100 Scope Notes
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The 2013 Newbery, Caldecott, and Geisel: Winners and Reactions

The biggest awards in Children’s literature have been doled out, let’s take a look at the three categories nearest and dearest to me.

Click here for video of the awards.

Newbery Medal: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Honor: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
Honor: BOMB by Steve Sheinkin
Honor: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

I stood up for this one. While John Schumacher and I named The One and Only Ivan our favorite book of 2012, and I was more confident than usual that it would get its name called, I thought it would be for Newbery Honor. It was a thrill to see Ivan take the gold seal. But maybe even better than hearing that the book won was watching Mr. Schu’s wonderfully awestruck, tear-filled reaction. And it was a good day for BOMB, which pulled in the Sibert medal and YALSA nonfiction honor as well.

Caldecott Medal: This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Honor: Creepy Carrots! illustrated by Peter Brown, written by Aaron Reynolds
Honor: Extra Yarn illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
Honor: Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Honor: One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
Honor: Sleep Like a Tiger illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue

When it was announced there would be five Caldecott honors, there was some serious crowd reaction. Rightfully so – five honor winners has only happened one other time in the last 20 years. They chose well. Jon Klassen took the day by winning the Caldecott medal and an honor in the same year – a feat that has only happened one other time in the history of the award (Leonard Weisgard in 1947). And how about One Cool Friend, eh? If you saw my mock Caldecott results, you know students were keen on this one – so pleased to see it win an honor. Sleep Like a Tiger was the surprise of this group – I can’t recall seeing this pop up on any prediction list. A surprise is always good.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal: Up! Tall! and High! by Ethan Long

Honor: Let’s Go For a Drive! by Mo Willems
Honor: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, illustrated by James Dean
Honor: Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell

I love this group of winners. I never reviewed Up! Tall! and High!, but I loved it. I know Mo Willems has won a million of these things, but as long as he keeps making books as good as Let’s Go for a Drive the man deserves it each and every time. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons! Anyone who’s been near kids in the last couple years can attest to the fact that Pete is an absolute read aloud lock. I love that this award will add some critical respect to a book that kids are going nuts for. And I couldn’t be more pleased to see Rabbit & Robot get some hardware.

A Few Additional Random Thoughts

I was surprised to find the awards over with nary a mention of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. I thought it was a lock for the Schneider and a possibility for Newbery. Ah well, I guess it just has to live with the unending love of readers far and wide and weekly appearances on the New York Times best seller list.

You couldn’t really tell on the webcast (from what I hear), but they turned on these spinning red lights when the winners were announced. We were informed it was called a “ballyhoo”, and it was awesome. When I become director of the YMAs, use of this sort of thrilling lighting will only increase.

Funny and unpredictable, YALSA president Jack Martin stole the show. He announced all the young adult awards and brought the energy. That sound you hear is thousands of librarians simultaneously wanting to become his friend. Seriously, can we get this guy to announce every year? Or at least give an opening monologue? “Well, folks, it’s been another great year in children’s literature”, before launching into a few zingers? All I’m saying is…think about it ALA.

It was a great morning. What did you think?

And there are excellent recaps elsewhere…

George’s Favorite Tooth returns with the funniest recap you’re likely to find.

A Fuse #8 Production says exactly what I would say about This Is Not My Hat vs. Extra Yarn.

For Those About to Mock and also here are pretty happy with the way things turned out.

Educating Alice gives us her thoughtful recap.

Chasing Ray gives a 22 point analysis of the whole ALA Midwinter weekend

Watch. Connect. Read. gives a thank you to the Newbery committee (and is giving away the winner).

Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog gives a short and sweet reaction.

Abby (the) Librarian gives here thoughts.

Literate Lives and also here is always insightful.

ShelfTalker provides their reactions.

A Year of Reading talks about their Newbery surprises.

Great Kid Books tells about librarians gone wild.

Calling Caldecott was watching from the other coast.

Delightful Children’s Books gets in on the action.

Any more to add? Let me know in the comments.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Loved Jack Martin! He was such a hoot – made the awards the celebration that it was.
    Great day for children’s literature! My first thought when I woke up this morning was: “The
    One and Only Ivan won the Newbery Award!” Beyond great!

  2. Definitely my favorite list overall of the past few years. And having missed the Newbery winners prior to the announcements for the past two years, it feels good to be in the know!

    I’ve put in a request for a ballyhoo every time I enter a room. Wouldn’t that be great?

    • Travis Jonker says

      The more ballyhoo, the better. And I’m with you, I like these picks more than other recent years.

  3. I would love to see Neil Patrick Harris (hey, he does children’s audio!) do an opening song, as well.

  4. Total love bomb for Jack Martin!

  5. This was such a good year for the YMAs! My full-length squeeing over the whole thing is here: http://kidlitgeek.blogspot.com/2013/01/ala-yma-2013.html

    Favorite things, for me: ONE COOL FRIEND’s Caldecott Honor, SERAPHINA’s Morris win, and Tamora Pierce getting the Margaret A. Edwards award.

  6. I was able to watch the announcements live as I (finally) got a snow day, and it was quite the show! I’ve added a few titles to my library reserve list. I, too, was surprised and disappointed that Wonder wasn’t recognized at all. My 6th graders have fallen in love with that book for the past two years.

    And now I have a bit of a crush on Jack Martin. ;-)

  7. How could I possibly resist on the book gushing?! Such great wins!

  8. Such happiness! Here’s my recap post: http://sonderbooks.com/blog/?p=17439 Such a great batch of books! (I was especially happy that our fledgling Mock Newbery Book Club’s pick, Three Times Lucky, was up there.)

    I’m curious if you’re going to adapt your blogging now that you’re reading for the Caldecott. Will you be more coy?

  9. YES! I agree! What happened to Wonder?! It should have been a lock for a Schneider unless they thought it was going to win a Newbery or that Auggie’s condition was too rare???? What were they thinking? Please enlighten!

    • Actually, I didn’t think Wonder was even eligible for a Schneider. Because they mention several times in the book that Auggie does NOT have a disability. He just has a deformed face. (Though, hmm, what about the hearing aids?) But Auggie and his sister make that point a couple times, if I remember right. And I believe the Schneider specifically mentions “disability.”