This cover image released by Candlewick Press shows "Merci Suárez Changes Gears," by Meg Medina, which won the John Newbery Medal. (Candlewick Press via AP)

Meg Medina wins Newbery medal, Sophie Blackall the Caldecott

January 28, 2019 - 1:43 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Meg Medina's "Merci Suarez Changes Gears," the story of a Florida sixth grader's struggles at school and at home, has won the prestigious John Newbery Medal for "outstanding contribution to children's literature." Sophie Blackall's "Hello Lighthouse," in which the natural world is seen through the eyes of a lighthouse keeper, received the Randolph Caldecott Medal for best picture book.

The awards, the year's most anticipated in the children's books community, were announced Monday by the American Library Association.

Claire Hartfield's "A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919" won the Coretta Scott King author award for African-American literature, while Ekua Holmes was given the King illustrator award. Elizabeth Acevedo's "The Poet X," winner last fall of the National Book Award for young people's literature, received the Michael L. Printz Award for best young adult novel and the Pura Belpre author award for Latino literature. The Belpre award for illustration went to Yuyi Morales for "Dreamers." Tara Westover's best-selling memoir "Educated" was among 10 winners of the Alex Award for adult works appealing to teen readers.

Medina, a Cuban-American and author of young adult, middle-grade and picture books, has received numerous previous awards. She won the Belpre author prize in 2014 for "Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass" and an Ezra Jack Keats medal in 2012 for best new writer. Blackall is an Australian-born artist and illustrator whose other works include "Are You Awake?", an adaptation of Aldous Huxley's "The Crows of Pearblossom" and a collaboration with author Jacqueline Woodson, "Pecan Pie Baby."

Neil Gaiman received an honorary "Lecture Award" and M.T. Anderson the Margaret A. Edwards award for lifetime achievement. The late Walter Dean Myers won a legacy award.

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