Sydney Smith Wins Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration; New Resources from Mo Willems | News Bites

Sydney Smith wins the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, applications are open for Freedom to Read Foundation grants and a scholarship, Mo Willems offers new, free resources on YouTube, and more in News Bites.

Sydney Smith wins the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, applications are open for Freedom to Read Foundation grants and a scholarship, Mo Willems offers new, free resources on YouTube, and more in News Bites.

Sydney Smith wins Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration

Canadian children’s book author and illustrator Sydney Smith is the winner of the 2024 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.

Smith is the author and illustrator of Small in the City, which received the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Ezra Jack Keats Award, as well as Do You Remember?, which was named a Best Children’s Book of the Year by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

He is also the illustrator of I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, which received the Schneider Family Book Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, was one of SLJ's Best Picture Book of 2020; and My Baba’s Garden, also by Scott, on the 2023 SLJ Best Picture Books list.

“The IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children's books,” the International Board on Books for Young People said in its press release announcing the award. “Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize lifelong achievement and are given to an author and an illustrator whose works have made an important and lasting contribution to children's literature.”

Smith is currently collaborating with Caldecott Medal winner Brian Floca on the picture book Island Storm, due out in the summer of 2025.

Applications open for Freedom to Read Foundation scholarship and grants

The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) offers an annual scholarship for library school students and new professionals to attend ALA's Annual Conference. The goal of the Gordon M. Conable Conference Scholarship is to advance intellectual freedom and mentoring.

The Conable Scholarship provides for conference registration, transportation, six nights of housing, and a $300 stipend for meals and other expenses.

The recipient will also receive a one-year membership to FTRF. In return, the recipient will be expected to attend various FTRF and other intellectual freedom meetings and programs at the conference, consult with a mentor, and present a report about their experiences and thoughts. Application deadline is April 26, 2024.

FTRF also distributes Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund Programming Grants to organizations to support activities that raise awareness of intellectual freedom and censorship issues during Banned Books Weeks. Staff at all types of libraries, schools, universities, and nonprofit community organizations can apply. Applications are being accepted through April 30, 2024.

The $1,000 grants are evaluated based on the following criteria:

Imagination: What makes your plan unique? How have you integrated the concept of the freedom to read?

Schedule/Action Plan: Include key dates, responsibilities, and collaboration with other groups to carry out a creative project.

PR Plan: How will you promote your event and who is your intended audience? Do you have a media and social media plan? How will your promotion be creative, unique, and eye-catching?

Budget: Please detail your proposed budget. Do not designate all of these grant funds for the purchase of books or as an honorarium for one speaker.

Evaluation: Detail how you will evaluate the success of your program.

Mo Willems offers new free resources on YouTube

The Mo Willems Workshop channel on YouTube now offers free resources, including:

  • “The Pigeon Explains!” Kids teach the Pigeon how to do everyday activities such as brushing your teeth and making a sandwich. New episodes launch every Friday.
  • “Knuffle Bunny Across America”  Children from all over the country talk to each other about their lives and daily routines, from helping to tend their family's farm to riding the subway. New episodes premiere on Sundays.
  • “Lunch Doodles” and “Snack Doodles" In these two drawing-based series, Willems uses a different number or letter as a jumping off point for creating new works of art that kids can easily do themselves, inspired by their own imaginations. New “Snack Doodles” episodes debut every Saturday.
  • “Mo Willems Read Alouds for Kids”  New multimedia takes on some of his best-loved picture books.

Christopher Awards announced

The Christopher Awards honored a dozen books for adults and young people. In the program's 75th year, the Christophers recognize authors and illustrators, as well as TV and film writers, producers, and directors, whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit."

The honorees in the Books for Young People category are: When I Talk to God, I Talk About You by Chrissy Metz and Bradley Collins, illustrated by Lisa Fields; Willow and Bunny by Anitra Rowe Schulte, illustrated by Christopher Denise, Henri and the Magnificent Snort by Samantha Childs, illustrated by Hannah Farr, The Dog That Gave My Brother Words by Wendy Hinote Lanier, illustrated by Jieting Chen, Food for Hope by Jeff Gottesfeld, illustrated by Michelle Laurentia Agatha, Hands by Torrey Maldonado.

LibraryPass adds picture books

LibraryPass, Inc. is expanding its Comics Plus platform to include picture books. The initial collection features hundreds of titles from existing publisher partners, including ABDO and Cherry Lake, with more partners to be announced later this year.

For more information, sign up for a free demo at or email

Lerner to distribute Magination Press titles

Lerner Publisher Services announced a new partnership with the American Psychological Association (APA) to be its exclusive global distributor for their Magination Press imprint beginning January 1, 2025. Lerner will take over distribution for Magination Press’s full backlist and frontlist, including books in the “What-to-Do Guides for Kids” series, which has sold over two million copies in eight languages and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2025, as well as the “Something Happened” series, including the New York Times bestseller Something Happened in Our Town. Magination’s list also features one of the most banned characters of the last decade, Jacob, of the forthcoming Jacob’s Missing Book by Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman, and Stonewall Award winner This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman.

Magination Press titles will be available for pre-sale through Lerner starting November 15, 2025.

Gale opens four new primary source archives

Gale has released four new archives on the Gale Primary Sources platform. The archives unlock perspectives on interdisciplinary subjects, including the histories of LGBTQ+ communities in North America, the treatment of disabilities in society, refugeeism and relief work during the Cold War, and the environmental impact of colonial policies in Africa and Asia. These collections enable researchers and students to break past barriers, gain new insights, and make key connections between past events and their influence on the world we live in today.

Thorndike Press releases large print youth books in Spanish

Thorndike Press from Gale has released its first-ever collection of youth large print books in Spanish. These new titles support emerging bilingual students, while improving accessibility, equity, and inclusivity for school districts.

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