2020 ALA Award Winners and Honorees

RANDOLPH CALDECOTT HONOR

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

Double Bass Blues

Double Bass Blues By Andrea J. Loney; illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez

Nic is an aspiring musician whose life spans two different worlds–his suburban school where he wows his friends in the orchestra, and the busy city streets of his home where he’s jostled by the crowd. Nic makes his way home from a busy day at school with a double bass on his back, the symphony of his surroundings in his heart, and a sweet surprise for the reader at the end of his journey. This is a sweet, melodious picture book about how dedication, music, and family can overcome any obstacle.

CORETTA SCOTT KING - JOHN STEPTOE ILLUSTRATOR AWARD FOR NEW TALENT

This award affirms new talent and offers visibility to excellence in writing or illustration at the beginning of a career as a published book creator.

What Is Given from the Heart

What Is Given from the Heart By Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by April Harrison

“Misery loves company,” Mama says to James Otis. It’s been a rough couple of months for them, but Mama says as long as they have their health and strength, they’re blessed. One Sunday before Valentine’s Day, Reverend Dennis makes an announcement during the service: the Temples have lost everything in a fire, and the church is collecting anything that might be useful to them. James thinks hard about what he can add to the Temples’ “love box,” but what does he have worth giving? With her extraordinary gift for storytelling, McKissack–with stunning illustrations by Harrison–delivers a touching, powerful tale of compassion and reminds us all that what is given from the heart reaches the heart.

SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARD

MIDDLE-GRADE WINNER

Honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

Song for a Whale

Song for a Whale By Lynne Kelly

From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.

When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?

Full of heart and poignancy, this affecting story by sign language interpreter Lynne Kelly shows how a little determination can make big waves.

STONEWALL – MIKE MORGAN & LARRY ROMANS CHILDREN’S & YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE AWARD

HONOR BOOK

Awarded to books for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.

Pet

Pet By Akwaeke Emezi

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend but also to uncover the truth and the answer to the question–How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD

MIDDLE-GRADE WINNER

This award is for outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.

White Bird: A Wonder Story

White Bird: A Wonder Story By R. J. Palacio

In R. J. Palacio’s bestselling collection of stories Auggie & Me, which expands on characters in Wonder, readers were introduced to Julian’s grandmother, Grandmère. Here, Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with Grandmère’s heartrending story: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; how the boy she and her classmates once shunned became her savior and best friend.

SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD

NOTABLE BOOK FOR TEENS

A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness By Albert Marrin

Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honoring children and shared his ideas with the public in books and on the radio. He famously said that “children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.” Korczak was a man ahead of his time, whose work ultimately became the basis for the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Korczak was also a Polish Jew on the eve of World War II. He turned down multiple opportunities for escape, standing by the children in his orphanage as they became confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Dressing them in their Sabbath finest, he led their march to the trains and ultimately perished with his children in Treblinka.

YALSA EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION AWARD - FINALIST

This award honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18).

A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness By Albert Marrin

Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honoring children and shared his ideas with the public in books and on the radio. He famously said that “children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.” Korczak was a man ahead of his time, whose work ultimately became the basis for the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Korczak was also a Polish Jew on the eve of World War II. He turned down multiple opportunities for escape, standing by the children in his orphanage as they became confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Dressing them in their Sabbath finest, he led their march to the trains and ultimately perished with his children in Treblinka.