The Year’s Best Read Alouds

After weeks of waiting for the results to be e-mailed and phoned in, I am thrilled to announce that Robot Zot! by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by David Shannon, has won the 2010 Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature.

Robot Zot!
Jon Scieszka
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – (2009-09-22)
ISBN / EAN: 1416963944 / 9781416963943

Three books received honors:

A Penguin Story
Antoinette Portis
Retail Price: $17.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins – (2009-01-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061456888 / 9780061456886

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem
Mac Barnett
Retail Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH – (2009-06-23)
ISBN / EAN: 0786849584 / 9780786849581

Sergio Saves the Game
Edel Rodriguez
Retail Price: $15.99
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – (2009-05-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0316066176 / 9780316066174

The Black Award will be presented on Thursday, May 13th at 8:30 am at the Bank Street College of Education. NY. The keynote speaker will be Carmen Deedy, who won a Black Honor in 2007 for Martina The Beautiful Cockroach, Peachtree Press.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach
Carmen Agra Deedy
Retail Price: $19.95
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers – (2008-09-01)
ISBN / EAN: 1561454680 / 9781561454686

Librarians who want to attend may RSVP by email to Linda Reing or by phone, 212.961.3332.

Irma Simonton Black was a writer and editor of children’s books and a founding member (in the 1930s) of the Bank Street Writers Laboratory, which included such stars of children’s literature as Margaret Wise Brown and Maurice Sendak.

The Black Award (for short), which commemorates Irma’s achievements, has been presented annually since 1973 by Bank Street College of Education. (The Award was presented in Irma’s name only until 1992, when James Black’s name was added in recognition of his ardent support of the Award.) The Award goes to an outstanding book for young children — a book in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole.

The Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book. The process is as follows:

Your fearless, tireless librarian/ friend, Lisa Von Drasek reads all of the picture books published in the year. We develop a short list of about 75 titles that meet our criteria of what is an excellent children’s picture book (my personal criteria is a little more basic; can I stand reading aloud this title over and over and over again? Will I hang my head in shame if the kids pick it as best of the year?)

Then a group of librarians and educators choose approximately twenty to twenty-five books that they consider the best candidates for the Award. These books are then sent (in four sets) to the four 8-9’s and 9-10’s classrooms at the Bank Street School for Children. Over the course of five weeks the children read and discuss all of the books before selecting four finalists. These four–called the Black Honor Books–are placed in classrooms or libraries in schools, in New York and elsewhere.

Over 2,000 children voted this year.

For collection development librarians who are looking for a list of great read aloud, The Black winners are surefire hits. More information and a list of previous winners is available at the Bank Street College Children’s Library site.

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