Kate DiCamillo received the John Newbery Medal for her book “Flora and Ulysses.” Writer and illustrator Brian Floca was awarded the Randolph Caldecott Medal for his richly drawn book “Locomotive.”
This is the second Newbery Medal for DiCamillo who won it in 2004 for “The Tale of Despereaux. She became a favorite author of mine with her book “Because of Winn-Dixie,” which was a Newbery honor book. I was reminded how much I like her writing last week when a student in my writing class chose this book as her favorite to discuss with the class. I can’t wait to share it with her. But, first I want to read it. I’ve just started reading, but already laughing out loud. The book is filled with lots of illustrations by K.G. Campbell. And how can you not laugh when Flora, standing at the window and watching as the squirrel (Ulysses) is vacuumed up exclaims, “Holy bagumba.”
Floca’s book is about the beginning of the transcontinental railroad focusing on a young family’s early trip from Omaha to Sacramento.
I find it interesting that both winners are recommended for the older readers. DiCamillo’s book is suggested for grades four to six and Floca’s book is for grades three to five. One of the biggest questions in writing for children is deciding what age group will find the story appealing and interesting.