Jun 7, 2016

Notable Social Studies Tradebooks- 2016

Each spring I'm eager to get a look at the annual CBC (Children's Book Council) publication: Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. The 2016 edition did not disappoint.
In fact, it featured some of my favorite books from 2016, including fiction and nonfiction, novels and picture books, even some I had read and praised in the course of serving as a round one Cybils judge for fiction picture books last fall. 
One I particularly praised is Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spriti of New Orleans, by Phil Bildner. Here's just one sentence among the many I  used to praise the book in a prior blog post:

"This book bounces and  sings, capturing a city and culture as if they are characters. Scenes shift throughout, from the earliest pages where the grittiness is transformed to sparkling and appealing by the spirit (and hard work) of Cornelius."

This is only one of the many outstanding titles designated as notable biographies, and they represent a diverse array of historic figures. 
In the Environmental and Energy/Ecology category, I was equally excited to see the debut picture books written by two fellow-Wisconsin authors, Lisl H. Detlefsen and Miranda Paul.
Roaring Book Press
 Lisa's book, A TIME FOR CRANBERRIES, takes readers through the cranberry harvesting process as told by a young boy in the farming family. It's a story that incorporates family, rural/agri-business in a modern setting, and market economies.

You may be familiar with the iconic cheeseheads worn by sports fans and Wisconsin supporters in general, but you may want to start a petition drive to make cranberry hats the official state headwear after reading this thorough and thoroughly appealing book about one of the most important crops in our state. 

Millbrook Press

ONE PLASTIC BAG: Isatou Ceesay  and the Recycling Women of the Gambia by Miranda Paul is another winner, but with an entirely different story to share. The power of a single woman on a mission to clean up and lift up her village is portrayed, celebrating the possibility for small individual acts to accumulate and accelerate change in communities. 

This only scratches the surface of outstanding titles honored for their outstanding contributions to young readers' literary world in categories as diverse as CONTEMPORARY CONCERNS, FOLKTALES, GEOGRAPHY/PEOPLE/PLACES,  HISTORY/LIFE/CULTURE, REFERENCE, RELIGION, RELATIONSHIPS, and WROLD CULTURE & HISTORY. I'm excited to find books by actual and virtual friends among them, to find so many titles I've read and reviewed this year, and to get an extra nudge to read titles that slipped under the radar of my "to-be-read" list. 

It's always thrilling for an author to receive an award or other public recognition. It acknowledges the many hours of research, revision, and reflection represented by a published book. It's equally thrilling for me, or for anyone who shares books with young people, because it means high quality books of enduring value will remain ON the radar for years to come. These annual lists remain available and are often used as starting points when making measured and meaningful selections for young readers, and often means titles will stay in print longer. 

All are reasons beyond the original ones to cheer for the best in picture books (and books for older readers, too).  

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