On January 11, the annual Youth Media Awards were announced in Boston at the ALA Midwinter conference. I attended the award ceremony several years ago and found them to be–well–unlike other award ceremonies. Librarians whooped and cheered as titles were announced and frantically stabbed at cell phones to call their home libraries to share the news. Being the first to make award-winning titles accessible to library users is important business!
The Randolph Caldecott Medal is annually awarded for the most distinguished American picture book for children. This year’s winner was Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, written by Lindsey Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Through delightful illustrations and historic photographs, the book shares the story of Harry Colebourn, a Canadian veterinarian who rescued an orphaned bear cub in 1914 and took it with him to war.
Winnie (short for Harry’s hometown of Winnipeg) ultimately found a forever home in the London Zoo, but the story doesn’t stop there. A young boy forms a bond with Winnie and the pair become the main characters in books written by the boy’s father. That boy’s name is Christopher Robin Milne. His father is Alan Alexander Milne. And the bear is Winnie the Pooh.
Lindsey Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn and shares her family connection to Winnie the Pooh through the National Arts Center UK Tour under the patronage of Prince Charles.