Tag Archives: award winners

Alex made something amazing!

titanic model

Alex made a model of the Titanic that won 2nd place at the science fair at Woodview Elementary School! He brought it in to display at the library. Come take a look! While you’re here, you can check out some of our books about the Titanic to learn more.

Illinois Award Winners

The winners of the Illinois Readers’ Choice Awards have been announced!

Monarch Award (Kindergarten-3rd Grade):

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Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Christian Robinson
A proper bulldog raised in a poodle family and a tough poodle raised in a bulldog family meet one day in the park.

Bluestem Award (Grades 3-5):

El Deafo
El Deafo by Cece Bell
The author recounts in graphic novel format her experiences with hearing loss at a young age, including using a bulky hearing aid, learning how to lip read, and determining her “superpower.”

Rebecca Caudill Award (Grades 4-8):

The Crossover
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. A novel written in poetry.

African American History Biographies, part 2

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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.
(If you’re not sure you know his work, that painting being hung at the end of the last episode of Luke Cage is a Basquiat.)
The stickers on the cover indicate that artist Javaka Steptoe (whose father has his own award named after him) won the Caldecott Medal and was the 2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Illustrator Winner.

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A Spy Called James: The True Story of James Lafayette, Revolutionary War Double Agent by Anne Rockwell; illustrated by Floyd Cooper
The true story of James Lafayette, a slave who spied for George Washington’s army during the American Revolution. But while America celebrated its newfound freedom, James returned to slavery. His service hadn’t qualified him for the release he’d been hoping for. For James the fight wasn’t over; he’d already helped his country gain its freedom, now it was time to win his own.

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Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness by Donna Janell Bowman; illustrated by Daniel Minter
A picture book biography of Dr. William Key, a former slave and self-trained veterinarian who taught his horse, Jim, to read and write and who together with Jim became one of the most famous traveling performance acts around the turn of the twentieth century.

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Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line by Andrew Maraniss
Perry Wallace was born at an historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially-integrated state tournament. The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.

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Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas by Gwendolyn Hooks; illustrated by Colin Bootman
Biography of Vivien Thomas, an African-American surgical technician who pioneered the procedure used to treat babies with a heart defect known as ‘blue baby syndrome.’

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Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate
Chronicles the life and achievements of the NASA engineer and inventor, from his childhood to his accidental invention of the Super Soaker water gun.

Big Birthday on the Prairie

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Author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born 150 years ago on February 7, 1867.  You can read a couple of reflections at the New York Times and Shelf Awareness.  Stay tuned for a special program about Laura Ingalls Wilder this summer!

Newbery and Caldecott Awards

20 years after Tupac

Rap was big when I was in high school.  I remember one of my classmates writing a moving tribute for the school paper when Tupac Shakur died.  But what really surprised me, a year later, was seeing a portrait of him prominently displayed by a street artist in Paris, France.  Those memories of what he meant to people and his worldwide reach came back to me when I first saw After Tupac and D Foster, which begins, “The summer before D Foster’s real mama came and took her away, Tupac wasn’t dead yet.”
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After Tupac and D Foster: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur’s music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.  This title is also available as a downloadable ebook and in a kit with a Playaway audiobook.

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Remembering a great writer

August 19 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of poet and playwright Federico García Lorca during the Spanish Civil War.  Here are a few books in Spanish and English for introducing the writer and his work to children:

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Federico García Lorca by Georgina Lázaro León
This picture book biography in Spanish was awarded a Pura Belpré Author Honor in 2010.
Poetic text recounts the childhood of the noted Spanish poet, including his love for the nature and folklore of his native Andalusia, his introduction to music and literature at home, and his health problems.

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You’re on! Seven Plays in English and Spanish, selected by Lori Marie Carlson
This selection includes “The girl who waters basil and the very inquisitive prince” in English and “La nina que riega la albahaca y el principe pregunton” in Spanish.

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Tomie dePaola’s Book of Poems
An illustrated collection of poems by various authors includes “Cancion Tonta” (Silly Song) and “Caracola” (Snail) in both Spanish and English.

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A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, selected by Caroline Kennedy
An anthology of poems includes a different interpretation of “Caracola,” titled “Seashell,” in English.