Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: Mock Sibert Predictions Part I

Before I jump into my Mock Sibert predictions, I want to share about a new resource.  If you don't already know about FROM THE MIXED UP FILES....Of Middle Grade Authors blog, I wanted to point out that they are now hosting STEM TUESDAY


Check back every Tuesday of every month:

  • Week 1:  STEM Tuesday Themed Book Lists
  • Week 2:  STEM Tuesday in the Classroom
  • Week 3:  STEM Tuesday Craft and Resources
  • Week 4:  STEM Tuesday Author Interviews and Giveaways

Now onto my post.


The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award goes to the most distinguished informational book published in the United States. 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.

In addition to the qualities above, you can find further criteria here.  This is where things can get tricky.  One of the criteria is that the author and illustrator must be a citizen of the United States or maintain a residence in the United States. Sadly, this usually rules out a couple of books each year.

Another important consideration is how the Sibert defines informational book. "Informational books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material."

A final consideration that I will highlight is how the Sibert defines "children's literature". 

"Children’s literature is defined as the body of books published for an intended and potential child audience.  Such books display respect for children’s understanding, abilities, and appreciation.  Children range from birth through age fourteen.  Books for the entire range are to be considered."

As an aside, this is NOT my Nonfiction Best Of list for the year. Check back later in December for my favorites of the year.  

For this list, I looked back over the previous winners to see about any trends and to get a sense for what has been considered excellent nonfiction.  I am a bit worried that given last year's winners that this year's winners will skew older and longer than picture books. I am worried that I either haven't read the winner yet or that what I am loving are not viewed the same by the committee. What I am hoping is that I have provided you with a list of books that will provide you and your students with a great opportunity to read fabulous books and compare them to the list of criteria and see what you decide. And hopefully we just might find a winner. 

Are you ready? Here are my mock Sibert picks in no particular order...


Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams Books for Young Readers)


Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael James Mahin, Illustrated by Evan Turk (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)


Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrated by James Ransome (Holiday House)

grace hopper.jpg

Grace Hopper: Queen of the Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark, Illustrated by Katy Wu (Sterling Children's Books)


Grand Canyon by Jason Chin (Roaring Brook Press)


Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Victo (Millbrook Press)


The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Weschler (Charlesbridge Press)


A Hundred Billion, Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman, Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg (Greenwillow Books)


How to Be An Elephant by Katherine Roy (David Macaulay Studio)

And two bonus books just for fun and because I really like them...


Can an Aardvark Bark? by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Beach Lane Books)

Previous posts to check out:
My Mock Sibert Info Post | Melissa Stewart's Sibert Smackdown Post | My early thoughts on Mock Sibert | Michele Knott's Sibert Smackdown Post

Check back next week for some long form nonfiction picks.

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews...