'African Town' Wins 2023 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction | News Bites

African Town wins the 2023 Scott O'Dell Award; SCBWI announces grant winners; WNDB is taking grant applications; and more in this edition of News Bites.

African Town wins the 2023 Scott O'Dell Award; SCBWI announces grant winners; WNDB is taking grant applications; and more in this edition of News Bites.

African Town wins 2023 Scott O'Dell Award

African Town by Irene Latham and Charles Waters has won the 2023 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The novel recounts the story of Clotilda, the last known ship of enslaved people to the U.S. voyage across the vast Atlantic. Told from the perspectives of various characters directly and indirectly involved in this event, the authors narrate voices inspired by the last survivors of the transatlantic slave trade and follow their lives as they settle in Alabama.

“Right from the touching introduction penned by Joycelyn M. Davis, the reader knows that this will be a genuine telling inspired by the lives of Black Africans who were illegally captured and forced through an unimaginable shift of leaving their beloved home, to becoming property in a strange new place,” said selection committee chair Mary Anne Nichols said in a statement announcing the winner. “The selection committee appreciates the richness of the verse, the research supporting the story, the collaboration and talent of the authors that highlight the horrors of enslavement yet fill it with hope, as well as the rich information provided by the authors at the end of the book.”

CBC's Best Spanish Language Picture Books

The Children's Book Committee has released its fifth list of Mejor Libro Infantil/Best Spanish Language Picture Book List 2023 of books published or translated in 2022. The list contains 50 titles.

SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund name grant recipients

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Impact and Legacy Fund, the charitable division of the SCBWI, announced the recipients of the inaugural Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund and the annual Tomie dePaola Professional Development Award.

The Stephen Fraser Encouragement Fund awards three published children’s book creators grants of $2,000 each. This year, the grants go to Costantia Manoli, Tamika Burgess, and Susan Muaddi Darraj.

Janelle Washington was named winner of the 2022/2023 Tomie dePaola Professional Development Award. Melika Saeeda was recognized with the honor prize. Washington receives $3,500 and Saeeda $1,500 for the award, which was judged by art director Cecilia Yung and illustrators Pat Cummings and Jessixa Bagley.

“Janelle has a fresh and exciting way of communicating a narrative,” Bagley said in a statement. “Her expansion on the process of cut-outs and silhouette is innovative and captivating. I see so much potential in how she could tell stories through her distinctive use of this form.”

We Need Diverse Books taking grant applications

We Need Diverse Books is now taking applications for its Books Save Lives Grants and Educators Making a Difference Grants.

The Books Save Lives Grants will provide up to $10,000 in diverse books for school libraries. WNDB will prioritize grants for schools located in areas most impacted by book bans and censorship. Applicants may be educators and community members. Applications may be submitted anonymously, and the grant must be accepted by school administrators.

The Educators Making a Difference Grants provide up to $2,000 per recipient and can be used toward buying diverse titles, hosting diversity-focused student or community events, or any other project that supports diverse literature. Applicants must be U.S.-based K-12 teachers, librarians, or other educators working at least part-time in a student-facing role.

The application deadline is February 28.

Lerner to donate three classroom libraries

Lerner Publishing Group has teamed with AdoptAClassroom.org to support classrooms around the country. To mark the launch of the partnership, Lerner will fund three Read for a Better World classroom libraries for educators. The curated Read for a Better World classroom libraries for grades K-5, featuring 31 curated books, plus 25 copies of the Read for a Better World Student Action and Reflection Guide, donated by Lerner Publishing Group.

Teachers can enter the sweepstakes through March 20, 2023. 

Amanda Gorman to publish new picture book

Amanda Gorman, presidential inaugural poet and author of the picture book Change Sings, will partner with Caldecott Honor- and Coretta Scott King Honor-winning illustrator Christian Robinson on a new picture book, Something, Someday, scheduled to be released on September 26. The Spanish-language edition, Algo, algún día, will also be available in September 2023, along with an audiobook, narrated by Gorman and published by Listening Library.

“I wrote Something, Someday to show that though it might be difficult, when we work together, even the smallest acts of kindness can lead to the largest positive change,” Gorman said in announcing the title. “I’ve long admired Christian’s art and having the opportunity to collaborate with him has been a dream come true. I hope that readers find joy and inspiration in Something, Someday and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world.”

Portland Public Schools wins Literacy Champion Award

Scholastic and the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) have named the Portland (OR) Public Schools the 2022 winner of the Richard M. Robinson Literacy Champion Award. The annual award recognizes a CGCS member school district for “demonstrated progress in advancing reading achievement.”

As the award winner, Portland Public Schools has selected its Jason Lee Elementary to receive the grand prize, which includes a school library makeover with a donation of over 6,000 books, a one-year site license to Scholastic Literacy Pro, an award-winning learning program that provides 24/7 access to more than 2,500 fiction and nonfiction e-books, and more.

New imprint Little Lark to debut in Fall 2023

Little Lark, the new children’s book imprint from women-owned publisher Entangled Publishing, will debut its first titles in the fall of 2023. Little Lark will feature board books for children ages 0-2 and hardcover titles for ages 3-5 and 5-8.  The stories will focus on strong female characters discovering the world around them and learning more about themselves through positivity, humor, creativity, and fun, according to the publisher's press release.

The launch book for Little Lark will be I Love Everything About Me by Fatima Scipio and illustrated by Paige Mason.

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