This year’s Caldecott, Newbery, and other prestigious awards for the best children’s and young adult literature highlight the growing diversity in children’s literature.

The awards, announced yesterday, are presented each year by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Winners are selected from the best children’s books published in the United States during the previous year.

Whether your child is reading chapter books alone, or you’re looking for a new favorite bed time story to read aloud, we suggest that you look no further than these well-written and beautifully illustrated 2015 award winners.

2015 Caldecott Winnersbeekle

The Randolph Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the year’s “most distinguished American picture book for children.” This year’s Caldecott Medal was awarded to author and illustrator Dan Santat for his book, The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friendwhich tells the story of an imaginary friend waiting for his turn to be imagined by a child and the journey he undertakes to “the real world” to find a friend.

Six more children’s books were also named Caldecott Honor books. These include: Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo; The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, written by Barb Rosenstock; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett; Viva Frida, by Yuyi Morales; The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant; and This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki.

2015 Newbery Medal Winnercrossover

The John Newbery Medal is awarded each year “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” The 2015 Newbery Medal was awarded to The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander. A “novel in verse” The Crossover is a story of family, basketball, and brotherhood, told from the point of view of its 12-year-old narrator and his twin brother.

Two additional Newbery Honor books were also selected—El Deafo written and illustrated by Cece Bell, and Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson.

 2015 Geisel Award WinnerYou are (Not) Small

Named for Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seuss), the Geisel Award recognizes the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers.

This year’s award went to You Are (Not) Small, written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant. With fun illustrations, simple text, and a a lesson on size and perspective, it’s easy to see why this new book is a favorite.

Two additional Geisel honorees include Mr. Putter & Tabby Turn the Page, written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Arthur Howard, and Waiting Is Not Easy! written and illustrated by Mo Willems.

2015 Batchelder Awardmikis

The Batchelder Award is given to the best children’s book originally published outside the United States in a language other than English.

Mikis and the Donkeyoriginally published in the Netherlands, was awarded the 2015 Batchelder Award. Written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman, and translated by Laura Watkinson, this Dutch book tells the story of Mikis, a young boy living on the Greek island of Corfu, and his donkey.
Two books were also selected as Batchelder Honor titles: Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust, written by Loic Dauvillier and illustrated by Marc Lizano, and Nine Open Arms, written by Benny Lindelauf.

2015 Pura Belpré Awardbutterfly hill

Named for the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library, the Pura Belpré Award is presented to the “Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience.” This year’s Author Award was given to I Lived on Butterfly Hill, by Marjorie Agosín and illustrated by Lee White while the Illustrator Award was presented to Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales.

2015 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded to the author and illustrator of the most right worddistinguished informational book. This year’s award went to The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, which was also selected a Caldecott Honor book. It’s an engaging illustrated biography celebrating learning and words as it tells the story of Peter Mark Roget who brought us one of the most important reference books ever.

For more award-winning books, visit the ALA site for the complete list of winners and see Learning Liftoff’s coverage of the 2015 Young Adult Library Association’s Awards for teen books and audiobooks.

Which children’s books were your family’s favorites in 2014? Share your picks in the comments below.

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