” said Perkins, who lives in Suttons Bay, Mich. “But I have to be in New York to be on the ‘Today’ show.”
Julius Lester, the author, musician and civil rights activist, won the Coretta Scott King award for the best young people’s book by an African American. He was cited for “Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue.” The King award for best illustration went to Bryan Collier for “Rosa,” written by Nikki Giovanni.
John Green’s “Looking for Alaska” won the Printz Award for “excellence in literature written for young adults,” while the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for “the most distinguished beginning reader book” went to “Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas,” written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Sucie Stevenson.
The Andrew Carnegie Medal for best children’s video was given to the producers of Mordicai Gerstein’s “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” winner of the Caldecott in 2004. The video is narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, who stars in “Brokeback Mountain.”
Other winners announced Monday include the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement, given to Jacqueline Woodson, author of “I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This,” “If You Come Softly” and other books. The Belpre prize for best Latino author went to Viola Canales for “The Tequila Worm,” while Raul Colon of “Dona Flor” won the Belpre for illustration.