The Newbery and Caldecott medals, the most prestigious awards given in children's literature, have been announced for 1997. The Newbery, given every year since 1922 to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children, has been awarded to E.L. Koningsburg for The View From Saturday. The Caldecott, which was originally awarded in 1938, is given annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year's medal has been presented to David Wisniewski for his work in Golem.
The View From Saturday centers on a group of four 6th graders who make up an unlikely but highly successful academic-bowl team. In the course of their preparation for the competition, they develop strong bonds with one another and with their teacher. The Newbery Award committee lauded Ms. Koningsburg's book for presenting the "potentials of both heart and mind in children" with "persuasive clarity."
Mr. Wisniewski illustrates Golem, which he also wrote, with cut-paper collages. The book's title character is a soulless clay giant for whom life becomes precious. "The power and fragility of the illustrator's medium," wrote the award committee, "is reflected in the power and mortality of Golem."
Writes of Passage, a biannual literary journal, has been developed to provide a forum for creative writing by and for teenagers. In addition to giving young adults a chance to have their work published, Writes of Passage aims to allow them a medium to express their hopes and fears about contemporary life.
Each issue of Writes of Passage includes not only original poems and essays by teenagers from around the world, but also tips from well-known authors, interviews with best-selling writers, biographical sketches of featured teen authors, and reviews of current books and movies. The journal has a companion Web site at http://www.writes.org.
Two-issue subscriptions cost $12, and are available from Writes of Passage, 6th Floor, 817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003.
In the wake of the recent drop in Scholastic Inc.'s stock, a lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York charging the company with providing false and misleading information about earnings to investors. After the publisher announced in February that it would lose between 70 cents and 80 cents per share in its third fiscal quarter, the company's stock plummeted 40 percent in one day. ("Scholastic Stock Tumbles After Sluggish Sales," March 12, 1997.)
The suit alleges that the company failed to disclose a high rate of book returns, decreased demand, and problems in its school book-club division. Such actions, the suit argues, caused the company's stock to trade at abnormally high prices--prices that were as high as $78.50 before plunging to $26.75 by early April. The plaintiffs seek to recover unspecified damages.
Scholastic Inc. denies any wrongdoing and maintains that it met all requirements for disclosure of information to investors. The company plans to challenge the validity of the lawsuit in court.