February 2nd, 2022 by Kidsmomo
It’s that time of year again — when children’s book fans feverishly refresh their social media feeds on one device, add to their to-read lists on another device, shout in surprise, holler in excitement, and just generally make a ruckus. Anyone who thinks that librarians are quiet never observed them during book awards season!
Last week, the American Library Association announced the 2022 Newbery Medal Winner and 2022 Newbery Honor Books. Every year, the Newbery is given to “the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”
This year’s big winner is The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera — which also won the the 2022 Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award! The Pura Belpré Awards honor Latine writers and illustrators whose books portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latine cultural experience.
So if you’re trying to decide what to read next, check out The Last Cuentista or Donna Barba Higuera’s previous book, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance — or any of this year’s Newbery Honor recipients (official descriptions from the publishers):
2022 Newbery Medal Winner:
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
Había una vez…
There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.
But Petra’s world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children — among them Petra and her family — have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.
Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet — and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard — or purged them altogether.
Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?
2022 Newbery Honor Books:
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
Reha feels torn between two worlds: school, where she’s the only Indian-American student, and home, with her family’s traditions and holidays. But Reha’s parents don’t understand why she’s conflicted — they only notice when Reha doesn’t meet their strict expectations. Reha feels disconnected from her mother, or Amma, although their names are linked — Reha means “star” and Punam means “moon” — but they are a universe apart.
Then Reha finds out that her Amma is sick. Really sick.
Reha, who dreams of becoming a doctor even though she can’t stomach the sight of blood, is determined to make her Amma well again. She’ll be the perfect daughter, if it means saving her Amma’s life.
A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger
[Note from Kidsmomo: This book is recommended for ages 12 and up.]
Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories. Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.
Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries. And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.
Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff
It’s the summer before middle school, and 11-year-old Bug’s best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn’t particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there’s something more important to worry about: A ghost is haunting Bug’s eerie old house in rural Vermont… and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they’re trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light…
Watercress written by Andrea Wang, illustrated by Jason Chin
Driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl’s parents stop suddenly when they spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road. Grabbing an old paper bag and some rusty scissors, the whole family wades into the muck to collect as much of the muddy, snail covered watercress as they can.
At first, she’s embarrassed. Why can’t her family get food from the grocery store? But when her mother shares a story of her family’s time in China, the girl learns to appreciate the fresh food they foraged. Together, they make a new memory of watercress.
Are you adding any of these books to your to-read list? Or have you already read them? Leave a comment and let us know!