The American Library Association (ALA) announced the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, illustrated by Dave McKean and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, is the 2009 winner.
My friend Dee, who teaches at an independent school in New York City, told me about The Graveyard Book this fall and said it was the "hot read" in her 5th grade class. When I was in New York last November I picked up a copy and started reading it as soon as I got on the plane to return to Rome. It is a story about a boy who is raised in a cemetery by ghosts after his family is killed in the opening pages of the novel. (The author was inspired by The Jungle Boy.)
In announcing the winner, the ALA said: A delicious mix of murder, fantasy, humor and human longing, the tale of Nobody Owens is told in magical, haunting prose. A child marked for death by an ancient league of assassins escapes into an abandoned graveyard, where he is reared and protected by its spirit denizens.