Summary: While the Emancipation Proclamation, decreed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, is widely known and discussed in classrooms, Juneteenth is less well-known. Thanks to Angela Johnson and E. B. Lewis, we have an emotionally stirring testimonial about an equally emotional day: June 19, 1965. It is on this day, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, that slaves in Galveston, Texas learned about their freedom. Lewis’s signature watercolors and Johnson’s lyrical text generate multiple opportunities for reflection, discussion, and inquiry about this event. This story is one that should be heard and read by many for years to come.
Summary: “We interrupt your day for this breaking news. . .” Two bears awaken from hibernation and go to town—literally. During their visit,they eat at a diner, dress up at a department store, and stop a couple of bank robbers, all the while mistaking the townspeople’s terror for friendliness. Wordplay, puns, and other familiar children’s references fill this comic adventure of two bears awakened from their hibernation. “You will now be returned to your regularly scheduled day.” (Adapted from
Summary: Bryant and Sweet treat readers to a visually triumphant picture book biography of the man responsible for the modern thesaurus. Careful readers will be rewarded as they discover the treasure house of details in Sweet’s intricate combination of watercolor and collage. The hand-lettered end papers are on their own award worthy.
Summary: The girl in this story finally gets her mother to agree to any pet that doesn’t need to be walked or bathed or fed. She orders a sloth online. When her friend is unimpressed, she tries to train Sparky to do tricks and perform.
Summary: A severe blizzard snows in a young boy’s neighborhood. What starts off as a fun romp through a variety of snow filled activities quickly becomes dire as his family and neighbors begin running out of necessities. Our hero straps on some makeshift snowshoes and confronts the elements in this intrepid trek for supplies.
Summary: in this wordless picture book, Colon draws on his own childhood memories to fashion a story of art’s power to transform daily experience. The young artist, drawing from the bed in his room, starts by creating an elephant. As he rides out astride his new creation, we begin a thrilling African safari, told only in drawings. After a series of hair-raising adventures, including a dramatic rhino charge, the boy returns home. Our last view is him sharing his drawings with his friends at school.
Summary: Koo, a charismatic panda, and his two human friends experience the simple bliss of each season. Written in the form of twenty-six Haiku (one for each letter of the alphabet), Koo and friends explore winter (“Snowball hits the stop sign / Heart beats faster / Are we in trouble?”), summer (“Tiny lights / Garden full of blinking stars / Fireflies”), and all seasons in a way that everyone will appreciate and enjoy.
Summary: The story of Sylvia Mendez will be a new one for almost every child who encounters this book. The fact that Latino-American children also suffered prejudice and mistreatment in American schooling can raise important questions around this country’s long struggles for universal civil rights. The story takes place in 1944, when Sylvia and her brothers were not allowed to go to public school in Westminster, California; they were sent instead to “the Mexican school.” Sylvia’s parents fought back, and their lawsuits eventually gained support and prevailed. The book includes an index, glossary, bibliography and photographs, thus providing curricular support for teachers.
Summary: An independent dog teaches his human a few tricks in this amusing role reversal. Told from the dog’s self-assured point of view, the story makes it clear this canine bows to no one. He likes his life of fetching slippers (his own), playing catch by himself and licking the reflection in the mirror. But when his back has an itch that can’t be reached and he lets a human scratch it, life changes. The human follows him home, and what can the pooch do but adopt him? Despite the hard work of training and cleaning up after a human, the canine secretly admits it’s all worth it, as the two become best friends. This is a charming person-as-pet story that will leave dog lovers chuckling. (Kirkus)
Summary: This picture book biography is about Katherine Olivia Sessions, the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a science degree. After relocating to San Diego to take a teaching position, she became determined to transform this dry desert town into a lush green oasis. Kate’s hard work and knowledge helped her achieve her dream and the impact is still seen in San Diego today.
Summary: This biography of Melba Doretta Liston shows how Melba overcame race and gender obstructions to become a famous trombone player. The book shows her progression from a small child barely big enough to hold a trombone, to an accomplished musician who played with many jazz legends from the twentieth century.
Summary: t’s lonely being at the top of the food chain. The lion, the great white shark, and the timber wolf form a support group to come up with a solution to bullying they are subjected to from the rest of the animal kingdom. They try vegetarianism and disguises, but nothing seems to help. After seeking the wise, old great-horned owl for advice, they finally realize “eating meat is just what carnivores do.”
Summary: Imagine Mohandas K. (Mohatma) Ghandi as your grandfather and then imagine living with him at the Sevagram ashram in India for a short period of time. Then imagine trying to live up to the Ghandi name in principle and practice. These imaginings are the realities of Arun Ghandi and are shared in this beautifully illustrated picturebook memoir. Readers will sense the wisdom and tension experienced by an adolescent growing up in the limelight with one of the most famous peace activists of our time. The lessons shared are invaluable for readers of any age.
Summary: Have you ever felt invisible around others? Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party…until a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. When Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. At the start of this picturebook, Brian is shown in shades of gray while the rest of the world is in color, a visual reminder of his isolation. Color starts to creep in as he is noticed by Justin. Once he becomes part of the group, he is revealed in full color.
Summary: This book is the true story of an elephant seal, affectionately named Elizabeth, who lived in the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand. After nearly causing a traffic accident on a downtown street, it was determined that Elizabeth must be relocated to the sea to protect herself and the people of the city. However, Elizabeth returns to the river three times, despite being taken farther from Christchurch with each removal
Summary: Bobby’s teacher is a monster. She yells, she stomps, and she takes away recess. But Bobby finds her in the park near his favorite spot on the weekend, and he helps her out when she has a problem. When they have fun together, he realizes she isn’t always a monster.
Summary: Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen are at it again, only this time their characters are digging holes instead of knitting yarn (see their other award-winning collaboration, Extra Yarn). Fueled by their desire to find “something spectacular” Sam and Dave, with their dog, begin digging. Unfortunately their efforts fall short . . . or do they? Relying heavy on understatements and the power of the visual, Barnett and Klassen offer a lively story that will compel readers to want to join Sam and Dave and explore the various ways in which life can be spectacular, depending on your perspective.
Summary: From a fall farmer’s market, Sophie “adopts” a squash that her parents had been planning on serving for supper. Once she draws a face with markers and names her squash Bernice, the setup for this lovely story of friendship and caretaking is complete. When winter comes and Bernice is getting “blotchy”, Sophie asks the advice of a farmer on how to keep a squash healthy. She then makes a bed of soft soil for Bernice and tucks her in. The reunion of the two friends when spring finally comes is one that every gardener will recognize and identify with.
Summary: Stella lives in a mobile home with her mother and father. She has always loved her home with its cozy nooks and awesome hiding places, until one day some weasels see where Stella lives and start making fun of her. Stella tries to ignore the mean spirited kids, but she becomes consumed with their taunts. Once Stella’s family moves and she finds new friends, Stella learns that the Starliner is what makes her happy. It is the love her family shares inside the Starliner that makes her love her home.
Summary: In this elegant picture book biography, Winter’s sparse text and vibrant illustrations combine to produce a beautiful sketch of French impressionist Henri Matisse’s life. Interweaving quotes from Matisse’s letters and comments from his contemporaries throughout the text, Winter shares the major details from this artists life, including how Matisse abandons his story of law to move to Paris after being given a paint set and discovering his true calling while recovering during bed rest. The illustrations employ Mattise’s signature, late-career technique of brilliantly colored, hand-painted, cut-paper compositions. (adapted from Kirkus) 2015-2016 Nominees |

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