2018 #Cybils Awards Announced Today, Also #BookGivingDay

The Cybils award winners were announced today!

The winner for the Elementary nonfiction category is the picture book biography Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala.

See my previous post for a review.

The winner for the middle grade nonfiction category is Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls

 

By the way, these announcement are right in time for International Book Giving Day. If you are looking for book gift ideas, the Cybils winners are a great place to start.

 

 

2018 #Cybils Shortlists Announced

If you have been following this blog, you know for the last few months I have been a round I judge in the 2018 Cybils Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category.

After reading some 140+ books in about two months, we have picked out 7 elementary finalists and 7 middle grade finalists. Today the shortlists were announced on the Cybils blog. Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators whose books made the cut.

Although all the children’s and young adult books on the nomination lists have merit, the books on the shortlists have a little something extra that caught the attention of our experts.  During the next few weeks they will be read and assessed by another set of judges and the overall winners will be announced on or around February 14, 2019.

Here are the lists from the nonfiction elementary/middle grade categories (numbers on list are random, I just needed to make sure I got all seven):

Elementary Nonfiction (Picture Books)

1. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala.

A picture book biography with an important “It’s okay to be different” message. Reviewed here.

2. Chester Nez and the Unbreakable Code: A Navajo Code Talker’s Story by Joseph Bruchac and illustrated by Liz Amini-Holmes

This picture book biography about the incredible history of one of the Navajo code talkers whose contributions during World War II were kept secret for decades.

3. Flying Deep: Climb Inside Deep-Sea Submersible Alvin by Michelle Cusolito and illustrated by Nicole Wong

Review will be posted for STEM Friday this week.

4. Saving Fiona: The Story of the World’s Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thane Maynard

The story of the premature birth and fight to save this tiny hippo oozes adorable.

5. A Frog’s Life by Irene Kelly and illustrated by Margherita Borin

Reviewed at Growing With Science (with activity suggestions)

6. What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes.

You can hear Barbara Jordan’s voice in the rhythm of Chris Barton’s brilliant text. Reviewed here.

7. The True Tale of a Giantess: The Story of Anna Swan by Anne Renaud and Marie Lafrance

This picture book biography explores the life of one of P. T. Barnum’s Gallery of Wonders.

Middle Grade Nonfiction

1. Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin.

Not everyone knows, but the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. was designed by a young student of Chinese descent. The architect Maya Lin has gone on to shape many more breathtaking buildings and outdoor spaces. Reviewed here.

2. Dog Days of History:  The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends by Sarah Albee

Reviewed at Growing with Science.

3. The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop

Another fabulous title in the Scientists in the Field series. Reviewed at Growing with Science.

4.  Frenemies in the Family: Famous Brothers and Sisters Who Butted Heads and Had Each Other’s Backs by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Maple Lam

  Kathlenn Krull takes the reader on a raucous ride through the history of some famous sibling rivalries.

5.  Death Eaters: Meet Nature’s Scavengers by Kelly Milner Halls

The cover shows it all in this book about decomposers and decomposition,

6. Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

The premise is to try to figure out which stories are facts and which are fakes.

7. The Ultimate Book of Sharks (National Geographic Kids) by Brian Skerry

This middle grade title is chock full of gorgeous photographs and fascinating facts.

If you are resolving to read more in 2019, here’s a great list of books to start with.

Disclosure: These books were mostly provided by our local library, although some were provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Two Children’s Books About Crossing Borders

What better way to learn about people who immigrate from Mexico to the United States than to read their personal stories? Let’s look at two sets of biographies nominated for 2018 Cybils awards, each with their own approach and voice.

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Artist and author Yuyi Morales stepped across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas in 1994. She writes about her experiences in Dreamers, the English version and Soñadores, the Spanish version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreamers/Soñadores is creative, dramatic, beautiful.

The English text is enriched with gems of higher-level vocabulary (for example, “resplendent”) and Spanish words (amor, caminantes, lucha). It gives room for learning.

The illustrations are gorgeous (Morales is a Caldecott Honor artist) and are full of symbolism. For example, the monarch butterfly on the cover represents an insect that migrates from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico and back. According to the author, the snakes represent difficulties in one’s path (see her explain some of the symbolism in this YouTube video).

The core message not only reveals the trials and joys of coming to a new place, but also celebrates the importance of books in easing the transition.

“Books became our language.
Books became our home.
Books became our lives. “

We are all for promoting/celebrating books!

Be sure to visit the back matter, which is also full of gems:

  • Check out the extensive list of books (45+) that inspired the author, such as Freight Train by Donald Crews.
  • Read Morales explanation in “My Story” that the tile of the book isn’t a reference to undocumented immigrant children who were brought to the United States — as the word is currently used — but has the broader meaning of imagining a better future.
  • “How I Made this Book” lists all the things she photographed and scanned for the illustrations. Send readers on a hunt to see if they can spot the items listed.

Dreamers/Soñadores is a complex and vibrant book. It will appeal to many different readers for many different reasons. Share a copy today.

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In contrast, Deborah Mills , Alfredo Alva, and illustrator Claudia Navarro use a bilingual approach with La Frontera / The Border: El viaje con papá/ My Journey With Papa, displaying the Spanish and English sections on the same page.

La Frontera takes the reader on the arduous and at times frightening trip made by a actual immigrant child. Over thirty years ago Alfredo Alva moved from La Ceja, Mexico to Texas with his father because their family had no means to support themselves. They waded/swam across the Rio Grande when Alfredo was only eight. At first, they lived in an old bus and Alfredo went to school while his father worked. Alfredo’s father gave him a $100 bill to carry with him at all times. It was for the bus fare back to his mother if he was ever deported without his father.

Although this is a picture book according to Amazon, the text is much denser than for Dreamers. There are two or three paragraphs of Spanish and then English on each two-page spread. This allows the story to unfold more fully, but puts it closer to a middle grade title.

The acrylic, graphite, and digital collage illustrations complement the story well. The back matter has black and white photographs of Alfredo and his family, plus a map of their journey.

La Frontera is children’s biography genre at its best. Young readers are likely to come back to it again and again.

Dreamers:
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (September 4, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0823440559
ISBN-13: 978-0823440559

Soñadores:
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Neal Porter Books (September 4, 2018)
Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 0823442586
ISBN-13: 978-0823442584

La Frontera:
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Barefoot Books; Bilingual edition (May 1, 2018)
Language: Spanish and English
ISBN-10: 178285388X
ISBN-13: 978-1782853886

 

Disclosure: These books were provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

#Cybils #kidlt Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Have you nominated your favorite children’s books from the last year yet? The Cybils nomination window ends October 15, 2018. Learn how to nominate at the Cybils blog.

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The New York Times bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison has already been nominated for a 2018 Cybils award in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category.

 

Vashti Harrison wanted an outlet for her art and also wanted to do something for Black History Month. The result began as a series of posts on Instagram and grew into this wonderful collection of 40 short biographies of groundbreaking women.

Each of the women is represented by a two page spread. One the left side is a three to four paragraph summary of the woman’s life and accomplishments, and accompanying it is Vashti Harrison’s unique illustration on the right. As has been mentioned in other reviews, the artist gives each figure a gentle smile and downcast eyes. They remind me of Simon Basher’s illustrations.

When my son was in third grade, it was the tradition in the school to present what they called a “wax museum.” The students dressed up as a figure from history and lined up in the hallways. As families and friends walked by, the students gave a short speech about the person they represented. Too bad this book wasn’t available then because it is an incredible resource for student projects like that one. Little Leaders introduces children to many inspiring women who they might not have previously heard about. Harrison has done a great job covering women from a variety of backgrounds, too.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It deserves a place on every shelf, although it isn’t likely it will stay there for long before someone picks it up to read it.

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (December 5, 2017)
ISBN-10: 9780316475112
ISBN-13: 978-0316475112