I just got back from Denver where I attended the American Library Association’s Mid-Winter Conference. Lots of things happen at Mid-Winter… mostly committee meetings… but among these meetings, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) chose the winner of the Newbury Medal, instituted in 1921 and awarded to the most distinguished American children’s book published the previous year. This year’s recipient was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Neil’s in good company, with past winners including Lois Lowry’s The Giver and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia to name just a couple.
Me and Neil
Readers of this blog know that The Graveyard Book was #3 book of 2008, certainly my #1 children’s book of the year. Who knew my tastes would dovetail with the Newbury committee? The Graveyard Book tells the tale of Nobody Owens, a young boy whose family is murdered, and ends up being raised in a graveyard by the dead, much like Mowgli was raised by the animals of the jungle in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. It’s a wonderful story, an exciting fantasy adventure, and a powerful coming-of-age tale that is completely deserving of this honor.
Some of you may remember that I got my literary thrill last June at BookExpo America when i got to meet Mr. Gaiman, a thoroughly accomdating and generous chap who put up with my gushing and even posed for a picture with me. You can read’s Neil’s amusing report on finding out about his Newbury win at his blog. Oh yeah, and don’t miss CORALINE, the 3-D film adaptation of Gaiman’s outstanding young adult novel that opens in theaters near you on February 6. Check out the first trailer for the film that Neil liked below.