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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Awards, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,758
26. 2015 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

Despite a snow storm raging in Chicago -- and in the Northeast -- on Monday, February 2, the 2015 Youth Media Awards were announced at ALA's Midwinter meeting. We were thrilled by the titles chosen by the 2015 Robert F. Sibert Committee. We reviewed all of the honor books and the winner -- and placed them on our Best of 2014 list! We would like to give a huge thank you to all the individuals on

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27. What Makes a Good Acceptance Speech?

The 2015 ALA Awards were announced on Monday, February 2nd. After that, the winners will bask in the glow…and contemplate what to say in their speeches. Here’s The Horn Book’s (unsolicited) advice for foolproof acceptance-speech writing.

What Makes a Good award acceptance?

 

From the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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The post What Makes a Good Acceptance Speech? appeared first on The Horn Book.

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28. 2015 Coretta Scott King Awards: celebrating African American culture and universal human values (ages 4-15)

Coretta Scott King Award
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are a continued source of inspiration for me and the schools I serve. Each year, these awards are given to authors and illustrators for books that honor African American culture and universal human values. Today, I would like to share the winning books with you. As the award website states,
"The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood."
2015 CSK Illustrator Award
Firebird, illustrated by Christopher Myers and written by Misty Copeland. In this stirring, beautiful picture book, Copeland creates a conversation between a young girl who dreams of dancing and herself as a professional ballerina (my full review) Myers illustrations are full of vibrant, saturated colors and help children visualize a story as they listen to Copeland's poetic text.

I read Firebird today with 2nd graders -- Jeehyun said, "It's like it was showing the young girl's life cycle," as she grew up and followed her dreams. I smiled, as we thought back to Jeehyun in kindergarten and wondered what advice she would have to herself as she was just starting school. It was a magical moment to share.  Inspiring, for ages 6-10.

2015 CSK Illustrator Honor Awards:

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Joesphine Baker, illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Patricia Hruby Powell. I adore this beautiful biography that Patricia Hruby Powell & Christian Robinson created celebrating Baker's life and work (see my full review).  Christian Robinson captures Josephine's movement and playfulness with his gorgeous acrylic illustrations. Savor this long picture book biography over several sittings -- and notice how the pictures and words play off each other. For ages 8-12.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, illustrated by Frank Morrison and written by Katheryn Russell-Brown. As Kirkus writes, "Bewitched by the rhythms of jazz all around her in Depression-era Kansas City, little Melba Doretta Liston longs to make music in this fictional account of a little-known jazz great." Kids love the exaggerated illustrations that brim with humor, sass and verve--just like I imagine Melba's trombone playing did. A great picture book biography, for ages 4-8.

2015 CSK Author Award:
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson, is a moving, evocative memoir in verse that paints a picture of what it was like to grow up black and female in the 1960s and 1970s (see my full review). This book was especially meaningful to several of my African American students, especially girls, who could relate to Jackie's experiences. This powerful book will now be decorated with four medals: the National Book Award, the Newbery Honor, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Sibert Award for nonfiction. Excellent and outstanding in so many ways, best suited for ages 10-14.

2015 CSK Author Honor Awards:

The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander, was recognized for its portrayal of a close-knit African American family, loving and supportive but also rife with tension between the brothers. As you know, my students are **huge** fans of The Crossover. As I said to a friend when I first read it, I love how the characters' African American identity is an important part of the book, but not an issue in the story -- it's just part of who they are. Don't BOTH of those medals look fantastic on this cover? Fantastic for ages 9-14.

How I Discovered Poetry, by Marilyn Nelson, is memoir in verse that is based on Nelson's experiences growing up as a daughter of one of the first African-American career officers in the Air Force during the 1950s. Publisher's Weekly calls this "an intimate perspective on a tumultuous era and an homage to the power of language." To learn more, listen to this NPR interview with Nelson. I have not read this or shared it with students, so I'm not quite sure if it's best suited for ages 12 and up, or would be a good fit for our 5th graders.

How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon, is a gripping novel for teens that is undeniably relevant to issues our society is grappling with around the country. As Publisher Weekly writes, Magoon "offers multiple, contradictory perspectives on the shooting of an African-American youth. No one disputes that 16-year-old Tariq Johnson was shot on the street by Jack Franklin, a white gang member, but the motives of both killer and victim remain fuzzy, as do the circumstances surrounding the shooting." While I have not read this, I am a big fan of Magoon's previous work and know this will be an intense and full of raw emotions, for ages 14 and up.

2015 John Steptoe Award for New Talent:
When I Was the Greatest, by Jason Reynolds. I have not read this, but friends are raving about this engaging story of urban teens Ali, Noodles and Needles. As the award committee writes, "In an authentic contemporary voice, Reynolds focuses on the importance of family, the acceptance of responsibility and the obligations of friendship and portrays a likeable teenager learning how to be a good man." Recommended for ages 12 and up.

Please seek out and share these books with kids in your life. They are each truly special. Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Penguin, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lee & Low, and Chronicle Books. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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29. 2015 Caldecott Awards: a terrific range & selection of books!!! (ages 4-14, yes really!!)

This year's Caldecott Committee broke boundaries by including a graphic novel for young teens among their seven (7!!) books awarded honors. This selection of picture books, meaning books told with and through pictures, serves a wide range of children -- from preschoolers who will adore Dan Santat's Beekle, to teens who are the perfect audience for Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's graphic novel This One Summer.

Before I get any further, if you're considering This One Summer for your child, please learn about it before you order it. I genuinely recommend this for kids who are 13 and 14, but not for elementary students. Skip down to the end if you're specifically looking for information about this book.

The 2015 Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book goes to:

Dan Santat, the author and illustrator of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. This delightful story has charmed our young students at Emerson, with Santat's special message about loneliness, imagination and finding your own special, true friend.

My students are huge fans of Dan Santat's and will be thrilled to see this picture book, which comes so much from Dan's heart, honored and celebrated. Dan truly captures so much of what children value in this world -- playfulness, fun and friendship with an incredible eye and vivid imagination. Perfect for preschoolers, but enjoyed by older kids as well (ages 3-9).

Six (!!) Caldecott Honor Awards were given:

Nana in the City, by Lauren Castillo, captures the relationship between a young boy and his grandmother, as she helps him overcome his fears by listening, understanding and helping him. I especially love how his nana never scolds him, but rather emotionally comes to where this little guy is. Another truly special book, perfect for kids ages 3-6.

The Noisy Paint Box, illustrated by Mary GrandPré and written by Barb Rosenstock, conveys the way abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds and sounds as colors. It's fascinating--this picture book biography didn't appeal to me right away (I brought too many grown-up questions to it), but my 5th grader found it fascinating and the art captivating. Kandinsky listens as “swirling colors trill…like an orchestra tuning up,” and GrandPré shows him lifting his paintbrush much like a conductor. A fascinating intersection of art and music, for ages 6-10.


Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, illustrated by Jon Klassen and written by Mac Barnett, is another huge kid favorite at Emerson precisely because it makes kids laugh and wonder at the same time. Sam and Dave are indeed digging a whole, as you can see on the cover, and they are determined not to stop until they find "something spectacular." What I love best about it is the respect Klassen and Barnett have for kids who love to puzzle over things and think about questions that don't have easy answers, or necessarily ANY answers. They're totally comfortable with that uncertainty, something grownups often forget. Kids from 4 to 10 have loved this.

Viva Frida, by Yuyi Morales, made me gasp in wonder the very first time I saw it -- and it's had the same effect on children and adults alike. Just look at the colors on the cover -- but then open, and you enter the dreamlike world that Morales creates, combining handmade puppets and carefully crafted stage sets. Morales conveys a sense of an artists' world, and how one artist infuses another artists' dreams and spirit. While this isn't a biography at all, it is an incredible testament to the artistic spirit that appeals to the very young as well as older readers who can put it into more context (ages 3-12).

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and written by Jen Bryant. I adore this utterly splendid book that tells the life of Peter Roget and the creation of his thesaurus. Sweet uses playful illustrations to draw children into young Peter's life, showing them how he loved lists of words and discovered that words had power, especially when gathered together and organized in interesting ways. This is a book children will enjoy pouring over again and again, noticing more details each time. I particularly love showing kids (ages 6-10) the ways science, language and art intersect.

This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki and written by Mariko Tamaki. This fantastic graphic novel eloquently captures young teens on the cusp of adolescence, as they spend the summer together. For the first time, the Caldecott Committee said, YES, the illustrations in a graphic novel is a true form of art, one that is vitally essential to the story. It is utterly ground-breaking and I am so happy.

This book speaks to young teens about the way friendships change as they enter the murky waters of adolescence. Rose is so happy to spend the summer once again with her friend Windy, but she rejects many of their past activities as too childish and yearns to mimic the older teens in this beach town. I like the way Kirkus sums it up: "The realistic dialogue and sensitive first-person narration convey Rose’s naïveté and confusion, and Windy’s comfort in her own skin contrasts with Rose’s uncertainty." Teen pregnancy, gossip and a parent's depression all wind their way through this story. I've found it speaks well to young teens, ages 13-15.

Please seek out and share these books with kids in your life. They are each truly special. Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Little, Brown, Random House, Candlewick, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan and Eerdmans. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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30. ALA Youth Media Awards Wins for Lee & Low Books!

Yesterday was the ALA Youth Media Awards, or the “Oscars of Children’s Literature” as they’re sometimes called. It was a big day for diversity. Diverse books and authors were honored across the board and we couldn’t be happier.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, written by Katheryn Russell-Brown and illustrated by Frank Morrison, received the Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Little Melba follows the life of famed trombonist, composer, and arranger Melba Liston who broke through racial and gender barriers to become one of the great unsung heroes of jazz.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 11.49.26 AM

Pat Mora, author of Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube and many other award-winning titles, won the 2016 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award! This award recognizes an author, librarian, or children’s lecturer who will then present a lecture at a winning host site. In addition to her writing, Pat Mora is also a literacy
advocate. She created Día, a day that celebrates children and the importance of reading.

Congratulations to all the titles honored at the ALA Youth Media Awards!

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31. 2015 Newbery Awards -- HOORAY for Crossover, El Deafo & Brown Girl Dreaming!!!!! (ages 4-14)

This morning, the American Library Association announced the winners for 2015 distinguished books for children across many categories. This week, I'd like to share these with you along with my excitement and my students' reactions to these books. I am jumping with joy because all of these books speak to children so well. (read the full press release here)

The 2015 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature:

The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander, won the 2015 Newbery Medal, for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature. From the very first time I read this aloud to students, they have loved it. I'll never forget 5th grade boys nearly wrestling each other in the library to check out our copy first. This story captured their heart and the words conveyed power, rhythm and emotion that connected to students. (read my full review here)



Two Newbery Honor Books also were named:

El Deafo” written and illustrated by Cece Bell. For the first time, a graphic novel has won a Newbery Honor, and my students adore this. They love graphic novels, and El Deafo soars to the top on every measure. Cece shares her memoir, growing up deaf after suffering meningitis. My students completely relate to Cece's character, even though they have not gone through exactly the same experiences. She brings them right into her world, conveying her thoughts and feelings so well through words and comics. Please seek out this outstanding, very special story.

Brown Girl Dreaming,” written by Jacqueline Woodson. This memoir told in verse drew many of my students in, helping them see Jackie's experiences growing up in the 1960s and also showing them how some of her experiences were similar to their own. I'll never forget the way Elani and Aleecia came in after reading it together, just glowing and saying, "It's like WE were in the book."

Woodson crafts her verse so differently than Alexander and tells her memoir in such a different way from Bell -- I love that we're showing our children that there are so many different ways you can live in the world. Your goal is to be the best YOU that you can be.

I am also thrilled that these books are so accessible to children. Not only are they distinguished in their literary merit, they also are respectful of where children are developmentally, what they bring to the reading experience.

Kwame Alexander talked with us about how he knew some kids could enter a novel in verse more easily than dense text -- he wanted to write a book that invited kids into a the story, but once they were there provide them with a nuanced, layered, powerful story. And man, does he do that. Because his language is so accessible, kids can enter the conversation and then talk deeply about all sorts of literary devices the author used, the messages he's conveying, the journey his characters go through.

Check out some of Emerson students' discussions and thoughts on all our Mock Newbery books. I can't wait to share these titles with even more readers.
Part 1 -- The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond + Brown Girl Dreaming
Part 2 -- The Crossover + Dash + The Fourteenth Goldfish
Part 3 -- The Great Greene Heist + Half a Chance + The Life of Zarf
Part 4 -- Magic in the Mix + Nest + The Night Gardener
Part 5 -- Nuts to You + The Red Pencil + Snicker of Magic
Part 6 -- The Swap + Witch's Boy + Zoo at the Edge of the World
Part 7 -- OUR WINNER!!! (plus giveaway)
My heartfelt appreciation goes out today to all the authors who are writing books for kids. They put so much heart, soul and thought into their craft. It makes a tremendous difference in kids' lives, finding books that speak to them. My heartfelt thanks also goes out to the whole children's literature community, from librarians who spend countless hours on committees evaluating and discussing books, to publishers who take incredible risks to bring stories into our hands, to booksellers who help get books into the hands of as many readers as possible. This is a very special community.

Early review copies were kindly sent by the publishers Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ABRAMS, and Nancy Paulsen/Penguin Books for Young Readers. We have purchased additional copies for our school library and classrooms, and we will continue purchasing more for gifts. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2015 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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32. Diversity Wins at the Youth Media Awards

ALA's Youth Media Awards are always an exciting day for those who love youth literature. This is when the big prizes (Newbery! Caldecott! Printz! more!) are announced.

There are several specialized awards, such as the Coretta Scott King awards for books by African-Americans about the African-American Experience, and there has been some worry that these awards "ghetto-ize" books by diverse authors. While committees can't explicitly take it into consideration, are books by diverse authors unintentionally overlooked for the bog awards because oh, they'll just win the other one, that's "for them"?

Not today. Not today. Not today. It was SO EXCITING to see overlap between the awards and see so much diversity recognized and celebrated. Let's hope this isn't a one-year change, but long-term one.

Here are some of the diverse titles awarded today Caveats: I'm only listing books where diversity wasn't a criteria, so I'm not listing winners of the Schneider Family Award, Coretta Scott King awards, Pura Bel Pre, Stonewall, or Batchelder because listing all of them inflates the numbers. Many of the books listed also won these awards though, because they're awesome books. I may have also missed a few titles.



The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson



Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales, photographs by Tim O'Meara

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson



Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Howell, illustrated by Christian Robinson

H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers, narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers (yes, I know this links to the book. It won for audio, but Amazon doesn't seem to carry it)

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! written and narrated by Tim Federle



Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen




Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

Bingo's Run: A Novel by James A Levine



Confessions by Kanae Minato, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng

The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles

AND! In addition to the books, the 3 authors honored were... Donald Crews, Sharon M. Draper, and Pat Mora.

It's an awesome list, no?


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33. 2015 Youth Media Awards: Newbery! Caldecott! Printz! All of the Shiny Medals!

John Newbery Medal
for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature
The Crossover - Kwame Alexander
(H) El Deafo - Cece Bell
(H) Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Randolph Caldecott Medal
for the most distinguished American picture book for children
The Adventures of Beekle: the unimaginary friend - Dan Santat
(H) Nana in the City - Lauren Castillo
(H) The Noisy Paint Box: the colors and sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art - ill. Mary GrandPre, written by Barb Rosenstock
(H) Sam and Dave Dig a Hole - ill. Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
(H) Viva Frida - Yuyi Morales
(H) The Right Word: Roget and his thesaurus - ill. Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant
(H) This One Summer - ill. Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki

Michael L. Printz Award
for excellence in literature written for young adults
I’ll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
(H) And We Stay - Jenny Hubbard
(H) The Carnival at Bray - Jessie Ann Foley
(H) Grasshopper Jungle - Andrew Smith
(H) This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki, ill. Jillian Tamaki

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award
for the most distinguished beginning reader book
You Are (not) Small - Anna Kang, ill. Christopher Weyent
(H) Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page - Cynthia Rylant, ill. Arthur Howard
(H) Waiting is Not Easy - Mo Willems

Coretta Scott King Awards
for the best book about the African-American experience
Author
Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
(H) The Crossover - Kwame Alexander
(H) How I Discovered Poetry - Marilyn Nelson, ill. Hadley Hooper
(H) How It Went Down - Kekla Magoon
Illustrator
Firebird: ballerina Misty Copeland shows a young girl how to dance like the firebird - ill. Christopher Myers, written by Misty Copeland

John Steptoe New Talent Award
When I Was the Greatest - Jason Reynolds
(H) Josephine: the Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker - Patricia Hruby Powell, ill. Christian Robinson
(H) Little Melba and Her Big Trombone - Katheryn Russell-Brown, ill. Frank Morrison

Virginia Hamilton Practitioner Award for Lifetime Achievement
Deborah D. Taylor - Enoch Pratt Free Library

Schneider Family Book Award
for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience
Picture Book
A Boy and a Jaguar - Alan Rabinowitz, ill. Catia Chien
Middle Grade 
Rain Reign - Ann M Martin
Teen
Girls Like Us - Gail Giles

Alex Awards
for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Bellweather Rhapsody - Kate Racculia
Bingo’s Run - James A Levine
Confessions - Kanae Minato, trans. Stephen Snyer
Everything I Never Told You - Celeste Ng
Lock In - John Scalzi
The Martian - Andy Weir
The Terrorist’s Son - Zak Ebrahim, w/ Jeff Giles
Those Who Wish Me Dead - Michael Koryta
Wolf in White Van - John Darnielle

Andrew Carnegie Medal
for excellence in children's video
Me … Jane - Weston Woods, based on a book by Patrick McDonnell

Margaret A. Edwards Award
for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.
Sharon M. Draper

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children's literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site
Pat Mora

Mildred L. Batchelder Award
for an outstanding children's book translated from a language other than English and subsequently published in the United States
Mikis and the Donkey - Bibi Dumon Tak, ill. Philip Hopman, trans. Laura Watkinson
Honors
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust - Loie Dauvillier, ill. Marc Lizano, trans. Alexis Siege
Nine Open Arms - Benny Lindelauf, ill. Dasha Tolstikova, trans. John Nieuwenhuizen

Odyssey Award
best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults
H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination - Christopher Myers, narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers
(H) Five, Six, Seven, Nate! - Tim Federle, narrated by same
(H) The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - Julie Berry, narrated by Jayne Entwhistle
(H) A Snicker of Magic - Natalie Lloyd, narrated by Cassandra Morris

Pura Belpre Awards
For the best books about the Latino cultural experience
Author
I Lived on Butterfly Hill - Marjorie Agosín, ill. Lee White, trans. E.M. O'Connor
(H) Portraits of Hispanic-American Heroes - Juan Felipe Herrera, ill. Raúl Colón
Illustrator
Viva Frida - Yuyi Morales
(H) Little Roja Riding Hood - ill. Susan Middleton Elya, written by Susan Guevara
(H) Green is a Chile Pepper - ill. John Parra, written by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
(H) Separate is never equal : Sylvia Mendez & her family's fight for desegregation - Duncan Tonatiuh

Robert F. Sibert Medal
for most distinguished informational book for children
The Right Word: Roget and his thesaurus - Jen Bryant, ill. Melissa Sweet
(H) Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson
(H) The family Romanov : murder, rebellion & the fall of Imperial Russia - Candace Fleming
(H) Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker - Patricia Hruby Powell, ill. Christian Robinson
(H) Neighborhood sharks : hunting with the great whites of California's Farallon Islands - Katherine Roy
(H) Separate is never equal : Sylvia Mendez & her family's fight for desegregation - Duncan Tonatiuh

Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award
Books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered experience.
This Day in June - Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D., ill. Kristyna Litten
(H) Beyond magenta : transgender teens speak out - Susan Kuklin
(H) I’ll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
(H) Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress - Christine Baldacchio, ill. Isabelle Malenfant

William C. Morris Award
for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens. Finalists are announced in December.
Gabi: A Girl in Pieces - Isabel Quintero
(F) The Carnival at Bray - Jessie Ann Foley
(F) The Story of Owen, Dragonslayer of Trondheim - E.K. Johnston
(F) The Scar Boys - Len Vlahos
(F) The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - Leslye J Walton

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year. Finalists are announced in December
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek - Maya Van Wagenen
(F) Laughing at My Nightmare - Shane Burcaw
(F) The family Romanov : murder, rebellion & the fall of Imperial Russia - Candace Fleming
(F) Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman who Challenged Big Business and Won - Emily Arnold McCully
(F) The Port Chicago 50 : disaster, mutiny, and the fight for civil rights - Steve Sheinken

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34. Additional ALA Awards 2015

Alex Awards

for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences

• All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
• Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia (Houghton)
• Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine (Random House/Spiegel & Grau)
• Confessions by Kanae Minato, trans. by Stephen Snyder (Little, Brown/Mulholland Books)
• Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (Penguin Press)
• Lock In by John Scalzi (Tom Doherty/Tor)
• The Martian by Andy Weir (Random House/Crown)
• The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles (Simon/TED Books)
• Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta (Little, Brown)
• Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (Farrar)


May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site

Pat Mora will deliver the 2016 lecture


Andrew Carnegie Medal

for excellence in children’s video

Me…Jane produced by Paul Gagne and Melissa Reilly Ellard (Weston Woods)


Margaret A. Edwards Award

for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults

Sharon M. Draper for Tears of a Tiger (1994), Forged by Fire (1997), Darkness Before Dawn (2001), Battle of Jericho (2004), Copper Sun (2006), and November Blues (2007), all published by Atheneum


Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

for the most distinguished beginning reader book

Winner
You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang; illus. by Christopher Weyant (Two Lions, New York)

Honor Books
Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant; illus. by Arthur Howard (Houghton)
Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems; illus. by the author (Disney/Hyperion)


Virginia Hamilton Award

given by the Coretta Scott King Task Force for lifetime achievement

Deborah D. Taylor, coordinator of school and student services at Baltimore’s Enoch Free Library


William C. Morris Award

honors a book written by a first-time author for young adults

Winner
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero (Cinco Puntos Press)

Finalists
• The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley (Elephant Rock Productions)
The Story of Owen: Dragon Slayer of Trondheim by E. K. Johnson (Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab)
The Scar Boys by Len Vlahos (Egmont)
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Candlewick)


Odyssey Award

for excellence in audiobook production

Winner
H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination written by Christopher Myers and narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers (Live Oak Media)

Honor Books
Five, Six, Seven, Nate! written and narrated by Tim Federle (AUDIOWORKS Children’s)
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place written by Julie Berry and narrated by Jayne Entwistle (Listening Library)
A Snicker of Magic written by Natalie Lloyd and narrated by Cassandra Morris (Scholastic Audiobooks)


Schneider Family Book Award

for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience

Children, ages 0–10
A Boy and a Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz; illus. by Catia Chien (Houghton)

Middle School, ages 11–13
Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin (Feiwel)

Teen, ages 13–18
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles (Candlewick)


John Steptoe New Talent Award

given by the Coretta Scott King Task Force to young authors or illustrators who demonstrate outstanding promise

When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)


Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender experience

Winner
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman; illus. by Kristyna Litten (Magination Press)

Honor books
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (Candlewick)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Dial)
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino; illus. by Isabelle Malenfant (Groundwood)


Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

given biannually to honor an author or illustrator for a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children

Donald Crews


YALSA Nonfiction Award

for excellence in nonfiction for young adults

Winner
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek
by Maya Van Wagenen (Dutton)

Finalists
Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw (Roaring Brook)
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (Schwartz & Wade)
Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won! by Emily Arnold McCully by author (Clarion)
The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook)

See the Horn Book’s reviews of major 2015 ALA Youth Media Award winners here.

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35. ALA Awards 2015: Horn Book reviews of the winners

santat_adventures of beekle  alexander_crossover
The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Kwame Alexander and Dan Santat on February 2, 2015, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Chicago. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Michael L. Printz, Robert F. Sibert, and Mildred L. Batchelder awards and several other major honors. Follow the links below for more information about all the winning titles, including in many cases their reviews in The Horn Book Magazine or The Horn Book Guide.

Newbery Medal
Caldecott Medal
Belpré Award (Author and Illustrator)
Coretta Scott King Awards (Author and Illustrator)
Printz Award
Sibert Award
Batchelder Award

Additional ALA awards
Alex, Arbuthnot, Carnegie, Edwards, Geisel, Hamilton, Morris, Odyssey, Schneider, Steptoe, Stonewall, and YALSA Nonfiction awards

Best Fiction for Young Adults list

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36. Newbery! Caldecott! Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One Summer

The American Library Association announced their 2015 youth media award winners at its Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Covering a diverse range of titles and readers, graphic novels were among the honorees!  First…  The big news…

9781419712173 Newbery!  Caldecott!  Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One SummerEl Deafo, Cece Bell’s memoir of her hearing loss and fitting in at grade school was selected as a Newbery Honor Book, as an outstanding contribution to children’s literature!

While already a bestseller, with long autograph lines this weekend at the conference, this honor will encourage more libraries, especially school libraries, to shelve and promote this title, a great book which just happens to be a graphic memoir!

Then there’s the Caldecott Medal, for most distinguished American picture book.  This is another “instant bestseller”, generating instant sales among libraries and bookstores.  This year’s winner was Dan Santat, for “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend”, which is a regular picture book.  But…  Santat has also written a graphic novel, titled “Sidekicks”, and his picture books are geeky and fun, so I’m claiming him!

Also… there were SIX honor books announced.  One of which was…  “This One Summer“, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, written by Mariko Tamaki.  Yes… it’s awarded to the illustrator, but many times, the story is essential for a title rising among the many amazing books being published today.

Don’t feel sory for Mariko… she received a Printz Honor for excellence in literature written for young adults!  This is the Newberry for YA literature, with a similar explosion in sales expected!  (Graphicologists will recall that Gene Luen Yang won the award for American Born Chinese in 2007.)

What… you want more?  Okay…  How about an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language?

The Mildred L. Batchelder Award honored “Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust“, published by First Second.  Written in French by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, color by Greg Salsedo, and translated by Alexis Siegel, it chronicles a young Jewish girl in 1942 Paris.  I confess… I overlooked this title last Spring. (Hey… they have an amazing list, and there’s lots of great stuff from other publishers too!)  Here’s a friendly reminder, and an enjoyable one at that!

9780525426813M Newbery!  Caldecott!  Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One SummerOne more title of note…  YALSA (the Young Adult Library Services Association) gave an award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.  This year’s winner:

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

If you’d like to know more about these and many other winners (many in multiple categories), visit the Youth Media Awards website! You can read our 2014 coverage here.

Me, I’m off to discover more great titles, and to help librarians use graphic novels to encourage literacy and a life-long-love of reading!

6 Comments on Newbery! Caldecott! Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One Summer, last added: 2/3/2015
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37. THANKS 2015 GEISEL COMMITTEE!

Last night I received word that Elephant & Piggie's WAITING IS NOT EASY! has been bestowed a 2015 Geisel Honor by the American Library Association.  While this is not my first rodeo, I can honestly say I was floored.  I approach each project as a brand new experiment, building on what I've done previously, but not copying it.  It is flattering in the extreme to see those efforts recognized

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38. Free Samples of the 2015 Newbery Medal & Newbery Honor Winners

The CrossoverThe American Library Association has announced that The Crossover author Kwame Alexander is the winner of the prestigious John Newbery Medal.

This young adult novel features a story written in verse. Throughout his career, Alexander has written 18 books that range from a variety of genres including poetry, picture books, and nonfiction.

We’ve linked to free samples of the Newbery Medal-winning title and the Newbery Honor books below. Follow this link to access free samples from last year’s pool of Youth Media Award winners.

Free Samples of the ALA Youth Media Award Recognized Books

Newbery Medal Winner

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Newbery Honor Winners

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

El Deafo by Cece Bell

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39. Reviews of the 2015 CSK Author Award winners

Winner:

woodson_brown girl dreamingstar2 Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson
Intermediate, Middle School Paulsen/Penguin
328 pp. 8/14 978-0-399-25251-8 $16.99 g

Here is a memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. It starts out somewhat slowly, with Woodson relying on others’ memories to relate her (1963) birth and infancy in Ohio, but that just serves to underscore the vividness of the material once she begins to share her own memories; once her family arrives in Greenville, South Carolina, where they live with her maternal grandparents. Woodson describes a South where the whites-only signs may have been removed but where her grandmother still can’t get waited on in Woolworth’s, where young people are sitting at lunch counters and standing up for civil rights; and Woodson expertly weaves that history into her own. However, we see young Jackie grow up not just in historical context but also—and equally—in the context of extended family, community (Greenville and, later, Brooklyn), and religion (she was raised Jehovah’s Witness). Most notably of all, perhaps, we trace her development as a nascent writer, from her early, overarching love of stories through her struggles to learn to read through the thrill of her first blank composition book to her realization that “words are [her] brilliance.” The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery: “So the first time my mother goes to New York City / we don’t know to be sad, the weight / of our grandparents’ love like a blanket / with us beneath it, / safe and warm.” An extraordinary — indeed brilliant — portrait of a writer as a young girl. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Honor Books:

magoon_how it went downHow It Went Down
by Kekla Magoon
Middle School, High School   Holt   324 pp.
10/14   978-0-8050-9869-3   $17.99   g
e-book ed. 978-1-6277-9159-5   $9.99

“Two guys with guns, one dies — it’s an everyday story.” But when sixteen-year-old Tariq Johnson is shot and killed on the street, the event affects the whole community. Tariq was black, his assailant white, and Magoon tells the story through the many voices of those directly and peripherally involved. Their simple words yield a complicated story. Which characters are reliable? Which look to benefit from the situation? Which learn from it and seek a better life? One witness saw “two guys with guns,” but even that point is questionable. The “gun” may have just been a Snickers bar. Did the storeowner yell “Stop, thief” or “Stop, T”? Was T hassled by “a white guy” or a “light dude”? The local gang enjoys the notoriety of being in the news. A civil rights activist is seen to be “poaching some limelight off a poor dead black boy” to boost his senatorial campaign; the storeowner sees increased sales when thousands of people turn out to march for Tariq; and the media get a great story of a “gang-related” incident. Magoon expertly differentiates the characters by delineating their thoughts, feelings, and motivations; and the accumulation of voices weaving through the narrative effectively makes this “everyday story” believably complex, going behind newspaper headlines and campaign speeches to portray real people caught up in something bigger than themselves. A powerful novel that will resonate with fans of Myers’s Monster (rev. 5/99) and Woodson’s Miracle’s Boys (rev. 3/00). DEAN SCHNEIDER

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

alexander_crossoverThe Crossover
by Kwame Alexander
Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   235 pp.
3/14   978-0-544-10771-7   $16.99   g

Josh and Jordan (JB), identical twin sons of former basketball phenom Chuck “Da Man” Bell, are ball legends themselves, and they aren’t yet thirteen; Josh is the only middle schooler around who can dunk, JB has a mean three-point shot, and together they’re a well-oiled machine on the court. But then things start to change, as they tend to do at their age: JB gets a girlfriend, and before Josh knows it, their relationship is strained to the point of a mid-game altercation that lands him benched for weeks. On top of that, their mother frets constantly over Dad’s poor health, and the boys begin to worry, too. Josh’s first-person verse narration is a combination of exciting play-by-play game details, insightful middle-school observations, and poignant meditations on sibling dynamics and familial love. Since poet Alexander has the swagger and cool confidence of a star player and the finesse of a perfectly in-control ball-handler, wordplay and alliteration roll out like hip-hop lyrics, and the use of concrete forms and playful font changes keep things dynamic: “SWOOP in / to the finish with a fierce finger roll… / Straight in the hole: / Swoooooooooooosh.” Alexander brings the novel-in-verse format to a fresh audience with this massively appealing package for reluctant readers, athletes especially. KATRINA HEDEEN

From the May/June 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 
nelson_how i discovered poetrystar2How I Discovered Poetry
by Marilyn Nelson; 
illus. by Hadley Hooper
Middle School Dial 103 pp.
1/14 978-0-8037-3304-6 $16.99 g

In fifty poems (some previously published) Nelson chronicles her formative years during the 1950s, from age four to thirteen, against the backdrop of the cold war and stirrings of the civil rights movement and women’s lib. Each piece includes a title (“Blue Footsies” begins the book), a date, and a place name. Nelson’s father was a military officer — “one of the first African American career officers in the Air Force” — and the family crisscrossed the country. Nelson’s mother was a teacher who instilled in her children the importance of breaking ground: “Mama says First Negroes are History: / First Negro Telephone Operator, / First Negro Opera Singer at the Met, / First Negro Pilots, First Supreme Court Judge.” Throughout their travels the family encountered racism (both the subtle and not-so-subtle types) but also loving kindness from friends and neighbors. The book ends with “Thirteen-Year-Old American Negro Girl,” in which Nelson realizes that poetry is her métier and that it will be her contribution to the world. Her author’s note calls this volume a “late-career retrospective…a ‘portrait of the artist as a young American Negro Girl,’” and readers will be gratified to follow the progression of “the Speaker” (as Nelson refers to the main character, “whose life is very much like mine”) from tentative child to self-possessed young woman on the cusp of a creative awakening. A few family photos are included, rounded out by spare 1950s–ish spot art that underscores the time period and accentuates the deeply personal nature of the remembrances. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

From the January/February 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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40. Reviews of the 2015 Newbery Award winners

Winner:

alexander_crossoverThe Crossover
by Kwame Alexander
Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   235 pp.
3/14   978-0-544-10771-7   $16.99   g

Josh and Jordan (JB), identical twin sons of former basketball phenom Chuck “Da Man” Bell, are ball legends themselves, and they aren’t yet thirteen; Josh is the only middle schooler around who can dunk, JB has a mean three-point shot, and together they’re a well-oiled machine on the court. But then things start to change, as they tend to do at their age: JB gets a girlfriend, and before Josh knows it, their relationship is strained to the point of a mid-game altercation that lands him benched for weeks. On top of that, their mother frets constantly over Dad’s poor health, and the boys begin to worry, too. Josh’s first-person verse narration is a combination of exciting play-by-play game details, insightful middle-school observations, and poignant meditations on sibling dynamics and familial love. Since poet Alexander has the swagger and cool confidence of a star player and the finesse of a perfectly in-control ball-handler, wordplay and alliteration roll out like hip-hop lyrics, and the use of concrete forms and playful font changes keep things dynamic: “SWOOP in / to the finish with a fierce finger roll… / Straight in the hole: / Swoooooooooooosh.” Alexander brings the novel-in-verse format to a fresh audience with this massively appealing package for reluctant readers, athletes especially. KATRINA HEDEEN

From the May/June 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Honor books:

eldeafostar2 El Deafo
by Cece Bell; illus. by the author; 
color by David Lasky
Intermediate, Middle School Amulet/Abrams 242 pp.
9/14 978-1-4197-1020-9 $21.95
Paper ed. 978-1-4197-1217-3 $10.95

At the age of four, in 1975, Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In this characterful, vivid, often amusing graphic-novel memoir she recaptures the experiences of her childhood — adapting to deafness, to others’ attitudes toward it, and to the technology of the Phonic Ear, a cumbersome assistive device. At the heart of her story is an experience relevant to most children: the finding of the “True Friend,” a falling out, and a reunion. Bell combines great humor and charm (her characters are all anthropomorphized bunnies) with emotional complexity and seriousness; her depiction of Cece’s valiant struggles with loneliness, irritation, and embarrassment at the way people treat her is moving, utterly convincing, and authentic — never “poor bunny.” Her forthright humor works especially well in conveying the practicalities of Cece’s mode of communication: “I sure can’t lip-read a butt!” she says, looking at a speaker’s back. This memoir is thus exceptionally informative and entertaining in relation to some aspects of deaf communication, but, most centrally and powerfully, it is exceptional for its perceptive, indomitable protagonist and complex story of friendship, growth, and classroom and family dynamics. DEIRDRE F. BAKER

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

woodson_brown girl dreamingstar2 Brown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson
Intermediate, Middle School Paulsen/Penguin
328 pp. 8/14 978-0-399-25251-8 $16.99 g

Here is a memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. It starts out somewhat slowly, with Woodson relying on others’ memories to relate her (1963) birth and infancy in Ohio, but that just serves to underscore the vividness of the material once she begins to share her own memories; once her family arrives in Greenville, South Carolina, where they live with her maternal grandparents. Woodson describes a South where the whites-only signs may have been removed but where her grandmother still can’t get waited on in Woolworth’s, where young people are sitting at lunch counters and standing up for civil rights; and Woodson expertly weaves that history into her own. However, we see young Jackie grow up not just in historical context but also — and equally — in the context of extended family, community (Greenville and, later, Brooklyn), and religion (she was raised Jehovah’s Witness). Most notably of all, perhaps, we trace her development as a nascent writer, from her early, overarching love of stories through her struggles to learn to read through the thrill of her first blank composition book to her realization that “words are [her] brilliance.” The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery: “So the first time my mother goes to New York City / we don’t know to be sad, the weight / of our grandparents’ love like a blanket / with us beneath it, / safe and warm.” An extraordinary — indeed brilliant — portrait of a writer as a young girl. MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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41. Reviews of the 2015 Caldecott Award winners

Winner:

santat_adventures of beekleThe Adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend
by Dan Santat; illus. by the author
Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.
4/14     978-0-316-19998-8     $17.00

Imaginary friend Beekle waits and waits for a child to think him into existence. When it doesn’t happen, Beekle sails off to the real world–a city full of boring adults–to find her. Santat’s bright digital illustrations capture the vivid land of imagination, the drab adult world, and the giggle-inducing expressions on marshmallow-like Beekle’s pudgy white face. SHARA L. HARDESON

From the Fall 2014 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

Honor books:

nana in the cityNana in the City
by Lauren Castillo; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary   Clarion   40 pp.
9/14   978-0-544-10443-3   $16.99

Visiting Nana in her new apartment in the city, the unnamed child narrator is initially unreceptive to the city’s appeal. Upon first impression, “the city is busy. The city is loud. The city is filled with scary things.” However, Nana promises to show her young visitor all the ways that “the city is wonderful—bustling, booming, and extraordinary,” and their tour the following day does just that. Here is a vital, independent grandmother for the new millennium, one who is just as likely to clap for a street performer or bring a pretzel to a homeless man as she is to knit with her cat or serve milk and cookies in her cozy kitchen. The loving relationship between her and her grandchild is clearly conveyed by their easy interactions, in particular the red cape she bestows upon the child to encourage bravery in a new place. Castillo’s simple, meaningful text is well served by her richly detailed, brightly saturated watercolors, which convey a city bustling with crowds, construction, traffic, and events, juxtaposing colorful foregrounds against monochromatic backgrounds to suggest that even more activity lies beyond the book’s depicted scenes. The accessible story arc outlines worthwhile messages about openness to new experiences and changing one’s perspective, all couched in the security of spending time with a loved one. The young narrator concludes: “The city is…the absolute perfect place for a nana to live. And for me to visit!” Readers will feel the same. CLAIRE E. GROSS

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

rosenstock_noisy paint boxThe Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art
by Barb Rosenstock; illus. by Mary GrandPré
Primary   Knopf   40 pp.
2/14   978-0-307-97848-6   $17.99
Library ed. 978-0-307-97849-3   $20.99   g
e-book ed. 978-0-307-97850-9   $10.99

One of the pioneers of abstract art, Vasily Kandinsky experienced “colors as sounds, and sounds as colors,” a neurological condition called synesthesia. Concentrating primarily on the artist as a child and young adult, Rosenstock takes known events and embellishes them with dialogue and specific sounds for the colors (“He brushed a powerful navy rectangle that vibrated deeply like the lowest cello strings”). GrandPré does a fine job showing color and sound as abstractions while presenting the artist and his surroundings in a more realistic manner. At first we see young Vasya as a proper and obedient child, surrounded by squared-off edges and dark colors. But when he receives a paint box as a gift and begins to hear sounds as he mixes the colors, the page compositions open up. As angles give way to swirls, GrandPré provides a visualization of the freedom that results when an artist finds his voice. An author’s note provides more information about the artist and four reproductions of his later work. Sources and recommended websites are included. LOLLY ROBINSON

From the January/February 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

barnett_samanddavestar2Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen
Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.
10/14    978-0-7636-6229-5    $16.99

This adventure starts innocently enough: “On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.” The boys (indistinguishable save the color of their hats and Sam’s ever-present backpack) are fueled by chocolate milk, animal cookies, and a desire to find “something spectacular.” Alas, Sam and Dave unearth nothing, coming close to — but just missing — the precious gems that dot the subterranean landscape, and oblivious all the while. Eventually the chums stop for a rest, whereupon their canine companion, digging for a bone, inadvertently causes a rupture in the dirt floor underground that leaves the explorers falling “down, down, down,” only to land in what appears to be their own yard. But upon closer inspection, this house isn’t quite the same as before; a number of subtle differences go undetected by the hapless duo, but observant viewers will certainly take note. Barnett’s well-chosen words (“Sam and Dave ran out of chocolate milk. / But they kept digging. / They shared the last animal cookie. / But they kept digging”) and plentiful white space support readers. Klassen’s cross-section illustrations provide a mole’s-eye view of the underground proceedings, extending the spare text with visual humor. As in his previous books, Klassen shows an uncanny knack for conveying meaning with the subtlest of eye movements. How fitting that the wordless final spread features a knowing look between the dog and a cat familiar to Klassen fans; all that’s missing from the trippy conclusion is the theme music from The Twilight Zone. Mind-blowing in the best possible way. SAM BLOOM

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Viva Fridastar2 Viva Frida
by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author with photos by Tim O’Meara
Primary, Intermediate   Porter/Roaring Brook   40 pp.
9/14   978-1-59643-603-9   $17.99   g

There have been several books for young readers about Frida Kahlo, but none has come close to the emotional aesthetic Morales brings to her subject, as a Mexican artist herself who understands the particular landscape of Kahlo’s imagination. By selecting several of Kahlo’s recurring symbols — monkey, dog, parrot, deer, hummingbird — she achieves artistic depth and lends child appeal to a very spare, ethereal text. Morales also incorporates Señor Calavera (a figure who recurs throughout Morales’s own work), representing the dance with death Kahlo engaged in all her life. Morales initially shows Kahlo as a puppet: made from steel, polymer clay, and wool, the three-dimensional figures (photographed and digitally manipulated inside double-page-spread collages) are works of art in themselves. The illustrations are accompanied by just a few words of text in both Spanish and English (“busco / I search // Veo / I see… // Juego / I play”) that leave readers with a dreamlike impression. As we enter Kahlo’s mind, the medium and style change, and the pages are illustrated with lush acrylics, showing her winged feet carrying her across the spreads, arrows whizzing past; one eventually hits her pet deer in the foreleg. This allusion to Kahlo’s famous painting The Little Deer may be lost on most young readers, but the accompanying text (“siento / I feel”) will get the basic meaning across. Morales (Niño Wrestles the World, rev. 7/13) once again impresses us with her artistry in an ingenious tour de force. KATHLEEN T. HORNING

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

bryant_right-word_170x231star2The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet
Primary    Eerdmans    48 pp.
9/14    978-0-8028-5385-1    $17.50

Apt language and ingenious imagery combine to tell the life story of Peter Mark Roget, creator of the thesaurus. A solitary, though not unhappy, child, Roget spends his time keeping lists and ordering the natural and cultural wonders he finds in abundance. He studies to become a doctor, teaches, joins academic societies, raises a family, and continues to capture and classify the universe, eventually publishing his Thesaurus, a catalog of concepts ordered by ideas, in 1852. Bryant’s linear telling follows Peter closely, expressing his curiosity, sensitivity, and populist spirit in language that is both decorous and warm. Clever book design and visionary illustration add layers of meaning, as images come together in careful sequence. On the cover a cacophony of iconographic ideas explodes from the pages of a book. The opening endpapers arrange these same concepts in a vertical collage that recalls spines on a bookshelf. The title spread features the letters of the alphabet as stacked blocks, as a child manages them, and from there the pages grow in complexity, as Roget himself grows up. Sweet embellishes her own gentle watercolors with all manner of clippings and realia, corralling the pictures into order according to concept, number, or color. A timeline and detailed author and illustrator notes follow the narrative, with suggested additional resources and a facsimile page of Roget’s first, handwritten book of lists. And the closing endpapers, with the comprehensive classification scheme of the first thesaurus, fully realize the opening organizational promise. THOM BARTHELMESS

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

tamaki_this-one-summer_170x241star2This One Summer
by Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Jillian Tamaki
Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    320 pp.
5/14    978-1-59643-774-6    $17.99

Rose Wallace and her parents go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose collects rocks on the beach, swims in the lake, and goes on bike rides with her younger “summer cottage friend,” Windy. But this year she is feeling too old for some of the activities she used to love — and even, at times, for the more-childish (yet self-assured) Windy. Rose would rather do adult things: watch horror movies and talk with Windy about boobs, boys, and sex. In their second graphic novel — another impressive collaboration — the Tamaki cousins (Skim, rev. 7/08) examine the mix of uncertainty and hope a girl experiences on the verge of adolescence. The episodic plot and varied page layout set a leisurely pace evocative of summer. Rose’s contemplative observations and flashbacks, along with the book’s realistic dialogue, offer insight into her evolving personality, while the dramatic changes in perspective and purply-blue ink illustrations capture the narrative’s raw emotional core. Secondary storylines also accentuate Rose’s transition from childhood to young adulthood: she’s caught in the middle of the tension between her parents (due to her mom’s recent abrasive moodiness and the painful secret behind it) and fascinated by the local teens’ behavior (swearing, drinking, smoking, fighting, and even a pregnancy; the adult situations — and frank language — she encounters may be eye-opening reading for pre-adolescents like Rose). This is a poignant drama worth sharing with middle-schoolers, and one that teen readers will also appreciate for its look back at the beginnings of the end of childhood. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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42. Reviews of the 2015 Belpré Author Award winners

Winner:

agosin_i lived on butterfly hill

I Lived on Butterfly Hill
by Marjorie Agosín; illus. by Lee White; trans. by E. M. O’Connor
Intermediate     Atheneum     455 pp.
3/14    978-1-4169-5344-9    $16.99

Eleven-year-old Chilean girl Celeste faces upheaval when a brutal dictator rises to power, her parents go into hiding, and she is shipped off to Maine. Threads of mysticism lend an interesting element, but the book is best when rooted in reality, transporting readers with sensory-steeped settings and Celeste’s vividly evoked feelings of alienation. Black-and-white illustrations depict the turmoil but with a soft touch.

From the Fall 2014 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

 

Honor book:

herrera_portraits of hispanic american heroesPortraits of Hispanic American Heroes
by Juan Felipe Herrera, illus. by Raúl Colón (Dial)

Review to come.

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43. Reviews of the 2015 Belpré Illustrator Award winners

Winner:

Viva Fridastar2Viva Frida
by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author with photos by Tim O’Meara
Primary, Intermediate   Porter/Roaring Brook   40 pp.
9/14   978-1-59643-603-9   $17.99   g

There have been several books for young readers about Frida Kahlo, but none has come close to the emotional aesthetic Morales brings to her subject, as a Mexican artist herself who understands the particular landscape of Kahlo’s imagination. By selecting several of Kahlo’s recurring symbols — monkey, dog, parrot, deer, hummingbird — she achieves artistic depth and lends child appeal to a very spare, ethereal text. Morales also incorporates Señor Calavera (a figure who recurs throughout Morales’s own work), representing the dance with death Kahlo engaged in all her life. Morales initially shows Kahlo as a puppet: made from steel, polymer clay, and wool, the three-dimensional figures (photographed and digitally manipulated inside double-page-spread collages) are works of art in themselves. The illustrations are accompanied by just a few words of text in both Spanish and English (“busco / I search // Veo / I see… // Juego / I play”) that leave readers with a dreamlike impression. As we enter Kahlo’s mind, the medium and style change, and the pages are illustrated with lush acrylics, showing her winged feet carrying her across the spreads, arrows whizzing past; one eventually hits her pet deer in the foreleg. This allusion to Kahlo’s famous painting The Little Deer may be lost on most young readers, but the accompanying text (“siento / I feel”) will get the basic meaning across. Morales (Niño Wrestles the World, rev. 7/13) once again impresses us with her artistry in an ingenious tour de force. KATHLEEN T. HORNING

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Honor books:

elya_little roja riding hoodLittle Roja Riding Hood
by Susan Middleton Elya; 
illus. by Susan Guevara
Primary    Putnam    32 pp.
4/14    978-0-399-24767-5    $16.99    g

Little Red rides an ATV to deliver la canasta (basket) to her ailing abuela in this hip updated version of the traditional tale. Liberally sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases, the rhyming text is fresh and funny (“‘Abue,’ he said in a high squeaky voz, / ‘I’m sorry to hear of your terrible tos’”) and often unexpected. (For example, “basket” is rhymed with “who asked it?”)  And just as clever as the quirky text are the watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations that contain plenty of humor and multiple layers of meaning. The Three Blind Mice accompany Little Roja on her journey, while three magpies follow and call out warnings that appear in flowing ribbons that act as dialogue bubbles. Two little trickster elves make mischief throughout. But best of all is Abuela herself, shown here as an aging hippie who appears to be working on a manuscript revision in her sick bed. She doesn’t really need rescuing — she protects herself by holding up a statue of St. Jude; Little Roja joins in by throwing a pot of hot sopa at the wolf. Once the wolf is vanquished, capable Abuela discourages future intruders by installing a security sistema, while Little Roja trades in her red hood for one with tiger stripes. An inventive spin on a familiar tale, this will stand up to repeated readings and viewings. KATHLEEN T. HORNING

From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

thong_green is a chile pepperGreen Is a Chile Pepper
by Roseanne Greenfield Thong; illus. by John Parra
Primary     Chronicle    32 pp.
4/14     978-1-4521-0203-0     $16.99
In this festive concept book, all the colors found in a Hispanic American neighborhood are described in rhyming text with frequent Spanish words, explained in detail in a glossary. The objects described, such as ristras, piñatas, and faroles, are staples of Mexican culture, but Parra’s folk art–style paintings, stuffed with entertaining details, make them universally understandable and appealing. SIENA LESLIE

From the Fall 2014 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

 

Separate Is Never EqualSeparate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation
by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate   Abrams   40 pp.
5/14   978-1-4197-1054-4   $18.95

Seven years before the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her family fought for — and won — the desegregation of schools in California. Tonatiuh, a Belpré-winning illustrator, uses a child’s viewpoint to clearly and succinctly capture the segregated reality of Mexican Americans and the little-known legal challenge that integrated schools. When the Mendez family moves from Santa Ana to Westminster only to find that their children must attend the inferior “Mexican” school for no particular reason, they first try petitions before turning to lawyers to set matters right. The straightforward narrative is well matched with the illustrations in Tonatiuh’s signature style, their two-dimensional perspective reminiscent of the Mixtec codex but collaged with paper, wood, cloth, brick, and (Photoshopped) hair to provide textural variation. This story deserves to be more widely known, and now, thanks to this book, it will be. Author’s note, photographs, glossary, bibliography, and index are appended. JONATHAN HUNT

From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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44. H is For Hawk Takes 2014 Costa Book Award

H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald has won the 2014 Costa book prize. The author will take home a £30,000 prize for the memoir, which tells her personal account of training a goshawk in order to deal with the death of her father.

“All of the judges felt passionately about this book and its wonderful, muscular, chiseled prose,” explained Robert Harris, chair of the final judges, in a statement. “This is a clever, accomplished piece of writing that everyone will enjoy. It melds a memoir about grief, a biography of TH White and is a wonderful evocation of nature and training a hawk. It’s unique, unforgettable, haunting and a natural book to win this prize.”

Zoe Gilbert won the 2014 Costa Short Story Award for her story, “Fishskin, Hareskin.” She will take home £3,500 in prize money.

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45. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

1 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême, last added: 2/1/2015
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46. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

2 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême, last added: 2/1/2015
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47. FEBRUARY UPDATE!

APPEARANCES/EVENTS! Lots to do this month.  Hope you can make it to one of these events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Amherst. Thursday, Feb. 5, Pasadena, CA 11 am- READING & SIGNING AT VROMAN'S BOOKSTORE   695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena, CA 91101 I'll spend the morning reading, answering questions, & signing books in my only LA area appearance for a while.  If you're in the area,

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48. Riad Sattouf’s “The Arab of the Future” wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

Arabe du futur Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

The winners are in.

and Riad Sattouf won the top prize for Album of the Year, for his L’Arabe du Futur (The Arab of the Future) which will be published in the US this fall by Holt. As might be expected from the title, the book deals directly with the matter of the day, and I expect it will get a lot of attention. Sattouf is well known in France for his cutting social humor, and is also a prize winning film director. Here’s the rest of the winners with my rough translations of the prize names from the official site—the only American prize was Chris Ware’s Building Stories for the Jury Prize.

• FAUVE D’OR – PRIX DU MEILLEUR ALBUM, parrainé par Cultura (Best Book)
L’Arabe du futur, Tome 1 Riad Sattouf / Allary

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX SPECIAL DU JURY, parrainé par Cultura (Jury Prize)
Building Stories
Chris Ware / Delcourt

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DE LA SÉRIE, parrainé par Cultura (Best series)
Lastman, Tome 6
Balak, Mickaël Sanlaville et Bastien Vivès / Casterman

(Volume 1

is coming out in a few months from First Second)

yekini d1ecouv 718x1024 Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX RÉVÉLATION (Best Newcomer)
Yekini, le roi des arènes
Lisa Lugrin et Clément Xavier / Editions Flblb

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DU PATRIMOINE, (Best Reprint)
Caisse d’Epargne San Mao, le petit vagabond
Zhang Leping / Fei

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DU PUBLIC CULTURA (Public Prize)

Les Vieux fourneaux, Tome 1 – Ceux qui restent

Wilfrid Lupano et Paul Cauuet / Dargaud

• FAUVE POLAR SNCF (Best thriller)

Petites coupures à Shioguni

Florent Chavouet / Philippe Picquier

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX JEUNESSE (Best book for younger readers)

Les Royaumes du Nord, Tome 1

Clément Oubrerie et Stéphane Melchior / Gallimard

9910000012501 cg Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DE LA BANDE DESSINÉE ALTERNATIVE (Best Alternative Book)

Dérive urbaine

Édité par l’association Une autre image (France)

• PRIX JEUNES TALENTS (New new talent)

JT1 Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

Camille Debra, Maman
Cloé FrancisciBallet (She apparently won the Women’s Prize)
Anna Griot, Boat People »

• PRIX JEUNES TALENTS POITOU-CHARENTES (Best local newcomer)
Quentin Jeulin

• PRIX DU CONCOURS DE LA BD SCOLAIRE « A L’ECOLE DE LA BD » (Prizes for the local cartoonists high school level — Samples can be seen here

)
parrainé par la Caisse d’Epargne et le Ministère de l’Education Nationale

- Prix d’Angoulême de la BD Scolaire :

Margaut Shorjian

- Prix Graphisme du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Louis Fourel

- Prix Scénario du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Catherine Manesse

- Prix Coup de Coeur du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Fanny Ehl

- Prix BD des Régions :

Thomas Ouedraogo

• PRIX DES ÉCOLES D’ANGOULÊME, en partenariat avec la Mairie d’Angoulême et l’Inspection Académique de la Charente (Best from the local cartooning school)
Nas poids plume Tome 1
d’Ismaël Méziane / Glénat

• PRIX BD DES COLLÈGES POITOU-CHARENTES, avec le rectorat de Poitiers (Best college level)
Alisik Tome 1
Helge Vogt, Hubertus Rufledt et Bisson Pierre / Le Lombard

• PRIX DES LYCÉES POITOU-CHARENTES, avec le rectorat de Poitiers
Choc Tome 1 – Les fantômes de Knightgrave
Stéphane Colman et Éric Maltaite / Dupuis

P50 1 Riad Sattoufs The Arab of the Future wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

• PRIX RÉVÉLATION BLOG (Best webcomic)
Vraoum Mademoiselle Karensac pour son blog
http://blickaboo.blogspot.fr/

• PRIX CHALLENGE DIGITAL (The webcomic Vanguard award)
Oscar Langevin pour « Moontagne »

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49. Reviews of the CSK Illustrator Award winners 2015

Illustrator Award Winner: Christopher Myers for Firebird

copeland_firebirdFirebird: Ballerina Misty Copeland Shows a Young Girl How to Dance like the Firebird
by Misty Copeland; 
illus. by Christopher Myers
Primary Putnam 40 pp.
9/14 978-0-399-16615-0 $17.99 g

Think you can simply write off celebrity books? Think again. American Ballet Theatre soloist Copeland is just as graceful with words as she is with her body. Here she addresses the next generation as she imagines a dialogue between herself and a young female African American ballet student who claims she is “gray as rain / heavy as naptime, low as a storm pressing on rooftops.” Copeland reassures the girl that she had the same self-doubts, and “darling child, don’t you know / you’re just where I started.” Myers’s stunning collages layer strips of thickly painted paper to echo the wings of a firebird (Copeland’s signature role), whether they are illustrating the stage curtains or a cloudy sky. His deep, rich colors make even the portraits of the dancers at rest dramatic, and when the dancers are on stage, they seem to fly. The words of the girl appear in italics and the dancer’s words in boldface to clearly differentiate between the speakers. In an author’s note, Copeland tells us that, as a child, she never saw herself in ballet books; this book encourages today’s aspiring dancers of all colors and backgrounds. KATHLEEN T. HORNING

Illustrator Honor Winners:

Christian Robinson for Josephine

powell_josephinestar2 Josephine:
The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

by Patricia Hruby Powell; 
illus. by Christian Robinson
Intermediate, Middle School Chronicle 104 pp.
2/14 978-1-4521-0314-3 $17.99

To describe Josephine Baker’s life as “dazzling” is not an exaggeration. In this incomparable biography both Powell and Robinson convey the passion, exuberance, dignity, and eccentricity of their subject through words and pictures that nearly jump off the page. There is a surprise at every turn as we learn how Baker, at fifteen, hid inside a costume trunk to stow away with a dance troupe. We see how she managed to stand out in a chorus line by crossing her eyes and acting goofy to win over audiences. We find her walking down the Champs-Élysées with her pet leopard, Chiquita, who wore a diamond choker. You think her life couldn’t get any more interesting? Wait until you hear about her years as a spy for the French Resistance. Or about the twelve children she adopted from all over the world (her “rainbow tribe”), to prove that people of different races could live together. Matter-of-factly introducing the racism her subject encountered throughout her life, Powell doesn’t shy away from the challenges Baker faced, but she makes clear that Baker never let them overwhelm the joy she got from performing and living life to its fullest. Robinson’s highly stylized illustrations, using bold colors and a flat perspective, are at once sophisticated and inviting to young readers. Even the few pages without pictures are made visually interesting by the broad strokes of acrylic paint in the background and by the clean typeface that judiciously uses uppercase to accentuate important words or lines in the text. Direct quotes from Baker — translated from the French, of course — are interspersed throughout. C’est magnifique! KATHLEEN T. HORNING

Frank Morrison for Little Melba and Her Big Trombone

russell-brown_little melbaLittle Melba and Her Big Trombone
by Katheryn Russell-Brown; 
illus. by Frank Morrison
Primary Lee & Low 40 pp.
7/14 978-1-60060-898-8 $18.95 g

From the time she was a little girl, Melba Liston loved music, especially the jazz music that surrounded her while she was growing up, first in Kansas City and then in Los Angeles. Given the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument at age seven, she chose the trombone. It was not a traditional choice for a girl, especially a small girl whose arms weren’t even long enough yet to push out the slide. But Melba wasn’t a traditional girl. She persisted, and with the support of her family and her teachers, she excelled. By age seventeen, she was ready to tour as a member of jazz trumpeter Gerald Wilson’s new band. She played with the greats, including Dizzy Gillespie and Quincy Jones, and was almost always the only woman in the band (except on her tour with Billie Holiday). As a woman, she faced as many barriers and challenges as she did as an African American musician traveling through the mid-twentieth-century South. But Melba was highly sought out, as a band member, session musician, composer, and arranger. Russell-Brown’s account of her subject’s early life is as smooth and stimulating as a Liston trombone solo, and will leave readers wanting to know more about the woman and her music. Morrison’s oil paintings, in his trademark elongated, angular style, perfectly convey the jazz scene and, of course, Melba’s amazing horn. KATHLEEN T. HORNING

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50. Reviews of the 2015 Printz winners

Winner:

nelson_i'll give you the sunI’ll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
High School   Dial   375 pp.
9/14   978-0-8037-3496-8   $17.99   g

In her much-anticipated second book, Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere, rev. 3/10) delivers another novel of romance, tragedy, grief, and healing, told in poetic prose with the barest hint of magical realism. Jude and Noah are fraternal twins; once very close, they now barely speak to each other. The reasons for their estrangement gradually come to light over the course of the novel through the twins’ alternating voices from different points in time. Thirteen-year-old Noah narrates the story’s beginnings; an extremely talented painter, bullied for being gay, he finds himself attracted to the new boy next door. The later story is revealed from sixteen-year-old Jude’s point of view. Too focused on art school — including why she was accepted and Noah wasn’t — to think about boys, and haunted by the tragic automobile-accident death of their mother, she finds solace in conversations with their grandmother’s ghost. Despite some minor flaws — Noah’s voice never quite rings true as an adolescent male; and the present-tense stream-of-consciousness narrative occasionally dilutes the powerful imagery of the writing — the novel remains a compelling meditation on love, grief, sexuality, family, and fate. JONATHAN HUNT

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Honor books:

and we stay And We Stay
by Jenny Hubbard
High school     Delacorte     225 pp.
1/14     978-0-385-74057-9

After her ex-boyfriend’s suicide, sixteen-year-old Emily Beam is sent to an Amherst, Massachusetts, boarding school to start anew and heal. And through a friendship with her sympathetic roommate, connecting with local legend Emily Dickinson’s work, and blossoming as a poet herself, she starts to. Hubbard thrives in both prose and verse storytelling: interspersed within emotionally astute third-person-omniscient narration are Emily’s moving poems.

From the Fall 2014 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

 

foley_carnival at brayThe Carnival at Bray
by Jessie Ann Foley (Elephant Rock)

Review to come.

 

 

 

 

grasshopper jungleGrasshopper Jungle
by Andrew Smith
High School     Dutton     390 pp.
2/14     978-0-525-42603-5     $18.99

Unfortunate coincidences involving sixteen-year-old Austin and his best friend Robby lead to the unleashing of gigantic, ravenous praying mantises related to a diabolical scientist’s decades-old experiments. Austin’s love for and attraction to both his girlfriend and to Robby is the powerful emotional backbone of this intricate, grimly comedic apocalypse story, in which Smith proves himself a daring and original wordsmith. KATRINA HEDEEN

From the Fall 2014 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

 

tamaki_this one summerstar2This One Summer
by Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Jillian Tamaki
Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    320 pp.
5/14    978-1-59643-774-6    $17.99

Rose Wallace and her parents go to Awago Beach every summer. Rose collects rocks on the beach, swims in the lake, and goes on bike rides with her younger “summer cottage friend,” Windy. But this year she is feeling too old for some of the activities she used to love — and even, at times, for the more-childish (yet self-assured) Windy. Rose would rather do adult things: watch horror movies and talk with Windy about boobs, boys, and sex. In their second graphic novel — another impressive collaboration — the Tamaki cousins (Skim, rev. 7/08) examine the mix of uncertainty and hope a girl experiences on the verge of adolescence. The episodic plot and varied page layout set a leisurely pace evocative of summer. Rose’s contemplative observations and flashbacks, along with the book’s realistic dialogue, offer insight into her evolving personality, while the dramatic changes in perspective and purply-blue ink illustrations capture the narrative’s raw emotional core. Secondary storylines also accentuate Rose’s transition from childhood to young adulthood: she’s caught in the middle of the tension between her parents (due to her mom’s recent abrasive moodiness and the painful secret behind it) and fascinated by the local teens’ behavior (swearing, drinking, smoking, fighting, and even a pregnancy; the adult situations — and frank language — she encounters may be eye-opening reading for pre-adolescents like Rose). This is a poignant drama worth sharing with middle-schoolers, and one that teen readers will also appreciate for its look back at the beginnings of the end of childhood. CYNTHIA K. RITTER

From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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