Every year when the Youth Media Awards are announced, I check to see how many starred reviews each book professional publications gave them. There are six publications that regularly review children's books: School Library Journal, Booklist, Bulletin for Children's Books, Horn Book, Publisher's Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews. Six in total. How did the winners and the stars match up?
This year there seemed to be a correlation between winners and the starred reviews they received. There were only three books that earned six starred reviews this year and two of them won an award: Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming won the Sibert Informational Book Award and The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh also by Candace Fleming won the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. Some years the books that receive the most starred reviews don't win any awards so two out of three was very good.
Five of the winners earned five starred reviews. Two were Newbery Medal books--When you Trap a Tiger and BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom. The Printz Award winner---Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story); The Odyssey Award winner for audiobook production was Kent State by Deborah Wiles; and a Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor book was a graphic biography by Tyler Feder called Dancing at the Pity Party.
Five additional awards went to books that earned four starred reviews. There were several books that got less starred reviews than one would expect but all in all I'd say that 2020 was a good year for those of us who pay attention to starred reviews in helping us predict the winners.
(I confess I lost steam for looking up the stars on all the honor books for each category. So I only listed the award winners for most categories. I am sure that many of the unlisted honor books also earned many starred reviews.)
See the starred review numbers next to each book below. If there are no stars it means I couldn't figure out if they earned any or not.
John Newbery Medal
- Winner: “When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller.⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
- Honor books:
- “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, illustrated by Michele Wood ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
- “Fighting Words,” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley ⛤⛤⛤⛤
- “We Dream of Space,” by Erin Entrada Kelly, illustrated by Erin Entrada Kelly and Celia Krampien ⛤⛤⛤⛤
- “A Wish in the Dark,” by Christina Soontornvat ⛤
Randolph Caldecott Medal “We Are Water Protectors,” by Carole Lindstrom ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Coretta Scott King Book Awards :
- “Before the Ever After,” written by Jacqueline Woodson. ⛤⛤⛤
- “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul,” by Carole Boston Weatherford ⛤
- “Legendborn,” written by Tracy Deonn. ⛤⛤
Michael L. Printz Award
- “Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story),” by Daniel Nayeri. ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
- Honor books:
- “Apple (Skin to the Core),” by Eric Gansworth ⛤
- “Dragon Hoops,” created by Gene Luen Yang ⛤⛤⛤⛤
- “Every Body Looking,” by Candice Iloh ⛤⛤⛤
- “We Are Not Free,” by Traci Chee ⛤⛤⛤
Schneider Family Book Award:
- “I Talk Like a River,” written by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith ⛤⛤⛤
- “Show Me a Sign,” written by Ann Clare LeZotte ⛤⛤⛤
- “This Is My Brain in Love,” written by I.W. Gregorio. ⛤⛤
Mildred L. Batchelder Award: “Telephone Tales” by Gianni Rodari, illustrated by Valerio Vidali, translated by Antony Shugaar. ⛤
Odyssey Award: “Kent State,” by Deborah Wiles. ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
Pura Belpré Awards:
- “¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat,” illustrated and written by Raúl Gonzalez. ⛤⛤⛤⛤
- "Efrén Divided,” written by Ernesto Cisneros. ⛤⛤⛤
- "Furia,” written by Yamile Saied Méndez ⛤⛤
Stonewall Book Award: “We Are Little Feminists: Families,” written by Archaa Shrivastav.
Theodor Seuss Geisel Award: “See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog,” written by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.⛤⛤⛤
William C. Morris Award: “If These Wings Could Fly,” written by Kyrie McCauley.
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: “The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh,” written by Candace Fleming. ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature.
- “Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist,” written by Julie Leung, illustrated by Chris Sasaki
- “When You Trap a Tiger,” written by Tae Keller ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤
- “This Light Between Us,” written by Andrew Fukuda
- “Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail,”by Lesléa Newman. ⛤ illustrated by Susan Gal.
- “Turtle Boy,” by M. Evan Wolkenstein. ⛤
- “Dancing at the Pity Party,” written and illustrated by Tyler Feder. ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤