Get out your favorite dress (or old bridesmaid gown) and shine up your jeweled eyeglass chain ... it's award time ladies and gents! There is no better time of year for librarians than mock book awards. Whether it's Caldecott, Newbery (yes one 'R'), or Printz, there is something effervescent and exciting about book award season. Perhaps it's that the mock events happen during the kick off to the holidays, that make it feel as if everyone in the whole world is in on the thrill. Or maybe it's knowing that you have picked the winner in your mind long before the officials have (smarty-pants that you are). Regardless, it's the time of year when librarians like me stock up on the nominees and read until my eyes burn. Librarians love the competition!
Last year, I fell in love with The Adventures of Beekle, long before it won the coveted medal of honor. The sweet innocence of the imaginary friend and the bright and expressive illustrations tugged at my heart. It's a beautiful book to read in words and pictures. This year, one of the nominees in the mock Caldecotts has had the same effect on me. Completely different than last years winner, Last Stop on Market Street focuses its lens on what's real and tangible and right in front of us everyday. CJ and his grandma live and love in a very real world with lessons and perspectives we all need to remember, this season, and especially in the current state of the world. It's emphasis on people, not things, is extraordinary and deserves to be recognized. Of all the books that seem to be contenders, I sincerely hope the Caldecott committee considers the realness of Market Street and the importance of its message. Whatever the outcome, Market Street is a winner in my heart. Happy reading!