Over the past three years, I (Alyson) have hosted, and Kellee and Carrie have participated in, a book challenge to push ourselves to read more nonfiction picture books. Since we read many of the best nonfiction picture books published each year, we decided to host a Mock Sibert Award. Our first Mock Sibert Award was in 2014 and though only one book (Parrots Over Puerto Rico) that I picked won the Sibert Award in 2014 that hasn't deterred me from trying it again.
The American Library Association's Robert F. Sibert Award is given annually to the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year. Although the Sibert Award is not just for picture books, we are going to focus on the nonfiction picture books we feel would be honored or win this year.
To be honored/win the Sibert Award, the book must include these important elements and qualities:
-Excellent, engaging, and distinctive use of language.
-Excellent, engaging, and distinctive visual presentation.
-Appropriate organization and documentation.
-Clear, accurate, and stimulating presentation of facts, concepts, and ideas.
-Appropriate style of presentation for subject and for intended audience.
-Supportive features (index, table of contents, maps, timelines, etc).
-Respectful and of interest to children.
After reviewing the qualities and elements needed to win the Sibert Award, and agonizing over all the wonderful books that I have read this year, I chose the following five titles as my Mock Sibert Finalists that I hope will win or be honored on February 2nd.
This year I decided to order them by 4 honor books and the book I predict will win. Since I am so good at predictions (*rolls eyes*), this should be perfect, right?! *smiles*
My honor selections are:
Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents by Lita Judge (Roaring Brook Press, October 2014) - Maybe I simply love Lita Judge's artwork but her stories are truly engaging and I always learn something new after reading one of them. I have a soft spot for baby animals, which made this title a personal favorite. This one is also a wonderful read aloud for younger children who will connect with the story on a personal level as they learn about how baby animals are cared for by their parents.
Related Video - Lita Judge Talks About Her Creative Process
Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate; Illustrated by G. Brian Kara (Clarion, October 2014) - After reading The One and Only Ivan in 2012 and being in the audience when it won a Newbery Medal in 2013, I have had a very fond spot in my heart for Ivan and his story. To have this picture book companion to the novel, also provides younger readers with a way to meet Ivan, and for others to learn about the Ivan who inspired the book.
Official Book Trailer:
Beetle Busters by Loree Griffin Burns (HMH Books for Young Readers, October 2014) - It is not a secret that I have a special fondness for the Scientist in the Field Series and would make sure that one of these titles were on this list every year. However, with four books to pick from this year, it was a bit difficult. Yet, I chose Beetle Busters because Griffin Burns captured the incredibly complex issues of how a small beetle, hardwood trees, and community residents all have a starring role in how the needs and health of the environment often require difficult decisions to be made.
Related Video - Wild Marlborough: Asian Long Horned Beetle (long but informative):
Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; Illustrated by Rick Allen (HMH Books for Young Readers, November 2014) - I do not consider myself a poetry expert but I do have my favorites and Sidman is one of my must have poets. I love how she combines poetry and information together in a book and she must be one of the luckiest authors for scoring the most amazing illustrators who have brought her text visually to life.
Related Video: Fox Dives Head First Into Snow:
and the winner:
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; Illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans Books for Young Children, September 2014) - The team of Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet is incredible. Their combined attention to detail and ability to tell a story in both text and pictures is amazing. ln my mind, their books move to a category all their own. Last year, A Splash of Read: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin won a Schneider Family Book Award. a Sibert Honor, and NCTE's Orbis Pictus Award. I am hoping for an actual Sibert medal for Team Bryant and Sweet this year with The Right Word. If not, please know that the woman sobbing at the front of the Youth Media Award's auditorium will be me.
Official Book Trailer:
We would also love your input! Which of our titles do you think will win the Sibert? Enter our Rafflecopter below to not only enter to win a copy of one of our picks (your choice!) as well as vote for which book you think will win. Note: US or Canadian mailing addresses only.