Librarians rule: The American Library Association handed out the big children's book awards Monday. Brian Selznick's graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, won the Caldecott Medal. And a librarian, Laura Amy Schlitz, won the Newbery Medal for Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.
Bloggers are pleasantly surprised at Selznick's victory. "The cheers and applause were truly notable during the announcement of a book that everyone assumed would be shut out by being neither here nor there in terms of award categories," notesMotherReader. "I really believe that Brian has created a new genre, and henceforth all books that combine pictures and a novel in such a flawless manner shall be deemed Selznickian," gushes Lisa Yee, an author of young-adult fiction. "2008 is going to be the year of the children's comic as never before," proclaims Heidi MacDonald on Publishers Weekly's comics blog, the Beat.
And Public Historian Suzanne Fischer hails Schlitz's book for energizing the field of children's historical fiction. "There's an air of stodginess that clings to historical fiction as much as it does to our small museums. Let's air it out. Historical fiction is perhaps the most visible and widely distributed genre of public history, and we should be reading, recommending, supporting, and even writing it!"
Why does the hoopla matter? "One main difference between prizes like the Caldecott and the Newbery and, say, the National Book Award or the Pulitzer, is that the children's prizes actually sell books," points out Julie Just on Paper Cuts, the New York Times' book blog.