Prizes Won in Spite of Event Cancellations

Worldwide we are having a tough season: cancelled events range from children’s regular school days to international publishing conventions.  We want to share some good news that has arrived in the midst of general upset.

LBF-excellence-audiobooks-2020Congratulations are in order for Karadi Tales!  The London Book Fair was cancelled this month; however, prizes have been awarded and Karadi Tales has been named the Audiobook Publisher of the Year among the London Book Fair’s Excellence Awards! And, yes, samples are available: visit Karadi Tales’ YouTube channel, where you can hear such delightful performances as Lavanya R.N.’s The Bookworm, read by R. Madhavan while also viewing the animations of Shilo Shiv Suleman’s illustrations from the print picture book.  Karadi Tales’ Audio Stories for Kids include contemporary stories for the very young, teen novels, and folk tales. We’re delighted that the London Book Fair recognizes this international resource for listening readers.

The Riverby Awards for young children are among the John Burroughs nature writing prizes.  This week we heard the announcement that both Inhabit Media and Tilbury House will be feted at the ceremony next month. (And if that ceremony must be cancelled, we can still share the celebration with you online!) A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies, by Mia Pelletier, with illustrations by Danny Christopher, comes to nature loving kids from Inhabit Media. hawksbill-promiseHawksbill Promise, written and illustrated by Mary Beth Owens, comes to us all from Tilbury House.

KidLit Con, the annual gathering of independent children’s book bloogers, publishers, authors, and illustrators, will not being going ahead as was planned for the end of this month. However, their own Cybil Awards have been announced, giving us additional friends to celebrate.  You can read about them in our previous post, which went up a couple weeks before KidLit Con had to be cancelled.

The Mathical Book Prize is awarded by the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in partnership with the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, in coordination with the Children’s Book Council.  We hope that conferences some of these associations hold annually will be able to go forward. In the meantime, however, let’s shout out to the 2020 winners who were just announced, including Peachtree Publishing’s One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, Is 2 a Lot coverwritten and illustrated by Kate Read, winner in the Prekindergarten category. In the Grades K-2 category, Tilbury House’s Is 2 a Lot?: An Adventure with Numbers, by Annie Watson with illustrations by Rebecca Evans, received Honors.

We’ll keep you updated about more prizes and prize-winning titles as they are announced, whether or not the celebratory events that usually accompany such news can go forward in public.



Brand New Award Winners

In our last post, we sang the praises and delights of longlists and shortlists of finalists for major awards. Now we’ll celebrate some recent winners of awards that have been announced across the past few weeks.

The Cybils Awards, which “recognize the children’s and young adult authors and illustrators whose books combine the highest literary merit and popular appeal”  and are given in 14 categories (mostly content type-specific, some format-specific, and a few dividng the format by age level).  These awards hit a sweet spot between open access to the nomination process and ultimate vetting and judging by professionals with broad and deep kid lit experience. You can read more about the Cybils process here.

This year’s award in the Fiction Picture Books category went to Peachtree Publishers’ One
Fox: A Counting Book Thriller
, by Kate Read.  In the Board Book category, Gecko Press collected another prize for Jump! by Tatsuhide Matsuoka.

Also announced this month is the debut of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair’s Comics Awards, called the Ragazzi Awards. Like the Cybils, these range across age groups and content type (including kids’ comics about opera!). TOON Books’ own Liniers won in the Early Reader category.  Once again, you have good reason to hunt down a copy of Written and Drawn by Henrietta (available in both English and Spanish) to see why this book, and this cartoonist, is such an international hit!

If you’ve travelled to Nashville this week for the Public Library Association’s biannual conference, you can see these titles, the longest and shortlist titles we noted here, and more at Booth 100 during Exhibit hours.

On the Road to Awards

We love those finalists lists as much as we love the ultimate winners.  Why? Shortlists give us nuance and hit a lot of possibilities. We think winning is great! We also think recognition for being in the run-up to the ultimate announcements gives readers and listeners a lot of riches. To celebrate this season’s announcements of some of the best annual finalist lists, we’re sharing our favorites.

While the American Library Association, its youth divisions and affiliates awarded a host of prizes to books, audiobooks, and other media last month, over in the United Kingdom this year’s Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Medals’ longlists from CILIP are just out now.  We’re delighted to see several of our friends on the Kate Greenaway list! Beth Waters’ Child of St. Kilda, published by Child’s Play Library; and Dale Blankenaar’s illustrations for Quill Soup, written by Alan Durant and published by Tiny Owl; and Poonam Mistry’s artwork for You’re Snug with Me, written by  Chitra Soudar and published by Lantana Publishing are among the field of 20 illustrated books for children on this list.

There are 20 titles on the Carnegie Medal longlist as well. These books represent the judging librarians’ selections of the best in writing for children. You can find that longlist here.

The Klaus Flugge Prize recognizes the most promising newcomer in the field of children’s book illustration. The longest for this year’s prize was announced this month and includes Child’s Play’s Keith Among the Pigeons by Katie Brosnan. With 20 finalists on the list and the winner to be announced six months from now, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the whole field!

Next Monday night, the 25th Audie Awards ceremony will herald this year’s winning audiobooks as chosen by judges for the Audio Publishers Association.  In the meantime, cue up your earphones and dip into the finalists in the Young Listeners category to catch half a dozen contenders, including Live Oak Media’s full cast production of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Traci Sorell.

The London Book Fair has announced a record number of countries shortlisted for its portfolio of International Excellence Awards.  Our friends at Karadi Tales, headquartered in India, are in the final heat for Audiobook Publisher of the Year.  Sample some of their clips here. Gecko Press, at home in New Zealand, is shortlisted for the Literary Translation Initiative Award.  You probably know—and already love—some of their many translations because that’s a majority of their diligent work to bring great books to English speaking audiences. Check your library, for example, for Ulrika Kestere’s Otto Goes North, translated from Swedish by Julia Marshall.

Of course, there are many awards that have already been announced even though we are early in 2020. Tune in tomorrow for some of our favorite post-ALA announcements.

#IReadCanadian and You Can Too!

February 19, 2020, marks the first celebration of making a practice to read books from Canadian authors and publishers. We have some to share with you so you can settle in for a day of reading above the 49th parallel (and some from parts of Canada south of that, too).

Let’s start with First Nations publisher Inhabit Media, of Nunavut.  Fresh off the press is Tanna’s Owl, written by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley with illustrations by Yong Ling Kang is a picture book story featuring the realistic childhood discovery that caring for another doesn’t always mean your care is returned—and yet, we can still derive satisfaction from the effort.

From the same authors, with illustrations by Emily Fiegenschuh and Ann Lewis-MacDougall, How Things Came to Be: Inuit Stories of Creation is now available in paperback and will attract slightly older readers (grades 1 through 3). Many of Inhabit Media’s books are available in three languages: Canada’s official languages of English and French, as well as the First Nations’ languages of Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun.

Middle grade readers can meet Pajama Press (Toronto) author Michelle Kadarusman’s work through her award wining Girl of the Southern Sea or her forthcoming Music for Tigers. Also from Pajama Press, for early chapter book fans, dive into Sara Leach’s Penguin Days, illustrated by Rebecca Bender, or Colleen Nelson’s Harvey Comes Home, with spot illustrations by Tara Anderson.

Author Beverly Brenna has published with several Canadian houses and for a variety of ages.  Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life is one of her recent books from Pajama Press, also illustrated by Tara Anderson and for middle grade readers.

More resources for celebrating #IReadCanadian can be found at the Canadian School Libraries Journal site. And, on a regular basis, you can follow Annapolis Valley Regional Library (Nova Scotia) Outreach librarian Angela Reynolds on social media to see her frequent posts of her current picture book pile.

Let’s Grow More Girl Scientists!

Today’s blog post was written by our Marketing Manager Emerson Heflin.

February 11th draws attention to the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Today, less than 30% of science researchers worldwide are women, so we could use the help of some inspiring picture books and novels to change the narrative and celebrate the women and girls who are leading innovation and breaking barriers. 

First from Pajama Press comes a collection of middle grade friendly essays celebrating the adventurousness and ingenuity of girls and women around the world. The Girl Who Rode a Shark: and Other Stories of Daring Women, by Ailsa Ross and illustrated by Amy Blackwell, emphasizes the boundless potential of a new generation of female pioneers. through the chapter on awe-inspiring scientists, readers discover botanists, marine biologists, paleontologists, and neurologists turned astronauts, who have made changing scientific impacts on our planet. This is inspired writing and inspiring reading, too!

Next, explore more women scientists making strides in animal research in Humanimal, by Christopher Lloyd with illustrations by Mark Ruffle, from What on Earth Books. After learning about animal behaviors, meet the incredibly dedicated women behind the years of observation and exploration. Featured female scientists include Shifra Goldenberg, a behavioral ecologist at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Claudia Oliveira, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Research in the Azores; and Irene Pepperberg who studies bird intelligence with the psychology department at Harvard University.  

Before they were women scientists, they first were curious girls like Acadia Greene in Katie Coppens’s series The Acadia Files, published by Tilbury House and illustrated by Holly Hatam. This series provides young readers tricks and tips to take on their nature excursions and to discover for themselves what it’s like to experience curiousity and then to satisfy that curiosity with scientific thinking. From discovering why the tide submerges her sandcastles in the summer, to an investigation of momentum in the winter, 11-year-old Acadia never stops searching for answers in this four book series including SummerFallWinter, and Spring Science

Finally, for the youngest inquisitive minds, Izzy Gizmo, by Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie, and published by Peachtree Publishing Company, offers readers a feisty tale of determination, ingenuity, and friendship to capture the imaginations of aspiring young inventors. Often faced with malfunctions, Izzy Gizmo carries her toolkit with her wherever she goes. When she stumbles upon a crow with a broken wing, can she invent a contraption to help her feather friend fly again? 

We know this is just the tip of an iceberg we can explore. What are your favorite children’s books about women and girls in science? 

Lots of Winning Titles for Multicultural Book Day

January 31 is Multicultural Book Day and that arrives this year on the heels of the American Library Association’s 2020 announcements of youth media awards.  Among the rich array of picture books, novels, youth audience nonfiction, audiobooks, and apps, authors and illustrators, and children’s literature experts who received plaudits this year, we think these would enhance anyone’s celebration of Multicultural Book Day:

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga’s audiobook edition, produced by Live Oak Media, received an Odyssey Award Honor for stellar production. Written by Traci Sorell and narrated by Lauren Hummingbird, Agalisiga (Choogie) Mackey, Ryan Mackey, Traci Sorell, Tonia Weavel, the print book and the audiobook have been sweeping up a variety of awards for authentic storytelling, voice, and imagery.  AudioFile Magazine describes the production in its review:

The sounds of crickets, a crackling campfire, and music greet listeners as five narrators share the meaning of the term “otsaliheliga,” a Cherokee word meaning “We are grateful.” Each narrator lends a unique voice to the story, complementing the diverse contemporary Cherokee families who are depicted celebrating every season. Cherokee pronunciations are beautifully delivered to help listeners understand the language….

The American Indian Youth Literature awards were also announced during the Youth Media Award ceremony.  These commenddations are administered by the American Indian Library Association (AILA), an affiliate of the American Library Association  Reawakening Our Ancestors’ Lines: Revitalizing Inuit Traditional Tattooing, gathered and compiled by Angela Hovak Johnston (Inuk), with photography by Cora De Vos (Inuk), published by Inhabit Media, was awarded Honors in the Young Adult category. 

USBBY 2020 Outistanding International Books map

Earlier in the American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting, the United States Board on Books for Young People announced their Outstanding International Books for 2020. All of these make excellent choices for Multicultural Book Day!  We are especially pleased to point up:

Inhabit Media’s The Pencil, by Susan Avingaq and Maren Vsetula, with illustrations by Charlene Chua, brings young picture book readers a compelling story that also introduces how cultural artifacts influence multicultural meeting points in a story of the post-European contact era in an Inuit household. You can read more about this one, and see some of the delightful illustrations, too, in this review from CanLit for Little Canadians.

Thukpa for All, by  Praba Ram and Sheela Preuitt, with illustrations by Shlipa Ranade, and published by Karadi Tales, offers picture book readers a story of making Tibetan soup in a cooperative series of additions and tasting (Yes, recipe included!). 

Slightly older children, and lovers of non-Western art, will want to tuck into USBBY- recommended The Parrot and the Merchant: A Tale of Rumi, translated by Azita Rassi with illustrations by the author Marjan Vafaeian, and published by Tiny Owl Publishing. Horn Book’s review describes this one:

First published in Tehran in 2013, this retelling of Rumi’s thirteenth-century fable changes the gender of the merchant from male to female. Illustrations employ unusual color combinations and loads of texture and detail…. 

Middle grade readers can dive into one or both of the USBBY recommendations for the age group published by Pajama Press.  Michelle Kadarusman’s novel Girl of the Southern Sea features an Indonesian setting well known by this Australian-Indonesian-Canadian author. Nonfiction readers can turn to The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women, by Alisa Ross and illustrated by Amy Blackwell, to explore adventurers, inventors, and creatives who took chances to follow their inspirations.

Happy Multicultural Book Day reading to you all!  And congratulations to this newest crop of award-winning authors, illustrators, readers, and publishers!

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr, with a Day On

If you’ve visited our About Us page here, you know that Ellen’s staff knows and cares a lot about children as well as children’s books and publishers. We’d like to invite all of you to join us in honoring Martin Luther King, Jr during this long weekend by taking part in a child-supporting initiative. Join us in making the holiday a Day On rather than a Day Off.

Several of us are participating in a local Nashville event Monday: Ride for Reading’s Warehouse Cleaning. Others are sorting new adult books destined for More Than Words‘ youth-run bookshop. Wherever you are, you can find a service in need of volunteers and Monday is the perfect time to commit to one that speaks to your skills and can gain from your involvement. Check the MLK Day of Service site and join us, virtually, by acting locally.

How will you spend the long weekend?

Honoring World Arabic Language Day with Picture Books

Today’s post is written by Emerson Heflin, of Publisher Spotlight’s marketing team.

World Arabic Language Day falls on 18 December. As one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, Arabic is used daily by more than 290 million people. World Arabic Language Day is an opportunity to admire and appreciate the language’s rich contributions to human enterprises and achievements. It’s a great time to share children’s books that celebrate the Arabic language. 

Kube Publishing is committed to serving Muslim communities worldwide by publishing, innovative, relevant, and authentic books. Their four-title board book series “I Say…” offers toddlers and little ones simple introductions to common Arabic words. In each book, with the help of brother and sister duo Nabil and Noura, author Noor H. Dee and illustrator Iput establish a new phrase along with the situational context it is said in. At the back of the book readers can find the word written in Arabic as well as a transliteration. Start with I Say Alhamdulillah and follow with I Say As-Salamu ‘alaykumI Say Bismillah, and I Say Mashallah.

From Lantana Publishing, award-winning author Nadine Kaadan’s mission is to spread reading culture in the Arab world, in a way that is inspired by the rich heritage of Syria. Published in the U.S. last September, her book Tomorrow was translated from Arabic as Ghadan and presents an uplifting story about a courageous little boy growing up in a time of conflict.  

Then from Tilbury House Publishers, The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story. After recently moving from Egypt to America, Kanzi becomes mortified when her mother arrives at school to drop of her lunch and lovingly calls her Habibti, meaning dear one in Arabic. Instead of letting her shy away from her Arabic heritage, her mother suggests creating a quilt of all of Kanzi’s classmates’ names in Arabic. Complete with a glossary of Arabic words, this title is a perfect example of cultural sharing. This is the first book from new author Aya Khalil, with illustrations lovingly provided by Anait Semirdzhyan.

Each of these books offers an authentic #OwnVoices experience that can offer readers of all backgrounds windows and mirrors, depending on what they bring to the celebration of World Arabic Language Day.

Books to Honor Adoption Awareness Month

November’s call for adoption awareness makes it an excellent time to recall awareness to two of our favorite picture books that make adoption accessible to young readers who may not have familiarity with this mode of family building. And Thanksgiving week seems the right time of the month to make sure family get togethers include understanding how dynamic and authentic adopted families are.

From Tilbury House, the contemporary classic Real Sisters Pretend, by Megan Dowd Lambert and with beautifully realistic art by Nicole Tadgell, has won an array of honors. An older sister comforts her younger one, who has been teased for her family status, by walking her through recent memories of the experience the family has shared in family court, the place where their sisterhood was pronounced “real.”

From NubeOcho Books, The Day of Your Arrival, written by Dolores Brown and with bright illustrations by Reza Dalvand, and available in both English and Spanish, presents the story of a family awaiting a yet-unknown adopted child. This offers a fine counterpoint to the myriad picture books of expectant families where a mother is pregnant.

Both picture books offer opportunities for pleasant lapis reading as well as discussion with preschool aged children. And they also make excellent gifts for new adoptive parents and grandparents.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week 2019 with Book Formats Less than 100 Years Old

Although Children’s Book Week now marks a century of calling attention to the diversity and splendor of all that kids and caretakers can find on library and bookshop shelves, there are some great book formats that weren’t even around back in 1919–or even in 1929.

It was just a year or two after 1929, however, that comic books began to find a toe hold among reading kids. And by 1979, the age of the graphic novel arrived. Publishing for kids in these two related formats has been booming since. We can see why when this year brings us Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, published by Lion Forge, a graphic novel for tweens and older in which magic is part of the fabric of our world and both food and witches draw in readers familiar with that world as well as those who are new arrivals.

A slightly younger crowd can delight in the arrival of volume 2 of Camp Midnight, appropriately subtitled…Camp Daybright. This romp from Steven Seagle and Jason Adam Katzenstein, published by Image Comics, pits camp against camp, very young goths against way-too-cheery cherubs. It’s everything a kid hopes and fears a camping experience might include.

Even younger than comics and only slightly older than graphic novels for kids, is the audiobook format of providing literary experiences enhanced by the human voice. Audiobooks affect the brain just the way print books do so hang up your snobbish and outdated opinions and accept the science. And enjoy!

Just right for the season is Live Oak Media’s full cast production of We Are Grateful, written by tribally enrolled kids author Traci Sorell and performed by friends and family, including the 15-year-old winner of a Cherokee language event at the University of Oklahoma, Agalisiga (Choogie) Mackey.

Both Barefoot Books and Child’s Play Library also produce audiobooks that are excellent for young readers. Child’s Play has just re-issued a Spanish language edition of “The Wheels on the Bus”–Las ruedas del autobus–that includes the lyrics, an accompanying CD (get your pronunciation there, folks), and illustrations that amplify the narrative, just as images do in comics. A great treat for a modern Children’s Book Week!