2019 Newbery and Caldecott Awards

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Today the Newbery and Caldecott Awards for 2019 were awarded by The Association for Library Service to Children today with the Newbery going to Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina and the Caldecott going to Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

My expectations for the Newbery winning book is that it should be amazing, life-changing, and so well-written you can’t put it down…Something like one of these books, Front Desk, or The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. (Or even one of the Newbery Honor winners.) But this year’s winning book missed the mark for me just like last year’s.

What do you think about the winning books? Please comment below!

2019 Newbery Award Winner and Honor Books

2019 Newbery Award Winner
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina is the Newbery winner.
I have abandoned this book twice. I’ll give it a third go… and I will actually finish it this week because it won the Newbery award. However, neither the writing nor the story drew me in. It is a decent story. Just not particularly original or compelling.

Essentially, it’s a slice-of-life story about 6th-grader Merci who is attending a private school on a scholarship. That isn’t going well especially when a mean girl sets her sights on Merci. And Merci’s grandfather is declining with age which weighs heavily on her mind.

Two other books were named Newbery Honor Books:

Newbery Honor Book 2019
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Written in a diary as letters to her deceased Mama, Nisha shares how her life is turned upside down when the British rule of India ends in 1947, splitting the country into two. Nisha is living in the North which becomes primarily Muslim and is renamed Pakistan. The South becomes predominantly Hindu and is still called India. Even though Nisha’s mom was Muslim, due to prejudices and mob-mentality, Nisha and her family are forced to leave their home in the north because they are half Hindu. It’s a harrowing journey and confusing time. This story, filled with historical significance, is masterfully told. You won’t want to put this book down.
Newbery Honor Book 2019
The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
I have mixed feelings about this story — it’s cool but really different. I’d categorize it as magical historical realism set in Europe during medieval times. It’s the story of a humpback boy who joins a “pilgrim” on a search for a specific Saint Peter relics to redeem the pilgrim’s soul. The pair eventually develop a camaraderie of sorts. Then, to their surprise, the boy discovers that his hump contains WINGS! And that he is an angel. Suspend belief for this engaging story filled with symbolism, Catholic history, and adventure.

2019 Caldecott Winner and Honor Books

What can I say? Art is subjective. These are gorgeous books, I do adore Thank You, Omu!. But I was hoping to see Dan Santat on this list for his work on Drawn Together or Yuyi Morales for Dreamers. However, these are all lovely books.

 2019 Caldecott winner 
Hello Lighthouse
by Sophie Blackall is the Caldecott winner.

Four books were named Caldecott Honor Books.

 2019 Caldecott honor book 
Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

 2019 Caldecott honor book 
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
by Grace Lin

2019 Caldecott honor book
The Rough Patch 
by Brian Lies

2019 Caldecott honor book 
Thank You, Omu!
by Oge Mora

2019 Newbery award winner and honor books 2019 Caldecott Winner and Honor Books

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  1. I feel the same way! I really loved Hello Lighthouse, but I was hoping to see Dreamers win. And Front Desk was my top choice for Newbery too. I haven’t read Merci Suarez yet, but I picked it up yesterday so we’ll see.