February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Students Worldwide Choose Bank Street’s Children’s Literature Prize Winners

not a good idea-cover

Mo Willems’s That Is Not a Good Idea All images provided by Bank Street CCL.

New York’s Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature (CCL) has named Mo Willems’s That Is Not a Good Idea (Balzer + Bray, 2013) the winner of its 2014 Irma Black Award for the best read-aloud picture book for first and second grade and Deborah Heiligman’s The Boy Who Loved Math, illustrated by LeUyen Pham (Roaring Brook, 2013), the winner of its 2014 Cook Prize for the best picture book that teaches science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles.

Both winners were determined by students from around the world and competed against a selection of semi-finalists and finalists as previously reported by SLJ. 

Willems previously received a 2004 Irma Black Award for Knuffle Bunny (Hyperion), and he had two  books in the running last year, The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Hyperion, 2012) and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaur (Balzer + Bray, 2012).


Deborah Heiligman’s The Boy Who Loved Math 

First and second grade classrooms in countries as far away as China, India, Pakistan, and Italy participated to make That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems the victor, according to Jennifer M. Brown, CCL’s director. The students at the Willowbrook School in Glenview, IL, “really struggled with this year’s nominees,” said their school librarian Susan Sparks. “They really loved them all and were not really willing to choose just one.”

Brown also notes that participation in determining the Cook Prize was up 60 percent this year to 3,700 third and fourth graders who voted for Deborah Heiligman’s The Boy Who Loved Math. The winners will be feted at a ceremony held in Tabas Auditorium at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City at 9:30 am ET May 22, with children’s authors Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett delivering the opening keynote.