The Center for Children’s Books awards annually the Gryphon Award, in recognition of an English language work of fiction or non-fiction for which the primary audience is children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. The title chosen best exemplifies those qualities that successfully bridge the gap in difficulty between books for reading aloud to children and books for practiced readers.
Urban, Linda. Weekends With Max and His Dad; illus. by Katie Kath. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Gr. 2-4
Third grader Max grapples with his parents’ divorce and the transitions it brings in this accessible and thoughtful chapter book; small details and careful attention to Max’s emotions make the story particularly authentic. (June)
Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan; illus. by Amy June. Dlouhy/Atheneum, 2016. Gr. 2-3
Brief chapters and spirited cast of characters lend a simple ease to this story of Sam and his efforts to become a “chicken expert” with his acquisition of Helga, a hen reputed to lay blue eggs. (September)
Raczka, Bob. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. Roaring Brook, 2016. Gr. 2-5
Raczka’s poems pack a double punch, first with the deft shaping of the verses themselves, and secondly with visual twists built into each piece, using pictographic clues to help young readers along. (March)
For past winners, please visit the Center for Children’s Books list.