“Who knew you could make brilliant early readers from philosophy and quantum theory?” said Stevenson. “Drew Daywalt, that’s who. He and artist Olivier Tallec take the familiar beginning-reader odd couple (in this case, a lively monkey and a—no lie—slice of cake) to new places such as Schrödinger’s cat and set theory. The books are witty and ingenious in cutting directly to the concepts via the controlled vocabulary in ways that kids will immediately grasp, making the titles entertaining brain teasers as well as satisfying novice reads. Tallec’s playful, elastic figures have a theatrical dash as they grapple with the question of fort possession and the visibility of cats in closed boxes.”
2020 Honor Books
The Very Impatient Caterpillar (Scholastic) written and illustrated by Ross Burach, is a highly readable (and slyly scientific) early reader; the charmingly goofy protagonist, a young caterpillar exasperated by metamorphosis, will keep kids laughing, while the speech-bubbles and controlled vocabulary will support their own reading transformation.
¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market! (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) written and illustrated by Raúl the Third, follows Lobo and Bernabé as they make their deliveries through the hustle and bustle of the mercado; the stylized artwork, featuring plenty of opportunities for novice readers to flex their skills in both English and Spanish, make this an absolute gem.
Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons (Millbrook) written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Mercè López, offers a unique take on the haiku format in Salas’ “riddle-ku” poems; coupled with López’s evocative illustrations, this offers readers a chance to hone their literacy skills and their riddle-solving chops.
This year’s award committee consists of Stevenson; Kate Quealy-Gainer, assistant editor of The Bulletin; and Elizabeth Bush, reviewer at The Bulletin, iSchool adjunct faculty member, and longtime school librarian.
The award is sponsored by CCB and funded by CCB’s Gryphon Fund. Income from the fund supports the annual Gryphon Lecture as well as the Gryphon Award for children’s literature. Previous award winners and honors can be found here.
Gifts may be made to the fund by contacting Jill Gengler in the iSchool Advancement Office at (217) 265-6252 or email@example.com.