By Ann Daniels

News From the East Bay Children’s Book Project

The Oscars are still a month away, but the Association for Library Service to Children just issued their annual awards for children’s literature, so let’s celebrate!

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” published during the past year.  This year’s winner is Locomotive, written and illustrated by Brian Floca. Silver-medal Honor Books were Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker; Flora the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle; and Mr. Wuffles, written and illustrated by David Wiesner.

And Oakland was there. Miriam Medow, Children’s Librarian at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library and devoted client of the East Bay Children’s Book Project, was one of the members of the selection committee. Here’s what she told us:

EBCBP: How many books did you read?

MM: 550, give or take. The publishers sent them. The UPS driver came every day for a while—I never knew how many he’d have for me!

EBCBP: How are the winners chosen?

MM: There’s a committee of 15, and everyone got to nominate 7 books. I wished I could nominate many more; this was a really strong year for picture books! At the meeting, we discussed each book that had been nominated, then cast ballots for our top three choices. There’s a formula to determine the winner: it must gain at least 8 first-place votes and have a clear lead over the other titles. Honor books are selected based on their level of support. We had roughly two days—working 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.—to make it all happen.

EBCBP: Are there any books that didn’t win that you’d like to recommend?

MM: Tiger in My Soup, written by Kashmira Sheth and illustrated by Jeffery Ebbeler.  It’s on an early-reader level, great for six or seven year olds, good story with a limited vocabulary. The illustrations are larger-than-life and very imaginative. I also loved Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom by John Rocco, about a child dealing with the dreaded experience of going for a haircut. It’s hilarious.

EBCBP: What do you look for in a great children’s book?

MM: Something kids are really going to love—something that respects kids’ understanding and appreciation, as it says in the Caldecott criteria. Too many books don’t seem to care about the audience. I love books that celebrate what kids love.

EBCBP: You’re a children’s librarian. How do you help adults choose books for their kids? How do you help kids choose books?

MM: I follow the kids’ interest. Do they want something scary? Funny? Are they into trains, fairies? I help them find whatever they want to explore.

EBCBP: What would you like to say about the Oakland Public Library?

MM: Use it! We have a lot going on. Free books, of course, but also programs and services for everyone—so much more than people realize.

Alert: Please Help EBCBP Stop Identity Thieves

identity theft photoIdentity thieves are using EBCBP’s good name to scam the public. The goldenrod brochure with the apple logo (on the left) looks like the pale yellow old brochure of ours (on the right), but the one with the apple is bogus. People have been spotted handing these out and asking for money in Albany, El Cerrito, Fremont, Oakland and perhaps elsewhere. The police are investigating.

The East Bay Children’s Book Project does not solicit for money on the street. If you see anyone collecting money for us on the street, please note the location and ask for information. DO NOT GIVE THEM MONEY! Please notify us via our website,, or call us at (510) 408-7323, and contact the appropriate police department. Help us catch these thieves.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. See our guidelines.

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