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The Audacious Choice of Sophie Blackall: Profile of 2016 Caldecott Medal Winner Sophie Blackall

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In 1914, Lindsay Mattick’s great-grandfather Captain Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian traveling across Canada on his way to serve in the Great War, stopped at a train station and decided to buy a baby black bear from a trapper on the platform. That was a rather audacious thing to do. As it turns out, literature for […]

Profile of 2016 CSK Author Award winner Rita Williams-Garcia

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Whenever I think of Rita Williams-Garcia, it is not long before the memory rises of a teen mother asking Rita a question at a school visit coordinated by my library, Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. The young women at the school had read Rita’s seminal novel Like Sisters on the Homefront in preparation for […]

Profile of 2016 CSK Illustrator Award winner Bryan Collier

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In 2012, I met two men whose talent and generosity would change my life: Trombone Shorty and Bryan Collier. Born and raised in New Orleans, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews found a broken trombone when he was four years old and taught himself how to play. By the seasoned age of six, he was leading his […]

Jerry Pinkney and the Power of Story: Profile of 2016 Wilder & CSK–Virginia Hamiliton Award Winner Jerry Pinkney

Photo: Robyn Pforr Ryan.

The power of story takes on new and exciting meaning when applied to the work of Jerry Pinkney. His choice of tales, his selection of words, the artistry of his pictures, and the way he brings these aspects together give power to the story. In exquisite and relevant ways, Jerry conveys a richness that lingers […]

Review of Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

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Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]

2016 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Bryan Collier

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I would like to give thanks to all the members of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee for their hard work in shining a light on Trombone Shorty, as well as on many other important books. A special thanks goes out to my agent, Marcia Wernick, and to the staff of Abrams Books, especially […]

2016 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Rita Williams-Garcia

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Good morning, family. I am overjoyed to once again stand before you. Honestly, I hoped for a Coretta Scott King Honor. I just wanted to be here at the table, as one of the many being honored. You would think that by now, I’d have it together. I would know: put the phone by the […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

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Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Drawing My Dream: 2016 Wilder Medal Acceptance by Jerry Pinkney

A great partnership: Jerry and Gloria Jean. Photo courtesy of Jerry Pinkney.

When I was notified about the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, I was struck once again with the revelation that drawing changed the trajectory of my life. More than that, actually — drawing changed me. I was born in 1939, smack in the middle of a family of eight, and in the middle of another turbulent […]

Review of The Moon’s Almost Here

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The Moon’s Almost Here by Patricia MacLachlan; 
illus. by Tomie dePaola Primary    McElderry    32 pp. 6/16    978-1-4814-2062-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2063-1    $10.99 MacLachlan’s lyrical text combines with ethereal illustrations by dePaola in this simultaneously nostalgic and fresh bedtime book. A generous trim size gives dePaola ample space for the sky under which his characters, the […]