Quick break from my New Year, Old You series this month as we all take the day off (please discuss with your employer, this may not actually a national holiday) to celebrate the big winners of the annual Children’s Book Oscars. While I celebrate this year’s winners, and encourage them to thank their moms before the music starts playing over their acceptance speeches, this story on Morning Edition today actually reminded me of how much I love, love, loved last year’s Newberry and Caldecott selection.
Last Stop on Market Street is the sweet tale of young CJ and his Nana as they take the bus after church. Parents might recognize their own children in CJ’s plaintive and constant questions. Why do they have to wait in the rain, take the bus, get off in an ugly neighborhood? Nana is patient, kind and positive with each answer, gently reminding him “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” There is beauty indeed as they arrive at their destination, a soup kitchen where they serve treasured regulars. Matt de la Peña‘s words and Christian Robinson‘s pictures combine perfectly to pay witness to goodness and love in the world. And they represent an all too rare reflection of diversity in children’s literature (ahem, publishers).
Also, for a little Monday Fun Day. Yes, Random House. You understand. Good one.