Sibert Medal

The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. 

HONOR BOOKS

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team Cover

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

WINNER

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming

YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction

YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year.

FINALISTS

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team Cover

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess and Laura L. Sullivan

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People by Elizabeth Rusch

WINNER

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming

111 Trees by Rina Singh

Cover image for 111 Trees

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh, illustrated by Marianne Ferrer (9781525301209)

Part of the Citizen Kid collection, this nonfiction picture book explore the story of how one village in India came to celebrate the birth of girls. Sundar grew up walking with his mother to get water through the heat. until she is killed from a snake bite. After this, Sundar takes comfort in hugging trees, thinking of his mother. Sundar grew up and taught his children to love nature as much as he does. He works for a mining company and grows so worried about what they are doing to the local environment and their unwillingness to plant trees to help that he leaves his job. He runs for election and becomes the head of the village. When his daughter dies, he plants trees in her memory. He has an idea, declaring that every girl born in the village will be welcomed by the planting of 111 trees. Sundar is mocked for this idea that goes against customs, but he does not give up. He steadily speaks with people, convincing them of the impact they could have on the local environment by planting these trees. As the trees grow, life in the village changes. Now the women don’t have to walk long distances to get water, the fruit of the trees help feed the children and families, and girls can go to school with the boys as the gender inequality is overturned.

Singh builds her story with care, showing Sundar’s childhood with his mother and then his loss of her as the deep inspiration for his idea. She demonstrates how one man’s quest to fix the environment can make an enormous difference not just for him but for an entire community, the future of the girls that grow up there, and the quality of life for all. Singh does not lecture, instead showing how resilience and perseverance can eventually pay off. The Author’s Note at the end of the book offers more information on Sundar and the other customs that he has ended, including child marriage.

The illustrations show the changing landscape as the trees are planted. From a desert-like wasteland, the steady increase in trees transforms the landscape and the pages to lush green. The images focus on the interplay between human and nature, showing a community that even when skeptical continued to listen.

An inspiring picture book that tells the true story of one man’s quest to bring back trees and stop gender inequality. Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Kids Can Press.

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns

Cover image for You’re Invited to a Moth Ball

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns, photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz (9781580896863)

Combining detailed instructions, plenty of encouragement and vivid photography, this book invites families and classes to create their own nighttime moth ball. The first steps are understanding moths and then putting together the supplies and tools you will need: including a sheet, rope, UV collecting light, and your own camera and flashlight. Prepare the screen and then also make sure you have a snack, one for the moths of course! Now you have two types of bait: light and nectar. Patience is part of the process, as more moths will come as the night gets later and darker. Take your time, be gentle, and marvel at these creatures that live all around us.

Burns offers such a merry invitation to readers in this book, making it feel like a true celebration of insects that we often take for granted or don’t even think about. Her encouragement to do research is appreciated, dedicating time in her set up of the moth ball to model reading books and learning about the creatures you are going to view. Her instructions are child-centered, creating a process that children can do themselves and participate in directly.

The photographs also center on the children managing the entire process themselves. When night falls, the magic in the photos happens as children carry their own lights, the moths arrive and the real party begins. The images of the moths themselves show their proboscis, furry bodies and amazing wings.

A grand project to immerse children and families into wildlife, insects and spending the night outside. Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

Me and the World: An Infographic Exploration by Mireia Trius

Cover image for Me and the World

Me and the World: An Infographic Exploration by Mireia Trius, illustrated by Joana Casals (9781452178875)

Through a series of eye-catching infographics, this book introduces readers to the world. The infographics focus on personal things like family structure, most popular names, living spaces, and breakfast foods. It also looks more broadly at things like world population, city populations, traffic in cities, schools and homework. There are more light hearted infographics too like most popular dog breeds, summer vacations, sports and birthdays.

This book is worth exploring closely. Each double-page spread offers an infographic with layered information and an intriguing look at what data can show us about ourselves and about our world. The infographics are done in a modern flat style that works well with the numbers that are designed into the images. The images and numbers are carefully selected to be of interest to children and also easily understood by them.

A fascinating glimpse into our world from a variety of points of data. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson

Cover image for The Fire Never Goes Out

The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson (9780062278272)

This deeply personal graphic memoir tells the author’s story of being a creative person in our modern world. Spanning from 2011 to 2019, the book explores her life as a young adult. Starting with her time in art school with its loneliness and her growing meltdowns and self harm, the book explore the darker side of her personality. Her inner flame of creativity and passion battles the hole that she sees as gaping right at her middle. Still, that darkness is offset by wonderfully mundane happy moments such as apple picking in the fall and watching TV with people she enjoys. As the years progress, that strain of darkness and depression vs. creativity and wild energy continues. Stevenson shares her huge accomplishments too such as publishing her first graphic novel to great acclaim and winning national awards for it and running a highly successful series for Netflix. Still, those never quiet the negative thoughts. After finally crashing to her lowest point, Stevenson emerges like a phoenix, a woman in love, getting married and carrying her fire with her still.

There is so much sheer honesty and vulnerability on these pages that it is breathtaking. The mix of Stevenson’s writing with her illustrations, many created at the time she is talking about, makes for a dynamic read where her skill as both writer and artist is evident on every page. Perhaps most telling is how her huge successes did not diminish her negative internal experience, instead perhaps accelerating the crash. Her honesty about self harm and struggles with mental illness is amazing.

Stevenson carefully stays away from generalizing her experience, instead keeping her memoir very personal and about her own journey through creativity and the way it can burn and destroy as well as build. Because of this, readers can see themselves in her, relate to her feelings and see a way forward that does not involve a complete loss of self or creativity. It’s a book of hope, for creative queer people in particular.

Strong, personal and empowering, this is a memoir is a courageous look at mental illness. Appropriate for ages 16-19.

Reviewed from library copy.

2021 Nonfiction Award Finalists

YALSA has announced the five finalists for the 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, which honors books published between November 1, 2019 and October 31, 2020. The winner will be announced at the Youth Media Awards on January 25. Here are the finalists:

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival, written by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan

How We Got To the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure, written and illustrated by John Rocco 

The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh, written by Candace Fleming 

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People, written by Elizabeth Rusch

2021 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has announced the winner, honor books and recommended books for the 2021 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award which recognizes excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. Here are the winner and selected books:

WINNER

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Frank Morrison

HONOR BOOKS

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne

If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever, illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann

The Teachers March!: How Selma’s teachers Changed History by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, illustrated by Charly Palmer

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

All of a Sudden and Forever by Chris Baron, illustrated by Nicole Xu

Blood and Germs: The Civil War Battle Against Wounds and Disease by Gail Jarrow

Drawing on Walls by Matthew Burgess, illustrated by Josh Cochran

Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Laura Freeman

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco

Jumbo: The Making of the Boeing 747 by Chris Gall

The Lion Queens of India by Jan Reynolds

We Had to Be Brave: Escaping the Nazis on the Kinderstransport by Deborah Hopkinson

AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books – 2021 Longlists

The AAAS/Subaru Prize for Excellence in Science Books is awarded for “outstanding science writing and illustration for children and young adults.” It encourages the writing and publishing of high-quality science books for all ages. Below are the longlists for middle grades and picture books. The young adult list tends to be adult nonfiction titles, you can find that here. All of these lists are great collection development tools for librarians. Here are the longlisted titles:

2021 Longlist for Children’s Science Picture Book Award

The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity: A Tale of the Genius Ramanujan by Amy Alznauer. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares

Dinosaur Lady: The Daring Discoveries of Mary Anning, the First Paleontologist by Linda Skeers. Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann

If You Take Away the Otter by Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch. Illustrated by Teresa Martínez

Our World Is Relative by Julia Sooy. Illustrated by Molly Walsh

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery by Meeg Pincus. Illustrated by Yas Imamura

2021 Longlist for Middle Grades Science Book Award

The Book of Big Science Ideas: From Atoms to AI and from Gravity to Genes…How Science Shapes Our World by Freya Hardy. Illustrated by Sara Mulvanny

Can You Hear the Trees Talking?: Discovering the Hidden Life of the Forest by Peter Wohlleben

Condor Comeback by Sy Montgomery. Photographs by Tianne Strombeck

Eclipse Chaser: Science in the Moon’s Shadow by Ilima Loomis. Photographs by Amanda Cowan

Eels by Rachel Poliquin. Illustrated by Nicholas John Frith

Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together by Clare Hodgson Meeker

Save the Crash-test Dummies by Jennifer Swanson. Illustrated by TeMika Grooms

Under Pressure: The Science of Stress by Tanya Lloyd Kyi. Illustrated by Marie-Ève Tremblay