Category Archives: Awards
We’re so proud of our award-winning authors, and we’d love for you to be able to use these great books in your classroom right away (if you aren’t already, of course)! Read on for some teaching resources to help jump-start discussions and lessons centered around these stellar titles . . .
Here are a handful of images from NELSON MANDELA that you can use as visual inspiration for lessons or projects on history, politics, biography, or even just to print and hang in your classroom or library.
Don’t forget to check out our Common Core Resources page for lots more teaching guides, discussion guides, lesson ideas, and more!
Working in children’s books, there are few days that can compare to the Monday morning of the ALA Midwinter conference, when the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced. Cheers and gasps follow the announcement of every award named, and hugs and happiness end the conference on the highest of notes. What a great day for authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishing professionals, and book lovers all over the world! We are so honored that awards committees named the following HarperCollins Children’s Books titles amongst the best and the brightest this year:
Coretta Scott King Author Award to Rita Williams-Garcia, for P.S. BE ELEVEN
Newbery Honor to Kevin Henkes, for THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER.
Schneider Family Book Award for Middle Grade to Merrie Haskell, for HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS
Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor to Kevin Henkes for PENNY AND HER MARBLE
Coretta Scott King Author Honor to Walter Dean Myers, for DARIUS & TWIG
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor to Kadir Nelson, for NELSON MANDELA
Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor to Rafael Lopez for TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING (written by Monica Brown)
We’re grateful to publish these books, written and illustrated by the most creative, dedicated folks we know, and put them into your hands, the teachers and librarians who give them to children and promote a life-long love of learning. What a fine day to do what we do!
Did you know that Patricia MacLachlan’s books are now available ebooks? Look at all of these beautiful ebooks!
To mark the occasion, Patricia stopped by to share some heartwarming thoughts about writing and reading and families. She also filmed a video interview for us, so don’t forget to check that out (below)!
From Patricia MacLachlan:
I have been a reader all my life, long before I became a writer. When I was little I read under a quilt at night, in a tree (!), and all the way home from the library, my mother’s hand on my neck, leading me safely across streets. My grandchildren are readers too, and they are becoming writers with their own voices.
What does reading mean to me? Books help me find out who I am and who I want to be. Books give me courage. Books make me smile. And laugh. And sometimes they make me cry. But always books make me think about what all the children in the world have in common even though they may live far away from each other.
Writing helps me stay close to my family; Sarah, Plain and Tall is about my step great grandmother who I always thought was brave to travel from Maine to Kansas all on her own to meet her new family. My own father’s farm is in Sarah, Plain and Tall, and his farm dogs and his horse, Jack.
Cassie Binegar is a lot about me when I was about ten years old and hid under the dining room table with the tablecloth hanging down, listening to stories people at the table told. Seven Kisses in a Row was written after listening to my young daughter Emily and my husband talk one evening. In fact all my children are in Seven Kisses in a Row, my oldest son John and his younger brother Jamie, who had a great dirt collection!
I played the cello in elementary school and so The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt is about a group of players in a string quartet.
I notice that many of my books are about old people and young people. I like the aunts in Unclaimed Treasures (“unclaimed treasures” being my mother’s name for unmarried women) Old Pepper is another character in the book, wise and kind. My children had a wonderful relationship with my father and mother. My father, who lived to be 102, had respect for children and thought that old people and young people were connected in many ways.. That has gone into many of my books. The old and young are close in all of my stories.
My books often begin because of something a child of mine said, or a grandchild’s question. In some ways writers are watchers and listeners. Spies maybe! One day my oldest son said to a school friend, “watch out what you say in this house. You may appear in a book.”
My books are personal for me.
I truly hope they become personal for you, too. And I am happy to know that children read my books in whatever form – in hard copy books or in ebooks as well.
Thanks so much, Patricia!
Take a walk down memory lane with us via this photo-dump of our very favorite ALA images…
Our booth was looking pretty snazzy. This is before 26,000 people descended on the exhibit hall, so we still all had all of our fingers and toes…
Were you lucky enough to attend this year’s ALSC Preconference, “A Wild Ride: 75 Years of the Caldecott Medal” at the Art Institute of Chicago? If so, we’re horribly jealous.
It takes a village to run a Veronica Roth signing– and we are happy to be that village! It’s amazing to see how involved fans feel in Veronica’s world, and how highly they (and we) are anticipating the movie (coming out in 2014!) and ALLEGIANT (on sale 10.22.13).
A moment to pinch yourself and make sure you’re not dreaming: THREE Newbery medalists in our booth at the same time. Katherine Patterson, Katherine Applegate, and Patricia McLachlan. We might have gone a little paparazzi on these lovely ladies… but who can blame us?!
During our Newbery committee dinner celebrating THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky over the city.
Our very own (we can claim her as all ours since she wrote GIANT DANCE PARTY for Greenwillow Books) Betsy Bird, wearing our favorite ensemble of the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, which represented all 5 of this year’s Caldecott books.
This crew (Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek, Judy Zuckerman, and Virginia Duncan) all dressed up in honor of Kevin’s 2005 Caldecott-winning KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON.
A HUGE thank you to all who helped make this ALA one for the ages!
If you peeked into our offices today, you might be a little alarmed at the frantic packing and printing and prepping for ALA Annual in Chicago at the end of the week! Chicago itself might be a little frantic today as well, considering that the Blackhawks won their 5th Stanley Cup last night! Full disclosure: Chicago gal here !
Will you be in the Windy City as well? If so, please come by our booth and say hello to our amazing group of absurdly talented authors and illustrators. Can you believe this crew? Too good!
All signings take place in Booth #2407:
FRIDAY, JUNE 28th:
SATURDAY, JUNE 29th:
9:30–10:00am, Betsy Bird
9:30–10:00am, Margaret McNamara
10:00–11:00am, emily m. danforth (Morris Award Finalist!)
11:00am–12:00pm, Mo Willems
12:00–1:00pm, Peter Lerangis
2:00–3:00pm, Veronica Roth (*limited, ticketed signing. Tickets will be available in our booth beginning Friday (6/28) at 5:30pm, while supplies last*)
4:00–5:00pm, Kadir Nelson
SUNDAY, JUNE 30th:
9:30–10:30am, Kevin Henkes
10:30–11:30am, Katherine Patterson (Wilder Award Winner!)
10:30–11:30am, Patricia McLachlan
10:30–11:30am, Katherine Applegate (Newbery Award Winner!)
12:30–1:30pm, Michael Grant
1:30–2:00pm, Jarrett Krosoczka
1:30–2:00pm, Francesca Lia Block
2:00–3:00pm, James Dean & Eric Litwin (Geisel Honorees!)
3:00–3:30pm, Melissa Sweet
MONDAY, JULY 1st:
Hope to see you there!
As Black History Month draws to a close, we’d like to celebrate the life and work of one of our most groundbreaking author/illustrators, John Steptoe.
“I am not an exception to the rule among my race of people, I am the rule. By that I mean there are a great many others like me where I come from.”
Born in Brooklyn in 1950, John’s career was filled with highlights of the highest honors: 2 Caldecott Honors, 2 Coretta Scott King Awards for Illustration, among many, many more– but above all he is remembered for his abiding passion for instilling children, especially African-American children, with pride in their identity and ancestry in a time when multicultural books were few and far between.
His first picture book, STEVIE, about an African-American child who resents and then accepts a younger foster brother, was published in 1969 when John was just 18 years old, and remains in print today.
STEVIE, by John Steptoe, ISBN: 9780064431224
John’s best-known book, MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS, was published to huge critical acclaim in 1988. This modern fable about pride going before the fall has been a classic for more than twenty years, the illustrations are absolutely stunning, and the research involved awakened John’s pride in his African ancestry.
MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE, by John Steptoe, ISBN: 9780688040451
If you follow the annual ALA Youth Media Awards, you’ll recognize John’s name from his namesake award: the John Steptoe New Talent Award, which the Coretta Scott King Task force awards annually to a new African-American writer or illustrator whose works “demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.” Quite a fitting way to honor a man whose work was a shining light blazing a trail forward.
We hope your Black History Month celebrations were fruitful this month and inspire you all year long!
The news is now far and wide, but we want to officially say– yahoo! This past weekend in Seattle at the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association, six of our titles were honored by awards committees and we are beyond bowled over with excitement and pride. Congratulations to all– to the authors, editors, fans, and champions of these books. Every Midwinter we are so grateful to be reminded that the community we book-people live and work within is vibrant, supportive, and very, very much alive and kicking. We are all in it together.
- Newbery Medal Winner: THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, by Katherine Applegate. (see our previous post about IVAN here, and our discussion guide here)
- Caldecott Honor: EXTRA YARN, by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen.
- Printz Honor: DODGER, by Terry Pratchett (see a special note from Terry about Dodger here)
- Schneider Family Book Award: A DOG CALLED HOMELESS, by Sarah Lean
- Geisel Honor: PETE THE CAT AND HIS FOUR GROOVY BUTTONS, created and illustrated by James Dean, story by Eric Litwin
- Morris Award Finalist: THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, by emily m. danforth
All of our award-winning books living together in harmony.
Newbery Committee member Susannah Richards placing IVAN’s shiny sticker!
EXTRA YARN co-editor (VP and co-publisher of Balzer + Bray) Alessandra Balzer doing the honors!
Printz Committee friends giving DODGER their love.
Congratulations to all authors and illustrators honored with 2013 awards, and the biggest and humblest of thank you’s to the awards committees for their hard work, dedication, and the countless hours they spent this past year reading and discussing books. Now we wish we could fast-forward to June and our official ALA celebrations!
Back in January, the lovely and talented Lili Wilkinson won a Stonewall Book Award Honor in the Children’s and Young Adult division for her young adult book (and U.S. debut) PINK, a lively and resonant look at a teen’s attempts to don a new personality and figure out who she really wants to be. What a treat to be able to share her remarks here, read at the Stonewall’s ALA Annual celebration by Lili’s wonderful editor, Anne Hoppe.
Now, on to it!
“Good evening. My apologies for not being here – Australia is a very long way away.
I’d like to start by thanking the Australian publisher of Pink – Allen & Unwin, in particular my editors Jodie Webster and Hilary Reynolds.
And if it’s not too awkward for her to read this out loud, I must also thank the wonderful Anne Hoppe and everyone else at HarperCollins. Pink is the first of my books to reach American shores, and you have given it such a warm welcome and loving home. Thank you for the gorgeous cover. Thank you for putting it into the hands of teenage readers. Thanks especially for your help in translating the book into American while keeping its Australian setting and flavour.
And of course thanks to my fabulous agent Kate Schafer Testerman, for working so tirelessly to find my books homes in the US.
The book is dedicated to publisher and writer extraordinaire David Levithan, and I wanted to take a moment to explain why.
Many years ago David came to the Reading Matters conference in Melbourne, which I used to help organise. David made an impassioned speech about how teachers, publishers, parents, librarians and other “gatekeepers” have a responsibility to help young people kill the vampires.
… This was pre-Twilight, I should add.
David was referring to a song called Die Vampires Die from an off-Broadway musical called Title of Show. A vampire, in this case, is “any person, thought or feeling that stands between you and your creative self expression.” They creep around and whisper in your ears, saying things like “Your teeth need whitening. You went to state school? You sound weird. Shakespeare, Sondheim and Sedaris did it before you, and better than you.” They tell you you’re not good enough, and you can’t help believing them.
One of the ways we could help young people kill these vampires, suggested David, was by making sure that every teenager could see themselves reflected on the shelves of their libraries and bookshops. And, in his opinion, when it came to books about gay teenagers, we were failing to do that.
The speech received a standing ovation, and I’m proud to say that the Australian publishers, teachers and librarians in the room listened, and since then things have started to change.
But I got to thinking. I’d read books about gay teenagers. Not many, certainly. But I had read a few – David’s not least among them. But I couldn’t think of any books I’d read about the teenagers who aren’t sure. And really, who’s sure about anything when they’re sixteen? I wanted to write a book for those teenagers. I wanted to write a book that said – there are some things you never have to definitively decide on. You don’t ever have to put yourself in a closed-off, past-the-point-of-no-return box, and you really don’t have to do it when you’re sixteen. It’s okay if you’re not sure.
So I wrote Pink.
Books about girls often don’t win awards. We focus a lot of our attention on getting boys reading. I visited an all-girls secondary school recently where not one book was studied that featured a female protagonist. And funny books with pink covers are even less likely to catch the attention of academics and awards judges. When you get home, have a look at how much academic analysis there is of authors like Meg Cabot, Maureen Johnson, Cathy Cassidy or Louise Rennison. Is it because their books are shallow and insubstantial? Cabot’s The Princess Diaries is about a teenage environmentalist who brings democracy to a small European principality. Just because a book is funny and romantic, doesn’t mean it has nothing to say.
Someone asked me the other day why all of my books feature strong, female protagonists. Confused, I repeated what Joss Whedon had said when he was asked the same thing: “Because you’re still asking me that question.”
I love writing about strong, funny, flawed girls who are curious about the world. I love writing romance. I love writing books that make the reader think, that encourage them see the world in different ways.
Which brings me back to Pink, and to my thank yous. More than anything, I want to thank the judges that saw fit to recognise Pink. It means so much to me that a funny, romantic pink book from the other side of the world is to be given such a prestigious honour, to sit alongside amazing writers like Brian Farrey, Ilike Merey, Paul Yee and of course Bil Wright.
The importance of organisations like the American Library Association, and awards like the Stonewall, cannot be overestimated, and as an author I am immensely proud to have that sticker on my book. It’s also lovely that it matches the cover.
My final thank you is on behalf of the teenage readers who have written to me and come up to me at schools and festivals to tell me how Pink made a difference to them. It’s a thank you to the gatekeepers: the publishers, teachers, librarians and parents who make sure that all teenagers are reflected on bookshelves. Thank you for fighting the good fight. Thank you for helping to kill those vampires.”
Thank you, Lili! We’re honored to be your publisher, and inspired by your words.
Truly, our cup is overflowing. Everyone here is beyond excited and incredibly proud of our award winning books and authors, announced this Monday at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. An astounding amount of work, love, patience, devotion, and hope goes into each book that’s published, and we’re honored to be part of the process that helps carry an author’s dream from their heart out into the world. Let us share our sincerest congratulations to all of our recognized authors and illustrators.
- INSIDE OUT & BACK AGAIN, by Thanhha Lai: John Newbery Honor
- HEART AND SOUL, written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson: Coretta Scott King (Author) Award and (Illustrator) Honor
- THE GREAT MIGRATION, written by Eloise Greenfield, illustrations by Jan Spivey Gilchrist: Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor
- PINK, by Lili Wilkinson: Stonewall Honor
- THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, by Rae Carson: William C. Morris Award Finalist
We have a ceremony of our own back in our booth after the awards announcements, wherein we do a little drumroll as we place the medal on each book. And behold, it is very good.
And for your browsing pleasure, a few links to past Page Turn posts on our winners:
Things might be a little quiet over here at the blog this week, because the team is packing up and heading to Dallas, Texas to attend the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. We love this conference– we catch up with old friends, make new ones, promote our terrific upcoming books, and scope the scene for what’s about to pop onto our radar.
If you’ll be at Midwinter too, please stop by our booth (#1528) and say hello! We have LOTS of galleys to give out, including UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi, Sara Pennypacker’s middle grade SUMMER OF THE GYPSY MOTHS, Adam Rex’s first-in-a-trilogy COLD CEREAL, and PANDEMONIUM, Lauren Oliver’s follow up to DELIRIUM*. Plus you absolutely must meet Penny, Kevin Henkes‘ newest mouse, whose sweet story is sure to win a place in your heart.
See you in Dallas, y’all!
*Limited quantities available.