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'Criss Cross' Nets Newbery Medal for Perkins

Jan 24, 2006 (Talk of the Nation)

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Lynne Rae Perkins' coming-of-age novel about a group of friends is this year's winner of the John Newbery Medal, awarded to outstanding writing in children's literature. Criss Cross tells the story of 14-year-old Debbie as she wishes something would happen to her to make her life different.

In telling Debbie's story, Criss Cross delves into a variety of sub-plots, as well as a wealth of story-telling tools. Haiku, art, and an interview format are all used to describe how young people in the 1960s grapple with mysteries of life and love.

The Newbery Medal is administered by the American Library Association. In awarding the prize to Perkins, award committee chair Barbara Barstow praised Criss Cross as "an orderly, innovative, and risk-taking book in which nothing happens and everything happens."

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