Jack Gantos won the most important award for children’s literature Monday for a book whose main character is named . . . Jack Gantos.

Dead End in Norvelt,” which won the Newbery Medal for best children’s book of 2011, takes place in the Pennsylvania town where author Gantos grew up. He mixes some real incidents from his childhood in this town named for former first lady EleaNOR RooseVELT and adds in some fantastical adventures to create a funny, sweet novel for kids age 10 and older. He spoke about the book, about bloody noses and writing about dead people as a boy during his visit to the National Book Festival in September. You can watch him by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=
. (Always ask a parent before going online.) Gantos’s other books include the popular Joey Pigza series.

The other big award announced by the American Library Association was for best picture book. Chris Raschka’s “A Ball for Daisy” won the Randolph Caldecott Medal.