NEW YORK – Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses, a comic superhero tale featuring a deadly vacuum cleaner and a mighty squirrel, has won the John Newbery Medal for the year’s best work of children’s literature. Brian Floca won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Locomotive, a story of the early years of train travel that Floca also wrote.
The awards, the most prestigious in children’s publishing, were announced Monday by the American Library Association. DiCamillo, a popular and acclaimed author, won the Newbery a decade ago for The Tales of Despereaux. The Library of Congress recently named her National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
When they called this morning about the Newbery, I don’t think I said anything that made any sense, DiCamillo said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. I mostly just wept.
The Caldecott winner, Locomotive, appeared on numerous lists for the best children’s books of 2013. Floca’s previous credits include illustrating the Poppy series by the Newbery-winning author Avi, the pen name for Edward Irving Wortis.
Markus Zusak of The Book Thief fame received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement. Brian Selznick, whose The Invention of Hugo Cabret won the Caldecott in 2008 and was later adapted into a film by Martin Scorsese, was chosen to give the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, scheduled for 2015.
Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood received the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult book. Rita Williams-Garcia’s P.S. Be Eleven won the Coretta Scott King Book Award for the best African-American book.