2022 Irma Black Award and Cook Prize Winners Announced

It Fell From the Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan and Cougar Crossing by Meeg Pincus are this year's winners. Three silver medalists were chosen for each award.

The Bank Street College of Education’s Center for Children’s Literature (CCL) has announced the 2022 winners of the Irma Black Award and Cook Prize.

It Fell From the Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan won the Irma Simonton Black and James H. Black Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature (Irma Black Award), which is awarded to “an outstanding book for young children in which text and illustrations are inseparable, each enhancing and enlarging on the other to produce a singular whole.”

“The text and stunning illustrations done mostly in black and white with small accents of color are inseparable,” CCL director Cynthia Weill says of It Fell From the Sky. “Through humor the author gets the point across to children that friendship, community and sharing are more important than the financial gain any material object can bring. Children will want to read it over and over."

The Cook Prize, which honors the best STEM picture book for children aged 8-10, was awarded to Cougar Crossing: How Hollywood’s Celebrity Cougar Helped Build a Bridge for City Wildlife by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Alexander Vidal.

"I thought that Cougar Crossing was a great book, because it makes me want to learn more and maybe become a person who helps and tracks animals,” wrote one fourth grader. “I love love love animals."

Children are the final judges for both of these awards. Thousands of students from the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the United Arab Emirates participated in 2022.

“The process of choosing both awards helps children to become better and more observant readers, sharpen deliberation, advocacy, and public speaking skills and critical thinking,” says Weill. “Bank Street believes in child-centered learning and these awards reflects that philosophy.”

Three silver medalists were selected for each award.

The Irma Black silver medalists are: When My Cousins Come to Town by Angela Shanté, illustrated by Keisha Morris; From the Tops of the Trees by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Rachel Wada; and 1619 Project: Born on the Water by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renée Watson, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith.

The Cook Prize silver medalists are: Butterfly for a King: Saving Hawai'i's Kamehameha Butterflies by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth; The Great Stink: How Joseph Bazalgette Solved London’s Poop Pollution Problem by Colleen Paeff, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter; and Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small by Dr. Jess Wade, illustrated by Melissa Castrillón.

Award recipients were asked to create videos about their books which will available on the CLC’s website in late May.

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