Kid Lit Frenzy and Unleashing Readers 2014 Mock Sibert Award Picks

Over the past two years, Alyson has hosted, and Kellee has participated in, a book challenge pushing ourselves to read more nonfiction picture books. This year, after reading many of the best nonfiction picture books published in 2013, we decided that it would be fun to do a Mock Sibert Award post together.

The 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, I agonized over all of the wonderful books that I had read.  It wasn't easy to narrow it down to only six books from 2013.  Finally, I decided on six titles that I hope will win or be honored on January 27th.

Check out Unleashing Readers, as well, to see what Kellee chose as her picks.

Alyson's Six Picks for the 2014 Sibert Award:

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel; Illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Balzer & Bray, January 22, 2013) - This was on of the first nonfiction picture books I read in 2013.  I loved it in the beginning of the year and I still adored it at the end.  Markel's storytelling combined with Sweet's mixed media illustrations brought to life Clara and her fight for better working conditions for those working in factories (particularly the seamstresses).  An amazing and inspirational story and one that I will remember for a long time.  Click on the title of the book to go to my full review.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young; Illustrated by Nicole Wang (Charlesbridge Publishing, September 1, 2013) - I truly wish that more writers of nonfiction for children would take some tips from Melissa Stewart.  She created an book that was both entertaining and very informative with a dash of humor thrown in.  This book addresses how many factors influence one another in the environment and make each small thing central to the survival of other living plants and animals.  Clicking on the title takes you to my review.

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos by Deborah Heiligman; Illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Roaring Brook Press, June 25, 2013)- I very much love nonfiction picture books and there are some that are good stories and then there are others that move into the category of wonderful.  The Boy Who Loved Math was charming and entertaining but Pham's ability to bring the math alive in this story helps to move it into a very special category.  Clicking on the title takes you to my review.

Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth; Illustrated by Cindy Trumbore (Lee & Low Books, September 15, 2013) - I noticed this book showing up on a number of notable lists in the fall. However, it took me awhile to finally track this one down.  I was fascinated by the design layout of the book and the textured cuttings that Trumbore uses to create each page of illustrations.  I can wager that this took some time to create.  In addition to the incredible illustrations, I discovered that I knew little of the history of parrots in Puerto Rico.  I was fascinated to learn about the history, and also about how they almost went extinct.  The story about how scientists have been working to save these beautiful birds was fascinating.

The Tapir Scientist by Sy Montgomery; Photographs by Nic Bishop (HMH Books for Young Readers, July 23, 2013) - I am seriously too much of a girly-girl to ever trek around a rainforest or some forest or jungle studying wild animals. Therefore, I am thankful to Sy Montgomery for documenting her time spent with Pati Medici in Brazil learning about Tapirs. Do you know about Tapirs? I had no clue until I read this book.  Montgomery does an awesome job capturing what it is like to study these amazing creatures out in the wild.  Nic Bishop brings it all to life with his incredible photographs.  If you are not familiar with The Scientists in the Field series, I suggest starting with this one and then checking out all of the other ones.

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles America's First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick Press, January 22, 2013) - On my way from Boston to Connecticut after NCTE '13, I listened to Courage Has No Color. While I sat in my car in pre-holiday traffic, I was transported back to World War II and the lives of the men who were the first Black Paratroopers.  The narrator of the audiobook helped to bring another level to this story.  Tanya Lee Stone is one of my go to authors for nonfiction and she doesn't seem to ever disappoint.  

We would also love your input! Which of our ten 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.

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