2021 British Book Awards

The winners of the 2021 British Book Awards were announced on May 13th. Two of the Best Book awards are for children’s titles and several of the trade awards are for children’s publishers. Here are the winners in those categories:

CHILDREN’S FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Highland Falcon Thief by Junior MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

CHILDREN’S ILLUSTRATED AND NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR

Black and British: A Short, Essential History by David Olusoga

BEST SMALL PRESS

Sweet Cherry

BEST CHILDREN’S PUBLISHER

Wonderbly

Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca

Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca (9781534493773)

This picture book by Caldecott Award winner Floca explores the Covid-19 pandemic. Through New York City streets, the book shows how most people were forced to stay indoors and watch the streets go quiet. But the streets never emptied entirely, since there were people working at essential jobs. People were still out and about using all sorts of vehicles. There were people delivering mail and packages, people heading to work in hospitals, others making food deliveries on their bicycles, still others picking up trash, and police and fire protecting everyone. Then every night, the windows opened and people shouted and banged their appreciation for these people who kept on working through the danger and the emptiness to keep everyone safe, fed and looked after.

The text in the book is simple, explaining what happened to cause the streets to empty as people took refuge in their homes to stay safe. The book shows vehicles of all sorts but also shows lovely moments of connection, of toys being delivered or taxis stopping to get someone with lots of grocery bags.

Floca tells us in his Author’s Note that he created these images during the pandemic’s height in New York City. As the streets emptied, he found solace in drawing the vehicles that continued to move through the city. He then took those images and made them into this book, which explains the aching melancholy of some of the images as they show the empty streets and the vast change to a normally bustling city.

A beautiful yearning look at New York City in 2020 with plenty of interesting vehicles to explore. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum.

News to Wake Your Brain Cells – May 14

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

7 children’s books to celebrate Eid at home – Chicago Parent

15 great diverse picture book biographies – Book Riot

My kids won’t even pick up a book – and it is definitely all my fault – The Guardian

Read Woke: from picture books to fantasy, children’s literature can open minds and hearts – SLJ

Why Alice is the ultimate icon of children’s books – BBC

LIBRARIES

Brooklyn Public Library’s iconic Central Branch debuts a Toshiko Mori-led refresh – The Architect’s Newspaper

YA LIT

6 sensitive YA books to check out for Mental Health Awareness Week – Cultured Vultures

40 YA books by AAPI authors that release this year – BuzzFeed

Adam Silvera will adapt his novel They Both Die at the End as a TV series – Tor

Alice Oseman wins the YA Book Prize 2021 – The Bookseller

All the new young adult SFF books arriving in May! – Tor

How trans and nonbinary actors are revolutionizing audiobooks – BuzzFeed