Every March, the most well-known awards are given for children's literature: the Newberry Award and the Caldecott Award (awarded for excellence in literature and illustration, respectively). I have had mixed feelings over those awards -- I rarely think the winners are the best books of the previous year. However, a somewhat new award does select tip-top reads, and that is The E.B. White Read Aloud Award.
Every year this award chooses one picture book and one chapter book that are the year's best read alouds. Anyone who knows me in the context of relating to children, knows that I am a HUGE fan of reading out loud. I have an enormous library of chapter books that I have read out loud to children of assorted ages and genders -- Roald Dahl, Skinny Bones, Hundred Dresses, Narnia, etc. I have been delighted with previous E.B. White award winners, and I'm hoping this years' winners will prove to be equally as excellent. The chapter book is Alabama Moon, and the picture book is Houndsley and Catina. As much as I love Amazon, I encourage you to support your local bookstore if you decide to check out one of these titles -- especially if you live in Illinois -- little plug for Julie here!
Last year's chapter book winner, Each Little Bird that Sings, was one of the best children's books I have ever read. I heartily recommend it for either the moms and dads that read my blog who might be looking for a fantastic story with a moral that will cause even you to reflect, or for my grown-up readers who like to recall those bittersweet childhood days.