The Caldecott and the Newberry were awarded yesterday:
- Mordicai Gerstein, won the 2004 Caldecott Medal yesterday for “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” his account of how Philippe Petit, the French aerialist, strode a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.
The award, announced at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in San Diego, is given annually by a division of the association to the illustrator of “the most distinguished American picture book for children.”
The other major award announced yesterday, the Newbery Medal for contribution to children’s literature, went to Kate DiCamillo for “The Tale of Despereaux,” a witty fable about a tiny mouse, a princess and an evil rat. It was illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering and published by Candlewick Press.
The Gerstein book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of the Millbrook Press, is a spare narrative illustrated with ink and oil paintings. It begins with “two towers side by side” and explains in pictorial detail how Mr. Petit suspended a cable and then triumphantly moved between the towers. One fold-out illustration looks down from above at the young man holding his balancing pole; another looks up at him from the perspective of people in the street.
….The children’s book awards, decided by large committees of librarians, are important to parents and publishers, who value the gold and silver stickers as symbols of quality and buy accordingly. Libraries and bookstores immediately order hardcover copies of winning titles, and the books remain in print for years. NY Times]