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Reviews of the 2018 Sibert Award Winners

Winner

Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961
by Larry Dane Brimner
Middle School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    110 pp.    g
11/17    978-1-62979-586-7    $18.95
e-book ed.  978-1-62979-917-9    $9.99

Brimner (We Are One; Birmingham Sunday; Black & White) revisits the civil rights movement in this book about the 1961 Freedom Ride. Opening with a litany of landmark court cases leading up to the 1960s, he segues to the sit-in protests and then, in greater depth, the Freedom Ride. A racially integrated group of thirteen riders (including future Congressman John Lewis) left the Greyhound bus terminal in Washington, DC, on May 4 with the intention of riding through the South to New Orleans in order to protest the blatant violation of federal laws prohibiting segregation on interstate travel and accompanying facilities. At first the resistance they faced was fairly minor, but it soon ramped up as they ventured into the Deep South. Brimner’s narrative summarizes and recounts the highlights of those violent, turbulent days, but the main attraction of this book is its photographs. A striking and spacious book design with black-and-white images provides immediacy. Profiles of each rider, a bibliography, source notes, and an index are appended. JONATHAN HUNT

From the November/December 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

 

Honor Books

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix
Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee; illus. by Man One
Primary     Readers to Eaters     32 pp.
4/17     978-0983661597     $18.95

[review to come]

 

 

 

chin_grand canyonstar2 Grand Canyon
by Jason Chin; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Roaring Brook    56 pp.
2/17    978-1-59643-950-4    $19.99    g

Vacationing in Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter — and readers — numerous opportunities to explore this National Park’s geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration (“After climbing out of the Inner Gorge, you’ll find yourself on a broad, sun-baked slope”) presents accurate scientific information, while the illustrations, laid out like photos from a camping trip, depict the pair’s adventures hiking from the bottom of the canyon to the top. Chin’s detailed, scenic watercolors portray actual sites (he takes a few artistic liberties, carefully documented in an author’s note). As the two explore the rocks, fossils, and landforms along the trail, selected objects are cleverly featured through subtle die-cuts. Turn the page, and the girl is transported back in time to the ancient geologic environments in which the rocks were formed, or the fossilized animals lived. In some cases, the shifts are to marine environments, a stunning juxtaposition with the desert landscapes of the present. This representation captures the essence of field geology: artifacts of the earth are indeed conduits to the past, brought to life through scientific imagination. The perimeters of some pages are filled with delicate sketches and diagrams in muted colors reminiscent of the dry rock landscape. They go into great detail on how rocks and fossils form, the plant and animal species found in the various ecological niches present in the canyon, and the very formation of the canyon itself. Near the end of the book, an immersive four-page foldout brings readers to the canyon rim, to marvel at “the grandest canyon on Earth.” The final pages of the book provide even more scientific information.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Not So Different: What You REALLY Want to Ask about Having a Disability
by Shane Burcaw; illus. by Matt Carr
Primary, Intermediate     Roaring Brook    40 pp.
11/17     978-1-62672-771-7     $ 17.99

[review to come]

 

 

Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem
by Patricia Newman
Primary     Millbrook     56 pp.
4/17     Library ed. 978-1-5124-2631-1     $31.99

What kept the seagrass in California’s Elkhorn Slough so healthy, despite fertilizer runoff from nearby farms? When marine biologist Brent Hughes investigated this question, he learned the vital role sea otters play in the slough ecosystem. The book’s wide, picture-book trim size accommodates the many photos and diagrams that supplement the fairly advanced, fascinating scientific information in the text. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind. JANET DAWSON

From the Fall 2017 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

For more, click on the tag ALA Midwinter 2018.

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