NEW YORK – Illustrator Michaela Goade became the first Native American to win the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Medal for Best Children’s Novel, cited for “We Are Water Protectors,” a celebration of nature and the condemnation of the “black snake” Dakota Access Pipeline.
“I am truly honored and proud,” Goade, 30, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I think it’s really important for young people, aspiring book makers and other creative people to see this.”
Tae Keller’s chapter book “When You Trap a Tiger”, in which a young Korean American explores her identity and heritage through her grandmother’s stories, won the John Newbery Medal for Outstanding Work children in 2020. Keller, who was raised in Hawaii and now lives in New York City, drew on Korean folklore and family history for “When You Trap a Tiger,” also named Asia’s Best Literature. Pacific of the year.
“The book really grew from recognizing my grandmother as this whole person with so much life and so many stories to tell,” Keller, 27, told the AP. “I have also done a lot of research on Korean folklore and Korean history. I heard a lot of things growing up, but never had a fuller, deeper understanding of it all. I think that was the most rewarding part of writing this book.
Jacqueline Woodson, whose previous honors include a National Book Award, won her third Coretta Scott King Award for Best Work by a Black Author for “Before the Ever After”. And a tribute to Aretha Franklin, “RESPECT” received the King Award for Best Illustration. The book was written by Carole Boston Weatherford, with images by Frank Morrison.
The prices were announced Monday by the American Library Association.
“We Are Water Protectors,” written by Carole Lindstrom, was designed in response to the planned construction of the Dakota Pipeline through Standing Rock Sioux territory. Goade, a member of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Southeast Alaska, received a copy of the manuscript through his agent in 2018 and immediately responded to his political message and his water message in as a universal force.
“I love the way he balanced lyricism and poetry with a powerful message,” says Goade, who has used everything from watercolors to gouache paint to create moods ranging from sultry blue waves to water to the hard black of the snake / pipeline and the scorching red of the snake’s tongue.
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.