2010 Boston Globe – Horn Book Awards

The Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards “reward excellence in children’s and young adult literature.”  They are given in three categories and have one award winner and two honor books in each category:

Fiction and Poetry


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Honor Books

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sis

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner





Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge

Honor Books

Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures by Menno Metselaar and Ruud van der Rol

Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Picture Book


I Know Here by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James

Honor Books

It’s a Secret by John Burningham

The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney


An amazing list of books.  I’ve read most of them and loved all that I have read.  Great stuff!

Seeds of Change

Seeds of Change by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illustrated by Sonia Lynn Sadler

We have already seen two incredible picture books about Wangari, so I was hesitant to pick this one up.  I should never have hesitated.  This book adds to Wangari’s story by telling the story of her youth growing up in the bounty of Kenya.  Her mother teaches her about each tree and what it offers.  Though it was unusual for girls in Kenya to be educated, Wangari’s parents saw how bright she was and sent her to school.  After she graduated from elementary school, Wangari went to the city to continue her education, eventually heading to the United States to study biology.  Throughout her travels, she thought often of Kenya and her home.  Kenya had changed with the land being harvested for timber by big foreign companies.  Wangari returned to Kenya and taught women and children to plant trees, giving the people a way to feed themselves and turning the barren land green again.  In 2004, Wangari won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first African woman or environmentalist to receive it. 

Johnson has taken the time to really reveal where Wangari came from and what created the seeds of environmentalism within her.  Other picture books pick up where Wangari is seeing the damage done in Kenya, but this addition of her childhood and education make for a more complete understanding of her.  Sadler’s illustrations use thick white lines which remind me of batik or stained glass.  The images show interesting design choices that are often dreamlike. 

I would recommend pairing this with both Mama Miti by Donna Jo Napoli and Planting the Trees of Kenya by Claire A. Nivola.  The three together offer a strong environmental message combined with a complete view of the woman behind the movement.

Highly recommended, this book tells the powerful story of Wangari and her legacy in Kenya.  It shows readers that one person can definitely make a difference.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Lee & Low.

Also reviewed by:

Nebeel’s New Pants: an Eid Tale

Nabeel’s New Pants: an Eid Tale retold by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, illustrated by Proiti Roy

Nabeel had a busy day selling shoes, now he was ready to buy his family gifts for Eid.  He purchased a burqa for his wife, a dupatta for his mother, and bangles for his daughter.  On his way out, the shopkeeper recommended that Nabeel buy himself some new pants since his were worn and patched.  Nabeel agreed, but the only pants there were 4 fingers too long.  Once he got home, Nabeel gave his wife her gift but she was too busy to shorten his pants for him.  His mother was given her gift, but she was also too busy to shorten his pants before Eid.  Mariam, his daughter also was too busy.  So Nabeel went home and shortened the pants himself, 4 fingers.  His wife found time too to shorten the pants 4 fingers.  His mother came over and also shortened them 4 fingers.  Finally, his daughter too shortened the pants.  Now what was Nabeel to wear to Eid?

With the feel of a classic tale, this book offers a universal style of folktale with plenty of repetition and cumulative action.  Children of all cultures will immediately feel at home here.  Gilani-Williams has kept the text tight and focused, making a great read aloud Muslim story.  Even when the humor is unfolding, the text keeps a straight tone that adds even more humor.  Roy’s illustrations have a classic feel to them merged with a cartoon style. 

A clearly Muslim tale with a universal feel, this book is perfect for any public library collection.  It will fit in well with story times or units about clothing or celebrations.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy received from Marshall Cavendish.