This article originally appeared in SLJ’s Extra Helping. Sign up now! and I am late publishing this post. It has been sitting in the “drafts” folder, unnoticed!
A Darkling Plain (“The Hungry City Chronicles,” HarperCollins), Philip Reeve’s dark, post-apocalyptic tale of return to a London ravaged by war and radiation, has won the Los Angeles Times‘ 2007 Book Prize for young adult fiction, announced late last week.
In a second just-announced literary honor, The Escape of Oney Judge: Martha Washington’s Slave Finds Freedom (Farrar), written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, has taken the top prize in the 2008 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards, in the category of Books for Younger Children. We Are One: The Story of Bayard Rustin (Calkins Creek) by Larry Dane Brimner has won in the Books for Older Children category.
The Addams Awards also named an honor book in its younger children category, One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II (Hyperion), written and illustrated by Lita Judge.
Honor books in the older children’s category include Rickshaw Girl (Charlesbridge), by Mitali Perkins; Elijah of Buxton (Scholastic) by Christopher Paul Curtis; and Birmingham, 1963 (Wordsong) by Carole Boston Weatherford.
Oney Judge tells the story of a slave girl who flees to freedom. “Expressive watercolors within this well-researched biography portray the bravery of Ona Maria Judge, an African-American woman who claimed, and fought for, the right to have “no mistress but herself,” the judges wrote.
The Story of Bayard Rustin introduces young readers to the controversial African-American pacifist and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, a trusted adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. “Succinct prose, powerful quotations, and fresh historical photographs place the story of Rustin’s life alongside the story of the March, revealing the breadth and depth of Rustin’s decades of commitment to confronting racism and promoting peace in the United States and in countries around the world,” the judges wrote.
The Addams Awards, from the Jane Addams Peace Association, celebrate children’s books published the preceding year that “effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races.”
A Darkling Plain, the L.A. Times winner, is the final book in Reeve’s “Hungry City” series. In a 2006 interview, Reeve told SLJ that he was aiming the “Hungry Cities” series at children 12 and upwards, “which was the age I was when I was reading grown-up science fiction.”