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'When You Trap A Tiger' And 'We Are Water Protectors' Win Top Children's Book Honors

<em>When You Trap a Tiger</em> by Tae Keller won the 2021 Newbery medal.
Penguin Random House
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller won the 2021 Newbery medal.

America's librarians announced their top children's book picks virtually on Monday – awarding the 2021 Newbery and Caldecott medals, among several other honors.

The John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished children's book in 2020 went to When You Trap A Tiger, by Tae Keller. The book's central character is a girl, Lily, whose family moves in with her dying grandmother — and a tiger from Korean folklore shows up looking for something that was stolen.

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat, BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Michele Wood, Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly and A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat won Newbery honors.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal, which the American Library Association awards to the most distinguished American picture book for children, went to We Are Water Protectors illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. The book stresses the urgent need to take care of Earth's water.

<em>We Are Water Protectors</em>, illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom, won the 2021 Caldecott medal.
/ Roaring Brook Press
Roaring Brook Press
We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom, won the 2021 Caldecott medal.

Other Caldecott honor books were: A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart, illustrated by Noa Denmon and written by Zetta Elliott; The Cat Man of Aleppo, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu and written by Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha; Me & Mama illustrated and written by Cozbi A. Cabrera; and Outside In, illustrated by Cindy Derby and written by Deborah Underwood.

ALA's Youth Media Awards include many other honors, as well, such as the Coretta Scott King Award, which was awarded to Before the Ever After, by Jacqueline Woodson.

In 2020, the Newbery was awarded to New Kid, written and illustrated by Jerry Craft. The book centers on seventh grader Jordan Banks, who transfers schools and sees privilege all around him.

Last year, the Caldecott medal went to The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander, which focuses on the Black experience.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Meghan Collins Sullivan is a senior editor on the Arts & Culture Desk, overseeing non-fiction books coverage at NPR. She has worked at NPR over the last 13 years in various capacities, including as the supervising editor for NPR.org – managing a team of online producers and reporters and editing multi-platform news coverage. She was also lead editor for the 13.7: Cosmos and Culture blog, written by five scientists on topics related to the intersection of science and culture.