I have ranted about this before. Almost a year ago to be exact, when last year's awards were announced. So, I will leave it up to you whether or not you want to know where my frustration comes from.
I am not in any way dismissing the value of these awards or the books that receive them. I buy them for my library and I will read them to Isaac, if I haven't already. They are the oldest and most well-known of the awards given by ALA each year and serve an important role in bringing attention to good children's literature.
But, I would encourage you to look beyond the Newbery and the Caldecott lists to the other, lesser-known awards and lists that recognize very good, if not better, children's books.
Here are a few examples:
If you have a young child (pre-school, beginning readers) look at the Geisel Award winners for reading suggestions.
If you have a child who is interested in non-fiction (as many boys are) look at the Sibert Award winners for great titles.
Or look beyond the award lists all together and peruse the Notables lists. These are books that may not have won one of the prestigious awards, but have been recognized as exemplary.
Many states have award programs that empower children to nominate and vote for the books that get the award. North Carolina's program has been running for several years and the books on the list are always an interesting mix.
The ALA is a great resource for finding books to share with your boy. But these books are chosen by adults who are looking at specific criteria established by a committee. Boys, and other children, don't look at a list of criteria when searching for books to read. They look for subjects they find fascinating, covers that look interesting, or pictures that capture their attention.
So, keep the lists handy if you need some inspiration, but let your boy loose in the library and I am sure he will find something to read. It may not be on any list but his, but who cares?