Horn Book Award Winners

The winners of the 2017 Horn Book – Boston Globe Awards were announced on May 31 during SLJ‘s Day of Dialog. The awards will be presented aceremony on Friday, October 6, 2017, at Boston’s Simmons College. A winner and two honor books are selected in each of three categories: Fiction and Poetry, Picture Book, and Nonfiction.

The Fiction and Poetry winner has become a key talking point and cultural phenomenon as well as a best seller. This is the first of many awards it is likely to win (titles published in the first half of 2017 are eligible for the Horn Book – Boston Globe Awards). It has already been selected as one of the best books of the year so far by the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly. It is also set for a film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg.

FICTION AND POETRY AWARD WINNER

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (HC/Balzer + Bray; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Horn Book writes:

“Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter lives a life many African American teenagers can relate to: a life of double consciousness. Caught between her rough, predominantly black neighborhood and the “proper,” predominantly white prep school she attends, Starr has learned how to “speak with two different voices and only say certain things around certain people.” This precarious balance is broken when Starr witnesses the shooting of her (unarmed) childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. What follows is a gut-wrenching chain of events that alters all Starr holds dear … Thomas has penned a powerful, in-your-face novel.”

Honor winners are One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by various artists (Macmillan/Bloomsbury Publishing; OverDrive Sample) and The Best Man by Richard Peck (PRH/Dial Books for Young Readers; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample).

PICTURE BOOK AWARD WINNER

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (S&S/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).

Horn Book says:

“A historical document dated July 5, 1828, lists the property to be sold from the Fairchilds’ estate. Hogs. Cattle. A handmill. Men. Women. Children. While no information beyond the gender and name — and price — of each of the eleven enslaved people is noted in the appraisal of the estate, Bryan lovingly restores their humanity and dignity, giving them ages, true African names, relationships, talents, hopes, and dreams … Bryan’s art is just as intentional. Facsimiles of the historical document serve as background for each slave’s introduction page, portraits of their faces taking precedence as they gaze out at the reader.”

Earlier, it was named a Newbery Honor Book , a Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Honor Book.

Honor winners are Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends; OverDrive Sample) and Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press).

NONFICTION AWARD WINNER

Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman (Macmillan/Henry Holt; Dreamscape Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The Horn Book review says:

“After vividly setting the stage with brief sections that introduce Vincent and Theo near the end of their lives, Heiligman takes readers back to their beginnings. We learn of other siblings and of supportive parents; we gain a sense of their childhoods in their father’s parsonage. Structured as a walk through an art museum, the book proceeds through the years, each section a gallery … Heiligman mostly employs a present-tense, purposely staccato narration that effectively heightens the brothers’ emotional intensity, their sufferings and pleasures (physical, emotional, intellectual, aesthetic, and spiritual), and, most of all, Vincent’s wild and original art. The layout, which incorporates sketches, subheads, and a generous use of white space, is a calming counterpoint to the turbulent narrative … The result is a unique and riveting exploration of art, artists, and brotherly love.”

It was a National Book Award finalist.

Honor winners are Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press; Listening Library; OverDrive Sample) and Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet (HMH Books for Young Readers; OverDrive Sample).

The presentation video is online.

The judging panel included Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library (chair), Pauletta B. Bracy, North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina; and Sheila M. Geraty, Brookwood School, Manchester, Massachusetts.

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