A ‘children’s book every Tahoe-Truckee adult should read
February 23, 2016
TRUCKEE, Calif. — In my 18 years as a children's librarian, 2016 marks the first year that a picture book earned the John Newbery Medal for literature, the most prestigious prize in American children's book publishing.
Traditionally, the Newbery Medal is given to a chapter book in either the juvenile or the young adult genre.
As one might expect, the book is a true gem, written by the first Hispanic author to win the Newbery, Matt de la Peña. "The Last Stop on Market Street" is the story of a young African American boy named CJ who every Sunday after church, rides with his grandma across town.
CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn't he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beautyand funin their routine and the world around them.
“Like still waters, de la Peña’s story runs deep. It finds beauty in unexpected places, explores the difference between what’s fleeting and what lasts, acknowledges inequality, and testifies to the love shared by an African-American boy and his grandmother.”Publisher’s Weekly
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Publisher's Weekly starred review effused, "Like still waters, de la Peña's story runs deep. It finds beauty in unexpected places, explores the difference between what's fleeting and what lasts, acknowledges inequality, and testifies to the love shared by an African-American boy and his grandmother."
While I won't give away the ending, I will say that it celebrates the joy and the importance of service to others. This is a message that bears repeating early and often from childhood through grandparenthood, as this book so eloquently presents.
Not only did "The Last Stop on Market Street" earn the Newbery Medal, it also was a Randolph Caldecott Honor Book for illustration. The winner of the Caldecott Medal was another charming picture book, "Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear," written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.
"Finding Winnie" tells the real-life story of a Canadian veterinarian on his way serve in World War I who rescues a little black bear at the train station and names her Winnie for his hometown of Winnipeg.
Winnie eventually ends up at the London Zoo, where she becomes a favorite of author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin — the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh.
Mattick is the great-granddaughter of the veterinarian, and the book concludes with actual family photographs and memorabilia from the actual story.
In my 18 years as a children's librarian, this is also the first year that I have purchased both medal-winners for my personal collection. If you would like to see for yourself, visit us at the Truckee Library, where you can find not only these two winning titles, but also the Newbery and Caldecott honor books as well.
Teri Andrews Rinne is the children's services librarian at the Truckee Library, 10031 Levon Ave. Call 530-582-7846 or visit mynevadacounty.com/library.