More Children's Book Awards Announced; Free Speech Advocates Mourn Loss of Robie Harris | News Bites

The James Addams Peace Association and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction announce their 2024 winners; the kid lit community and free speech advocates mourn the loss of author Robie Harris, Lerner launches space books partnership, Paw Prints Publishing expands to middle grade, and more in this edition of News Bites.

The James Addams Peace Association and Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction announce their 2024 winners; the kid lit community and free speech advocates mourn the loss of author Robie Harris, Lerner launches space books partnership, Paw Prints Publishing expands to middle grade, and more in this edition of News Bites.

Jane Addams Peace Association announces children's book awards

The Jane Addams Peace Association announced the recipients of the 2024 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards, which recognize “children’s books of literary and aesthetic excellence that effectively engage children in thinking about peace, social justice, global community, and equity for all people.” Awards are given in two categories: picture book and chapter book.

The 2024 Picture Book winner is A Song for the Unsung: Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the 1963 March on Washington by Carole Boston Weatherford and Rob Sanders, illustrated by Byron McCray.

There are two picture book honor titles: That Flag by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Nikkolas Smith, and The Artivist by Nikkolas Smith.

The Chapter Book winner is The Lost Year by Katherine Marsh.

The two Chapter Book honor titles are Mascot by Charles Waters and Traci Sorrell and World Made of Glass by Ami Polonsky.

The 2024 Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards ceremony will be held on April 26 at the Hastings Public Library in Hastings on Hudson, NY.

Bea and the New Deal Horse wins Scott O'Dell Award

Bea and the New Deal Horse by L.M. Elliott won the 2024 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.

The award was established in 1982 by children’s author Scott O’Dell to encourage the writing of historical fiction for young readers. The award is given to to an author of a distinguished work of historical fiction set in the Americas and published by a U.S. publisher. The winner receives $5,000.

PEN America, NCAC mourns loss of "utterly fearless" Robie Harris

The children’s literature world is mourning the loss of children’s author, educator, and free speech champion Robie Harris, whose books about human sexuality—including It’s Perfectly Normal—have often been challenged and removed from school libraries. Harris died in January at age 83.

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement, “Robie was utterly fearless. She believed very strongly that children had the right to know about their own bodies, sexuality, and puberty, and as a former teacher of young children took it upon herself to make that happen. Her books were totally matter-of-fact in educating kids on these subjects and she was undaunted by the frequent challenges and bans against her well-praised books. Robie was indefatigable, going on at full steam well into her 80s and we will deeply miss her engagement and dedicated contribution to our work.”

National Coalition Against Censorship executive director Lee Rowland also released a statement after Harris’s death: "It is with heavy hearts and deep gratitude that we bid farewell to Robie Harris, a dedicated and esteemed member of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) Board. Robie passed away on January 6th, leaving behind a legacy of unwavering commitment to free expression and intellectual freedom.

Robie Harris was a tireless champion for the principles that lie at the core of the NCAC's mission. As a board member for over 20 years, she played a pivotal role in advocating for the protection of artistic and intellectual endeavors from censorship. Her passion for promoting open dialogue, diverse perspectives, and the right to free speech resonated throughout her tenure with the NCAC.

Robie's impact extended far beyond the boardroom. A respected author and advocate, she dedicated her life to fostering understanding and tolerance through literature. Her work, including groundbreaking books on sexuality education for children, reflected her commitment to providing information and fostering healthy conversations.

In addition to her literary contributions, Robie Harris actively engaged in dialogues surrounding censorship challenges. Her insights, wisdom, and unwavering dedication enriched the NCAC's efforts to safeguard freedom of expression for artists, authors, and creators across the nation.

As we mourn the loss of Robie Harris, let us remember her as a beacon of courage, resilience, and passion. Her legacy will continue to inspire us in the ongoing fight against censorship, reminding us of the importance of upholding the principles she held dear.”

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, and Sexual Health was published in 1994. She followed the title with It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Brith, Babies, and Families in 1999 and It’s NOT the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends in 2006. Her publisher, Candlewick, called the trio of titles the Family Library. Each title has been updated periodically since its original publishing.

Lerner launches space books with new partnership

Lerner Publishing Group announced partnership with The Planetary Society and CEO Bill Nye to create books for young readers. The collaboration will include 15 titles for all markets about space science and exploration.

The brand launched in January with Casting Shadows: Solar and Lunar Eclipses with The Planetary Society by The Planetary Society’s chief scientist Bruce Betts, capitalizing on a year that will feature multiple solar and lunar eclipses this year, including a total solar eclipse in April. 

Exploring Our Solar System with the Planetary Society, an eight-book series for grades 2-4, will be published in the fall.

Simon & Schuster author event highlights 100th anniversary

As part of Simon & Schuster's 100th anniversary celebration this year, the publisher will host Author! Author!: A Simon & Schuster Centennial Celebration at New York City’s Town Hall on April 8. The star-studded event will feature more than 30 Simon & Schuster authors, including Fredrik Backman, Judy Blume, Sandra Boynton, Jack Carr, Ray Dalio, Laura Dave, Anthony Doerr, Angela Duckworth, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Jennifer Egan, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Sanjay Gupta, Zakiya Dalila Harris, Rupert Holmes, John Irving, Walter Isaacson, William Kent Krueger, Christina Lauren, Kiese Laymon, Michele Norris, Susan Orlean, Jason Reynolds, Rebecca Serle, Safiya Sinclair, Brad Thor, Colm Tóibín, Jeannette Walls, Jesmyn Ward, Ruth Ware, Bob Woodward, and more.

Tickets for the live event or to watch the livestream are available now via Ticketmaster. Simon & Schuster will donate 20% of its net proceeds of ticket sales to Binc (Book Industry Charitable Foundation), the book and comic industry’s safety net for employees and owners facing life’s emergencies. 

Paw Prints Publishing expands to middle grade

Paw Prints Publishing, a children’s book imprint launched by Baker & Taylor in 2022, will expand into the middle grade market in fall 2024 with a continued mission to feature underserved and underrepresented stories.

Paw Prints’ first middle grade novel will be All Mixed Up by Raj Tawney, a story of a young multiethnic American boy who forges a complex friendship with a Pakistani immigrant in the wake of 911.

EBSCO Solar grants available

Submissions are now open for the 2024 EBSCO Solar grant program from EBSCO Information Services. For the ninth consecutive year, EBSCO is accepting applications for grants that will fund solar installations at libraries around the world. A total of $300,000 in grants will be available.

Visit EBSCO Solar for more information and to apply. Submissions are due by April 22, and the winners will be announced in June 2024.

Illustrated Hunger Games coming in October

Scholastic will publish a deluxe illustrated edition of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, featuring more than thirty black-and-white illustrations by Nico Delort, on October 1, 2024.

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