AOB and 2017 Award Winners

2017 ALSC Book & Media Award Winners at AOB

An Open Book works with some of the country’s most talented authors and illustrators, and the American Library Association agrees.  Once again, the ALA Youth Media Awards and other significant national literary recognition went to authors and illustrators who generously donated their time and energy to our programs last year.

AOB regular Adam Gidwitz received a Newbery Honor for The Inquisitor’s Tale (Dutton), illustrated by Hatem Aly.  Adam is renowned for his dynamic presentations (some of which involve Jedi mind tricks while throwing socks at audience members).

During her most recent AOB visit, Carole Boston Weatherford had Simon Elementary School students playing instruments and dancing to celebrate Sundays when she presented Freedom in Congo Square (Little Bee), which received a Caldecott Honor Medal as a most distinguished picture book for children.

Brendan Wenzel’s picture book debut as both author and illustrator also received a Caldecott Honor Medal. They All Saw a Cat (Candlewick) delighted first graders at Miner Elementary School when Brendan visited in September.

Three-time AOB visitor Duncan Tonatiuh received both of the Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor awards this year for his work on Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist, by Susan Wood (Charlesbridge) and The Princess and the Warrior (Abrams), which Duncan both wrote and illustrated.  By virtue of their significant awards, Adam, Carole, Brendan, and Duncan’s books were also placed on the ALA Notable Children’s Books List.

Additional Award Winners

Additional 2017 Youth Media Awards to AOB visiting authors include the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to Nikki Grimes, the Andrew Carnegie Medal to a production of Margarita Engle’s Drum Dream Girl (Dreamscape Media), and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award to Laurie Keller for We Are Growing (Disney-Hyperion).  Jason Reynolds received several awards including the Schneider Family Book Award and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award for As Brave As You (Atheneum), as well as an Odyssey Honor award for the audiobook version of Ghost (Simon and Schuster Audio), which he shared this fall with students at Hart Middle School.

Author Candace Fleming and illustrator Eric Rohmann have generously given their time and talents since AOB started.  Most recently Eric shared wonders from the deep with his and Candace’s Sibert Honor book Giant Squid (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook). This year’s Robert F. Sibert Medal went to Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin’s graphic novel memoir March: Book Three (Top Shelf), illustrated by Nate Powell.

March: Book Three received a record-setting four awards at the YMA’s, as well as the National Book Award (NBA) in November.  AOB Education Director Janet Zwick took Rep. Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin to visit young men in the Free Minds Program with the first book of this important series.  Additional NBA Finalists who have shared their talents with AOB students included Jason Reynolds with Ghost (Atheneum), Grace Lin with When the Sea Turned to Silver (Little, Brown) and Kate DiCamillo with Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick).  NBA Longlist recipients included authors Meg Medina for Burn Baby Burn (Candlewick) and Kwame Alexander with a story in verse, Booked (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), both of whom visited AOB last year with picture books.

Notable Children’s Books

While we think all the books we offer students are notable, the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee recognized the work of more than two dozen AOB authors and illustrators as being “important, distinguished, outstanding.”  All of the previously mentioned ALA Award winners are added to a list that also includes recently featured or upcoming AOB visiting authors and titles Ada Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty (Abrams); I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark, by Debbie Levy (Simon and Schuster); A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day, by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Viking); A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Farrar); As Brave As You, by Jason Reynolds (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum); In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, by Kenneth C. Davis (Holt); Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West, by Candace Fleming (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook); You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford; and Olinguito, de la A a la Z! / Olinguito, from A to Z! Descubriendo el bosque nublado / Unveiling the Cloud Forest, written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Lee & Low).

2017 Best Fiction for Teens

Similarly, the Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee compiled a list of 63 recommended titles, including the previously mentioned BookedBurn Baby Burn, and Ghost*.  Laurie Halse Anderson’s Ashes (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum), Donna Gephart’s Lily and Dunkin (Delacorte), Monica Hesse’s Girl in the Blue Coat (Little, Brown), Brendan Kiely’s The Last True Love Story (Margaret K. McElderry), Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea* (Philomel), and Francisco Stork’s The Memory of Light were all books that AOB brought to students during the course of 2016.  Those titles with an asterisk denote a list top ten selection, and the complete list can be found on the YALSA website.

Congratulations to all of these talented creators!