Searching for the Right Word for the 2015 Sibert Experience

BookendsCindy: It’s all over but the celebrating (unless you are a winning author or illustrator who has to write a speech!).

I just completed deliberations with the Robert F. Sibert Award committee under the experienced, professional, skillful leadership of Deborah Taylor, this year’s winner of the Coretta Scott King —Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.

When I put our winners up on display yesterday in my middle school library I got a little teary. What a fine, exquisite, distinguished group of winning books! Apologies, but with a gold Sibert Medal gracing the cover of The Right Word now, I may be speaking in triple synonyms for a while. :)

Sibert 2015

Our winner, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus (Eerdmans, 2014), written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, celebrates the list-making life of Peter Mark Roget.

Our honor books include Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir Brown Girl Dreaming (also a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner, and National Book Award Winner), The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (also a YALSA Nonfiction finalist), Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson (also a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner), Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands, written and illustrated by Katherine Roy, and Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, written and illustrated by Duncan Tonitiuh (also a Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner).

The dedicated, enthusiastic, true-to-the-end members of the 2015 Sibert Committee are: Chair Deborah Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; Erlene Bishop Killeen, Stoughton, Wis.; Sam Bloom, Public Library of Cincinnati (Ohio)/Hamilton County; Ann D. Carlson, Oak Park & River Forest (Ill.) High School; Cindy Dobrez, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, Mich.; Dona Helmer, Anchorage (Alaska) School District; Christopher Lassen, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Angela Newman, North Country Library System, Watertown, N.Y.; and Karla M. Schmit, Penn State University Libraries, State College, Pa.

Click here for the complete list of ALA Youth Media Award winners with cover art images. Congratulations to one and all. And now, we just have to wait for Lynn’s LA Times Book Prizes for YA Literature jury to announce their short list. For now, we are both free of committees and are digging through our exhibit bags. I’m going on a fun fiction spree, starting with Lane Smith’s debut middle grade novel, Return to Augie Hobble. Lynn is reading the reluctant reader series galleys she picked up to prepare for some upcoming presentations she is giving in Michigan.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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