History of the Youth Media Awards: Part 3
Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books and media for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, the ALA Youth Media Awards guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.This series takes a look at various aspects of the Youth Media Awards.
The American Library Association established the Youth Media Awards originally to honor exemplary children’s books.
For decades, there were only two awards, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott Award, which honored the printed word and illustrations to accompany it, respectively.
But in the 1960s, with the establishment of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, began the gradual broadening and diversification of the awards, covering a wider spectrum of both media and content.
With the advent of the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award, ALA paid tribute to the role of the spoken word.
Named after May Hill Arbuthnot (pictured above), the co-creator and co-author of the Curriculum Foundation Readers – better known as the “Dick and Jane” series, the award is unique in that it honors scholarly work.
In accepting the award in 1969, Arbuthnot paid tribute to the spoken word, recalling "that long stretch of years when I was dashing from one end of the country to the other, bringing children and books together by way of the spoken word." She added, "I am a strong believer in the efficacy of direct speech.... a forthright vigorous lecture can set fire to a piece of literature that had failed to come to life from the printed page." She saw the award as a forum for "new voices speaking with new insight and new emphasis in the field of children's lectures."
The lecturer, announced annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting, may be an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children's literature, of any country, who shall prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children's literature.
This paper is delivered as a lecture in April and subsequently published in Children & Libraries, the journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. ALSC established the lecture series in 1969 with sponsorship from Scott, Foresman and Company. The lectureship is now funded by the ALSC May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Endowment, and administered by ALSC.
The lecture itself is given at a location at an institution, be it a library school, college or university or a children's library system.
This year, Peter Sís will deliver the 2012 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, on April 4 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Born in Brno, Czechoslovakia in 1949, Sís attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London. He has lived in the United States since 1982. Mr. Sís was awarded the 2008 Robert F. Sibert Medal and has illustrated three Caldecott Honor books. His work is admired throughout the world and in 2003 he was named MacArthur Fellow, an honor bestowed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Here is video of the 2011 lecture, by Lois Lowry.
And here is video of the 2008 lecture, by David Macaulay.
Don't miss the announcements of the 2012 Youth Media Awards. A live webcast from the Dallas Convention Center will begin at 7:30 a.m. CST, Jan. 23. Virtual seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The following are past May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lectures and papers:
Lois Lowry. "Unleaving: The Staying Power of Gold."
Hosted by St. Louis (Mo.) County Library
2010: Kathleen T. Horning. "Can Children's Books Save the World? Advocates for Diversity in Children's Books and Libraries."
Hosted by Riverside County (Calif.) Library System
2009: Walter Dean Myers. "The Geography of the Heart."
Hosted by the Langston Hughes Library at the Children's Defense Fund Alex Haley Farm, Clinton, Tennessee
2008: David Macaulay. "Thirteen Studios."
Hosted by South Central Library System, Madison, Wisconsin
2007: Kevin Henkes. "Books As Shelter: Going Home Again and Again."
Hosted by the McConnell Center for the Study of Youth Literature, University of Kentucky SLIS
2006: Russell Freedman. "The Past Isn’t Past: How History Speaks, and What It Says to the Next Generation."
Hosted by the Williamsburg Regional Library with the support of The Library of Virginia and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
2005: Richard Jackson. "Mutuality."
Co-hosted by the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School.
2004: Ursula K. Le Guin. "Cheek by Jowl: Animals in Children's Literature."
Hosted by Maricopa County Library District, Arizona State University (ASU), and the Arizona Center for the Book
2003: Maurice Sendak. "Descent into Limbo."
Hosted by Cambridge (Mass.) Public Library and Children's Literature New England, Inc.
2002: Philip Pullman, "So She Went Into the Garden"
Le Frak Hall, Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Flushing, NY.
2001: Susan Cooper, "Time and Again"
Scottish Rite Center, Portland, Ore., hosted by Multnomah County Library.
2000: Hazel Rochman, "A Stranger Comes to Town."
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
1999: Lillian N. Gerhardt, "Editorial License: On Library Selection Connections."
San Jose State University, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose, CA.
1998: Susan Hirschman, "Instead of a Lecture."
Richland County Public Library and the College of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.
1997: Katherine Paterson, "In Search of Wonder."
Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD.
1996: Zena Sutherland, "A Life in Review."
Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX
1995: Leonard Everett Fisher, "Imaginings and Images."
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
1994: Margaret K. McElderry, "Across the Years, Across the Seas: Notes from an Errant Editor."
Coronado Public Library, CA
1993: Virginia Hamilton, "Everything of Value: Moral Realism in the Literature for Children."
Virginia Center for the Book, Richmond, VA
1992: Charlotte S. Huck, "Developing Lifetime Readers."
Montana Library Association annual conference, Bozeman, MT
1991: Iona Opie, "The Nature and Function of Children's Lore."
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
1990: Ashley Bryan, "A Tender Bridge."
University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
1989: Margaret Mahy, "A Dissolving Ghost: Possible Operations of Truth in Children's Books and the Lives of Children."
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
1988: John Bierhorst, "Pushing up the Sun a Little."
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
1987: James Houston, "A Primitive View of the World."
Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
1986: Aidan Chambers, "All of a Tremble to See His Danger."
University of Arkansas, Little Rock, AR
1985: Patricia Wrightson, "Stones into Pools."
Indiana University, hosted by the Stone Hills Area Library Services Authority, Bloomington, IN
1984: Fritz Eichenberg, "Bell, Book and Candle."
Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center, Minneapolis, MN
1983: Leland B. Jacobs, "Children and the Voices of Literature."
Center for the Study of Literature for Young People at the University of Georgia, Athens, GA
1982: Dorothy Butler, "From Books to Buttons: Reflections From the Thirties to the Eighties."
Florida State University, Orlando, FL
1981: Virginia Betancourt, "Information: A Necessity for Survival: Strategies for the Promotion of Children's Books in a Developing Country."
Texas Woman's University, Denton, TX
1980: Horst Kunze, "German Children's Literature From Its Beginning to the Nineteenth Century: A Historical Perspective."
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
1979: Sheila Egoff, "Beyond the Garden Wall: Some Observations on Current Trends in Children's Literature."
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
1978: Uriel Ofek, "Tom and Laura from Right to Left: American Children's Books Experienced by Young Hebrew Readers."
Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
1977: Shigeo Watanabe, "One of the Dozens."
Boise State University, Boise, ID
1976: Jean Fritz, "The Education of an American."
Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
1975: Mollie Hunter, "Talent Is Not Enough."
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
1974 : Ivan Southall, "Real Adventure Belongs To Us."
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
1973: Bettina Hürlimann, "Fortunate Moments in Children's Books."
University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO
1972: Mary Ørvig, "One World in Children's Books"
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1971: John Rowe Townsend, "Standards of Criticism for Children's Literature."
Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA
Margery Fisher, "Rights and Wrongs."
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH