Nov 8, 2021

Nonfiction Cavalcade Continues: More Elementary Cybils Awards Nominees

 The nominations for Cybils Awards, Round One, have closed, but the reading continues. That includes exciting conversations among our panel members. For anyone who has a blog or consistently shares ideas about books for kids on social media, let me assure you that THIS is the sweet spot of the process. Final decisions can be wrenching, but there is great joy in deep diving into a wide range of remarkable offerings, then sharing and comparing ideas about them among others who also appreciate books. 

Here are a few of the nonfiction elementary titles I've enjoyed so far, with more to come as often as I can pause the process to provide shout-outs here. These quick peeks are one plus to books that are nominated- winners or not. Here are two that had missed my radar until they popped up in the list. I'm aiming for many posts about books that might have flown under my radar all together, had they not been nominated in this category).

Creston  Books, 2021

BOARDWALK BABIES is written by Marissa Moss and illustrated by April Chu. This book reveals an utterly unexpected solution to the problem of saving lives of premature/undersized newborns long before modern neonatal units were readily available. The facts are presented clearly using an illustration style that emphasizes the "carnival exhibit" approach to gaining acceptance for the use of incubators. This will amaze and inform younger readers and astound adults who share the book with them.

Don't let the "performative" image of the cover fool you. The Boardwalk Baby exhibit was an "out of the box" approach that not only saved infant lives but revealed to the public what was possible in medical care, gaining support for financial and public investments that changed medical care for and survival rates of countless babies.

Little, Brown
Books for Young Readers

Next up, with very different survivor theme, is SURVIVOR TREE, written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Aaron Becker

This book moved me in countless ways. 

To tears.

I have no doubt that young audiences will perceive the depth and power of the story and sense the connection to a historic event that is not part of their lived experience, and yet shaped the world in which they live. 

Everything about this book, from the finely crafted and reserved text, to the reassurances of repetition and pacing, to the color tones throughout (and particularly on the cover), to the art that evokes the heart of human reaction and the passage of many years over time, to the tall portrait trim size that supports the celebration of survival, this is a masterful creation and must-have book in classrooms, libraries, and families.

As the text quote on the back cover says:


That's a powerful place to end this post. I hope these two offerings provide an incentive to stay tuned in coming days and weeks for more  titles that celebrate the variety and appeal of nonfiction picture books.

Se you soon!

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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.