The year's most prestigious awards for juvenile literature were chosen by the American Library Association and announced at the ALA's midwinter meeting.
The 1998 John Newbery Medal, given for the most distinguished contribution to American literature for young adults and children, was awarded to Karen Hesse for her Depression-era novel, Out of the Dust (Scholastic).
The three Newbery Honor authors chosen this year were Patricia Reilly Giff, for Lily's Crossing (Delacorte); Gail Carson Levine, for Ella Enchanted (HarperCollins); and Jerry Spinelli, for Wringer (HarperCollins/Cotler).
Paul O. Zelinsky's oil paintings in Rapunzel (Dutton Children's Books) earned the 1998 Randolph Caldecott Medal, given to the illustrator of the most outstanding children's picture book.
Three Caldecott Honor artists also were selected: Christopher Myers, for Harlem, which was written by his father, Walter Dean Myers (Scholastic); David Small, for The Gardener, written by Sarah Stewart (FSG); and Simms Taback, for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Viking).
In addition to presenting the Newbery and Caldecott winners, the ALA announced several other award recipients:
The 1998 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, given every three years to an author or illustrator whose books have made an enduring contribution to children's literature, was presented to historian and biographer Russell Freedman.
The Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the year's best translated work was given to Jasef Holub's 1996 book, The Robber and Me, translated from the German by Elizabeth D. Crawford (Holt).
The Coretta Scott King Award, honoring African-American authors and illustrators, went to Sharon M. Draper, the author of Forged by Fire (Atheneum), and Javaka Steptoe, the illustrator of In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall (Lee & Low).
The Pura Belpre Award, which honors Latino authors and illustrators, was presented to Stephanie Garica, the illustrator of Snapshots from the Wedding, written by Gary Soto (Putnam), and Victor Martinez, the author of Parrot in the Oven (HarperCollins/Cotler).
Two divisions of the ALA have announced their 1998 lists of top books for young adults and children. The Young Adult Library Services Association's list of Best Books for Young Adults is available on the ALA Web site at www.ala.org/yalsa. The Notable Children's Book list, chosen by the Association for Library Services to Children, can be found at www.ala.org/alsc/notable98.html.
--IHSAN K. TAYLOR