Some time ago, one of Kelly Barnhill’s children changed the ringtone on her cell phone to play the theme song from a 1970s TV show. She was “dead to the world” when that phone rang very early on Monday morning. “So that’s what woke me up at 5:15 a.m. – the theme song from Wonder Woman, only the greatest TV show theme song of all time,” said Barnhill. She is not sure who, specifically, was on the other end of the line with the astounding news that her fourth novel, The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin), had won the 2017 Newbery Medal. “I had no idea I was even on their radar. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I’m completely gobsmacked.”
“This has been a very incredible day,” said Javaka Steptoe, referring to the hours following the announcement that he had won the 2017 Caldecott Medal for his picture book Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Little, Brown), a biography of the 1980s New York street artist. When the phone rang in Steptoe’s Brooklyn home, “I was actually in the shower,” he said. “My girlfriend was yelling, ‘There’s a phone call for you! There’s a phone call for you!’ I came running to the phone dripping wet.” Of course, the news on the other end of the line was worth the awkward sprint.