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Newbery and Caldecott Medals go to 'The Crossover,' 'The Adventures of Beekle'

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(Read caption) 'The Crossover' is by Kwame Alexander and 'The Adventures of Beekle' is written and illustrated by Dan Santat.

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Author Kwame Alexander took the 2015 Newbery Medal for his work “The Crossover,” while writer and illustrator Dan Santat won the Caldecott Medal for his book “The Adventures of Beekle.'

“Crossover” was released this past March and the story is told by a pre-teen basketball player who raps. The book is narrated in verse. School Library Journal gave the book a starred review, writing that “Alexander has crafted a story that vibrates with energy and heat and begs to be read aloud. A slam dunk.”

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Santat’s book “Beekle” came out in April and centers on an imaginary friend who is waiting to be selected by a child. When no one chooses him, the imaginary friend – later named Beekle – sets off on a path of his own. Publishers Weekly wrote of the illustrations, “Santat … a versatile and talented illustrator, ranges wide, drawing underwater ocean scenes, grim cityscapes, and appealing alien creatures.”

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The titles that received Newbery Honors were Cece Bell’s graphic novel “El Deafo,” which is the first graphic novel ever to be the recipient of a Newbery Honor, and Jacqueline Woodson’s book “Brown Girl Dreaming.” “Deafo” came out this past September and tells the story of a young girl with a hearing aid living in the 1970s. “Girl” is author Woodson’s memoir of growing up in South Carolina and New York in the 1960s and 1970s. “Girl” also received the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Monitor children's fiction critic Augusta Scattergood wrote that the book is "history and storytelling at their very best.... [T]here are many things to love here.... The book is filled with perfect tiny moments about family, about friends, and about writing and reading and following your dreams."

Caldecott Honors went to a book about Frida Kahlo by Yuyi Morales titled “Viva Frida” and “This One Summer,” which was written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and is a graphic novel.