Mock Belpré Results

The Butler Children’s Literature Center’s Mock Pura Belpré Award results are in!

MockBelpreWinners

The Medal winner for text is The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (Viking, 2017).

Two Honor Books for text were named: Forest World by Margarita Engle (Simon and Schuster/Atheneum, 2017) and Stef Soto Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (Little, Brown, 2017).

The Medal winner for illustration is Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics, illustrated by Rafael López, written by Margarita Engle (Holt, 2017).

Two Honor Books for illustration were named: Lucía the Luchadora, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez, written by Cynthia Leonor Garza (POW!, 2017) and Miguel’s Brave Knight: Young Cervantes and His Dream of Don Quixote, illustrated by Raúl Colón, written by Margarita Engle.

Congratulations to tonight’s winners and we look forward to seeing the REAL results on Monday, February 12, 2018 during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

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A Review of Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say

This is one of the most remarkably affecting books I have ever read. When a baby is born, he or she doesn’t know s/he is deaf, autistic, or any different from anyone else; it is positively heartbreaking to read about this one’s introduction to a world that was almost unfailingly cruel.

Born in in 1899 in rural Idaho, James Castle was deaf, unable to speak, and autistic. Through straightforward narration, his nephew attempts to show the world through baby James’ eyes: “James opened his eyes to the world and saw things that moved and things that were still. Anything that moved seemed to scare him. He cried as his parents bobbed around him with darting eyes and flapping mouths. But James couldn’t hear himself shrieking. For him the world would always be silent.” It is truly the stuff of nightmares, interpreted hauntingly by Say’s mixed-media art, some in smudgy grayscale and some in color. Images of young James engaged by various scraps of paper, charcoal, and other “found” art materials are almost peaceful; they are juxtaposed by harrowing scenes of him holding his arms around his ears while other children scream taunts at him.

SilentDaysSilentDreams

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2017)

James’ own parents were no doubt as terrified and perplexed by their son as he was by the world; unfortunately, they were ill-equipped, or unable or unwilling, to figure out how best to rear him. At first, they gave him old paper or other throwaway items, since those things seemed to keep him entertained or at least occupied. They sent him to a school where he appears to have found some level of engagement: looking books and printed materials in the library, although he could not read; watching teachers sew books together; and doing “well in shoe repair class.” But the school considered him a failure because he could not learn to speak. There is no judgement made explicit in the text on the principal who advised James’ parents “…not to give James and drawing materials at home. He said James should learn to read and write and not waste time on drawings.” Readers will come to their own conclusions about the humanity, or lack thereof, in this approach.

As an adult, James became extremely isolated, essentially living in a barn where he had his “studio” and a mattress on the floor. Continually tormented by kids stealing his artwork, and called names such as “Dummy” and “Crazy Jimmy,” he nonetheless persisted in doing the only thing that seemed to give him any pleasure: using whatever he could find (soot with spit, charred sticks, and the like) to create art. Say’s portrayal of the type of illustrations James was creating at this time show eerie pictures of people with boxes or blank circles where faces should be, as well as quotidian images of small wooden houses and little puppets of dolls, farm animals and birds. We’ll never really know, but it’s possible James was expressing his wishes, desires, and silent dreams for home and companionship in the only way he knew how.

There is some redemption to James’ story with an art show organized by his nephew’s teacher in art school, and an eventual trailer in which he could live that was a big step up from the shacks he’d inhabited for most of his life. Nowadays, “found” or “naïve” art is a recognized genre, and James Castle is a respected contributor to it. Say’s closing portrait shows James as an adult, standing in front of his “Dream House,” with what might be a hint of a smile. The text reads “I think he was happy.”

An author’s note, bibliography, and photos of some of the found materials Say used to create the art round out this haunting picture book biography for older readers.

Fall 2017 Mock Award Series

Youth media awards give us a unique opportunity to hone our evaluation skills, from literary quality to art appreciation, to figuring out what “outstanding” and “excellence of presentation for an intended child audience” mean. For this fall’s Butler Book Banters, we are kicking off a series of “mock” award programs, in which we’ll apply the real award criteria to books that are really eligible this year, then compare our results when the real ones are announced at ALA’s Youth Media Awards Press Conference during the Midwinter Meeting in January 2018: A Mock Pura Belpré Award on 11/9/17 and a Mock Coretta Scott King Book Award on 12/7/17. Books will be out at 5 p.m., we’ll have discussion from 6:00-8:00, and we’ll vote from 8:00-9:00. Pizza and drinks will be provided and participants may feel free to bring refreshments too!

MOCK PURA BELPRE AWARD: Thurs. 11/9/17, 5:00-9:00 p.m.

The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. It is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA: the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.

MOCK CORETTA SCOTT KING BOOK AWARD: Thurs. 12/7/17, 5:00-9:00 p.m.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.  First awarded in 1969, they are administered by the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table of the American Library Association.

April B3: Immigration Stories

These days, it’s more important than ever for us to share stories about immigration with the young readers we serve; both for the sake of immigrant kids in our communities, and to encourage understanding among others of these kids’ experiences.

Join us on April 5, 2017 in the Butler Center from 5:30-7:00 (books & snacks out at 5:30; discussion from 6-7) to discuss the following list of recently published books with an immigration theme, from picture books to children’s fiction to teen fiction. We’re focusing on fiction this time; we know there are lots of excellent informational books too. You may remember the Butler Center’s “Big Read” bibliography from last year; this month’s list complements the selections recommended there.

PICTURE BOOKS

CallingtheWaterDrum
Calling the Water Drum
by LaTisha Redding, illus. by Aaron Boyd (Lee & Low, 2016)

PieceofHome
A Piece of Home
by Jeri Watts, illus. by Hyewon Yum (Candlewick, 2016)

CHILDREN’S FICTION

LongPitchHome
A Long Pitch Home
by Natalie Dias Lorenzi (Charlesbridge, 2016)

OnlyRoad.jpeg
The Only Road
by Alexandra Diaz (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 2016)

TEEN FICTION

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Girl Mans Up
by M-E Girard (HarperTeen, 2016)

Watched
Watched
by Marina Budhos (Random/Wendy Lamb, 2016)

Mock CaldeNott Medal and Honors

Well, we did it! We did in just 90 minutes what it takes “real” committees a whole year to do (ha ha, just kidding). But we DID discuss and vote on a Butler’s dozen (13) titles not eligible for the Caldecott. Other than the eligibility, we stuck with all the other criteria and processes, including balloting and determining our Medal winner and Honor Books.

Our Mock CaldeNott Medal winner is Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (North-South)

armstrong

Our “committee” named two Mock CaldeNott Honor Books:

Gordon & Tapir by Sebastian Meschenmoser (North-South)

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The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye)

journey

Thanks to guest co-moderator Keary Bramwell and all our indefatigable committee “members!” Stay tuned for more Mocks coming up…..

Mock CaldeNott – February 1, 2017

We’re thrilled to bring back the popular Mock CaldeNott for the first Butler Book Banter of 2017, in which we get together just after the REAL Youth Media Awards to deliberate about terrific books that weren’t discussed in the Caldecott Committee, not because they aren’t worthy, but because they’re outside the scope of the real-life award. We’re talking about books published in other countries and/or illustrated by people who are not US citizens or residents. All the books on our list were published in 2016, though.

So, as soon as we’ve finished Monday-morning quarterbacking the actual award winner selections, let’s dig into something a little different! Join us here in the Butler Center from 5:30-7:30 (books and snacks out at 5:30, discussion from 6-7, voting from 7-7:30).

Special thanks to guest co-moderator Keary Bramwell, who spurred us to do this again and did yeoman’s work in helping develop the discussion list. See you on February first!

Are You an Echo? The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko by David Jacobson, illustrated by Toshikado Hajiri (Chin Music)

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (North-South)

Beach Baby by Laurie Elmquist, illus. by Elly McKay (Orca)

The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc (Kids Can)

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston (Candlewick)

Circle by Jeannie Baker (Candlewick)

Gordon & Tapir by Sebastian Meschenmoser (North-South)

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye)

King Baby by Kate Beaton (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine)

Look Up! by Jung Jin-Ho (Holiday)

Over the Ocean by Taro Gomi (Chronicle)

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey by Margriet Ruurs, illus. by Nizar Badr (Orca)

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano, illus. by Julie Morstad (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter)

 

At the Core of Librarianship

by Diane Foote, Hal Patnott, and Alena Rivers

Collaboration. Excellence. Inclusiveness. Innovation. Integrity and respect. Leadership. Responsiveness.

These are the core values of children’s librarianship, as articulated by our professional association, ALSC. These values offer all of us a framework for our philosophy, goals, and actions; particularly today, but really, every day. The children we serve deserve all of our efforts to collaborate with them, their families, and our communities; they deserve the very best in books and media. All children deserve to be included in the radical promise of universal access to information and education. Young people deserve our best new ideas. All children deserve to be treated with integrity and respect. Young people deserve our leadership in modeling and fostering all of these values, and young people need us to respond to their needs, and the needs of a changing society.

We can do all these things. It is easier and more effective to do all of these things if we do them together (collaboration). Here in the Butler Center, we feel we do these things naturally, organically, and in the course of our daily work. However, sometimes it becomes important to be more intentional and disciplined about beliefs we may take for granted, or assume are universally shared. Today and going forward (leadership), we are going to intentionally focus on these values through the lens of children’s literature. We encourage all of you to talk about these values with the children you serve, and we will make recommendations for books to use as discussion anchors. The beauty of children’s books is that the best of them are compellingly written and effectively illustrated (excellence); we’ll showcase ones here that exemplify these values without didacticism, with appeal to kids.

Our commitment to young people doesn’t stop as they grow up. The mission of young adult librarianship, as articulated by YALSA, keeps us focused: “Our mission is to support library staff in alleviating the challenges teens face, and in putting all teens ‒ especially those with the greatest needs ‒ on the path to successful and fulfilling lives.”

Stay tuned in this space, and join us in moving forward with inclusiveness, integrity and respect. Young people deserve nothing less.