Bank Street Names Irma Black Award Semifinalists

The Center for Children's Literature at Bank Street College of Education selected four semifinalists for the 2019 Irma S. Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature. The winner will be selected by first and second graders across the country; teachers and librarians can register their students to participate in the voting process before April 19.

The Center for Children's Literature at Bank Street College of Education today announced the 2019 Irma S. Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children's Literature semifinalists. The Irma Black 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 Irma Black Award is unusual in that children are the final judges of the winning book. During the next weeks, children around the world will deliberate in their classrooms to pick the gold medalist.

The four semifinalists are:

Stumpkin by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Atheneum/S. & S.)

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins (Disney/Hyperion)

Sun! One in a Billion by Stacy McAnulty, illus. by Stevie Lewis (Macmillan/Holt)

The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee (Dial)

Teachers and librarians may register their first and second grade students to participate in selecting the final winner. Votes are due by April 19.

The image for the Irma Black award seal (silver for the semifinalists, gold for the winner) was created by the legendary author/illustrator Maurice Sendak. The seal depicts Irma Black and Maurice Sendak dancing with Sendak's beloved dog, Jennie. Irma Black's daughter, Connie Engle, in a recent email to the Center for Children's Literature at Bank Street wrote, "Maurice Sendak was a friend of my mother's and of Bank Street. After his dog Jennie died he said he would never draw her again." [Jennie, a Sealyham Terrier, was portrayed in such books as Higglety Pigglety Pop (HarperCollins 1967)]. "When he produced the award medal, he brought Jennie back to dance with him and Irma. The cartoon of Irma and Jennie and Maurice captures very well Irma's playful spirit of loving books and children and animals and friendship."

The 2019 winner will be announced shortly after the voting ends, on or around April 19. The awards ceremony will take place at Bank Street College of Education on Thursday, May 16, 2019 at 10 am ET. The keynote speaker will be Brian Floca.

For more information about the award, contact Dr. Cynthia Weill, Director of the Center for Children's Literature at Bank Street College of Education.

 

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