News: Top Children's Book Prize Winners: the Amazing True Story of Winnie-the-Pooh, and a Child's Discovery of Race and Class

The most prestigious awards in children’s literature – the Newbery and the Caldecott -- have been announced for 2016.  The winners: a moving story of a child coming to understand race and class, and the amazing true story of Winnie the Pooh.

The 2016 John Newbery Medal Winner is Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group). 

The book examines race and poverty in an urban setting, from the perspective of a small boy who asks his grandmother why he does not have some of the things – like iPods – that other children on the bus have.  De la Peña is the first Latino to win the award in its 94-year history.

The award announcement says:

CJ’s journey with his Nana is not just a simple bus ride; it is a multi-sensory experience through which he discovers that beautiful music, nature and people surround him.  CJ’s questions are familiar, and Nana answers him with gentle wisdom.  Right up until their arrival at the last stop on Market Street, Nana guides CJ to become “a better witness for what’s beautiful."

The 2016 Medal Winner of the Randolph Caldecott Award, for illustrations, is Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall and written by Lindsay Mattick (Little Brown and Company).  

Finding Winnie tells the true story of Canadian veterinarian Harry Colebourn, who on his way to fight in World War I bought a small black bear from a trapper at a train station and named her Winnie, for his hometown of Winnipeg.  He took the bear to England, where she was adopted by his unit – and she was eventually taken in by the London Zoo, where author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin fell in love with her.

The award announcement says

Finding Winnie is an incredible account of the friendship and love shared between a soldier and the real bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh. Blackall beautifully interprets this multi-dimensional family story through her distinctive Chinese ink and watercolor art, capturing intimate and historical details perfect for a child’s eye.