Kadohata, Henkes Win Newbery, Caldecott Medals

Posted on January 21, 2005

Cynthia Kadohata, author of Kira-Kira, and Kevin Henkes, illustrator and author of Kitten's First Full Moon, are the 2005 winners of the John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott medals. The 2005 Newbery and Caldecott medals honor outstanding writing and illustration of works published in the United States during the previous year.

Kadohata's tenderly nuanced novel glitters with plain and poignant words that describe the strong love within a Japanese American family from the point of view of younger sister Katie. Personal challenges and family tragedy are set against the oppressive social climate of the South during the 1950s and early 1960s. Graceful prose illuminates complex relationships, most notably between the two sisters. Katie's remarkably authentic voice changes to reflect both her deeper understandings and her growing sense of self over a span of almost 10 years. Kira-Kira is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

"With compelling quietude that makes room for both pathos and humor, this luminous novel takes us on Katie Takeshima's journey through a childhood punctuated by prejudice, poverty and family tragedy," said Award Committee Chair Susan Faust. "Young readers will be drawn into a narrative that radiates hope from the inside out."

The 2005 Caldecott Medal for illustration is awarded to Kevin Henkes for Kitten's First Full Moon, published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Henkes employs boldly outlined organic shapes and shades of black, white and gray with rose undertones on creamy paper to tell a simple story of a kitten who mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. The moon, the flowers, the fireflies' lights and the kitten's eyes create a comforting circle motif. The gouache and colored pencil illustrations project a varied page design that rhythmically paces the spare text.

"Thoughtful design, from the front jacket with reflective silver letters to the final image, sustains a completely satisfying read-aloud experience," said Caldecott Award Chair Betsy Hearne. "Kitten's frustration and eventual triumph´┐Żemotions familiar to young children´┐Żfind artistic expression in a meticulously crafted book with classic appeal."

Kevin Henkes was awarded the Caldecott Honor for Owen in 1994 and the Newbery Honor for Olive's Ocean in 2004.

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko and published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin; and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin.

Three Caldecott Honor Books were named: The Red Book, written and illustrated by Barbara Lehman and published by Houghton Mifflin Company; Coming on Home Soon, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, written by Jacqueline Woodson and published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, illustrated and written by Mo Willems and published by Hyperion Books for Children.



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