New Award Honors Margaret Wise Brown and More | News Bites

In this edition of News Bites, a new award honors Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, the Library of Congress National Book Festival will combine online and in-person events, advocates keep librarians in D.C. schools, and more.

In this edition of News Bites, a new award honors Goodnight Moon author Margaret Wise Brown, the Library of Congress National Book Festival will combine online and in-person events, advocates keep librarians in D.C. schools, and more.

New Margaret Wise Brown Board Book Award


The Children’s Book Committee (CBC) at Bank Street College of Education has announced a new award, the Margaret Wise Brown Board Book Award for excellence in literature for infants and toddlers, ages 0-3. Brown is the author of classics Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, as well as over 100 other books.

The first prize will be awarded in spring 2023 for board books published or picture books adapted to board book format in 2021 and 2022. It will be given every two years.

Candidates will be identified through the CBC’s annual review process for its Best Children’s Books of the Year list and juried by experts in early childhood education and children’s literature.

Publishers are invited to send board books for review to the Center for Children’s Literature, Bank Street College of Education, 610 West 112th Street, New York, New York 10025. Board books published or picture books adapted to board book format in 2021 or 2022 must be received by November 15 to be considered.

National Book Festival Sets Impressive Lineup, In-Person and Online Events

The 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival will feature a mix of in-person events, live-streamed conversations, and videos on-demand during the 10-day event from Sept. 17-26. More than 100 authors, poets and writers will participate in the festival with the theme, “Open a Book, Open the World.”

The kickoff day will include a virtual Live Conversation with LeVar Burton, the actor and literacy advocate who will host the television special “Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival” airing Sept. 12 on PBS. Burton will join Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss the power of reading, story, and connection on Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

The festival website will feature five interactive presentations featuring Library of Congress experts in conservation, copyright, art and literature, comics, and genealogy, from Sept. 20-24 at 3 p.m. ET.

The children’s and teen authors and illustrators scheduled to participate include Derrick Barnes, Sophie Blackall, Kacen Callender, Rep. Sharice Davids, Kate DiCamillo, Nikki Grimes, Dan Gutman, Brayden Harrington, Ann Clare LeZotte, Meg Medina, Lupita Nyong’o, Jerry Pinkney, Ali Stroker, Traci Chee, Jay Coles, Sharon G. Flake, Tahereh Mafi, Kekla Magoon, Trung Le Nguyen, Jason Reynolds, Yusef Salaam, Angie Thomas, Katie Zhao, and Ibi Zoboi.

In addition, there will be a “Festival Near You” page on the website, which will be searchable by state and highlight associated book festival events taking place in libraries and community centers across the country.

Room to Read Launches New Initiative in Underresourced Areas

Based on the results of a research and feasibility study, "MISSING OUT: Education Inequality for U.S. Children Deepened by Book Deserts and Lack of Diverse Representation in Children's Literature,” Room to Read will increase access to high-quality reading materials in under-resourced areas. The initiative includes:

Publishing and distributing specialized books in the U.S. with characters, themes, and stories that are relevant to and authentically reflect the identities and cultures of children in marginalized communities

Partnering with local organizations focused on family engagement and literacy development outside of schools

As the first phase of the project, Room to Read will print and distribute its Peace & Equality book collection—with titles available in English, Spanish, and both English and Spanish—in California. This first phase of the project will begin this year and continue through the first half of 2022.

Room to Read will also begin working on a new STEAM book collection for young children that will provide supplemental curriculum and storylines featuring diverse scientists, engineers, etc.

Advocacy Ensures D.C. Librarians Stay

The Washington D.C. City Council voted on a budget amendment that will ensure a school librarian in every school this school year. The decision was a hard-fought victory for EveryLibrary and hundreds of local school library advocates who campaigned for it before and through the pandemic.

Little Free Library Brings Read in Color Initiative to Detroit

The Little Free Library (LFL) brought its Read in Color diverse-books initiative to Detroit in partnership with Brilliant Detroit. Through the initiative, 14 new Little Free Library book-sharing boxes will be established in high-impact neighborhoods, and roughly 2,500 diverse books will be distributed to help promote understanding, equity, and inclusion.

The library is filled with books that provide perspectives on racism and social justice; amplify BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other diverse voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.

LFL’s national Read in Color initiative was introduced in Minneapolis last year in response to George Floyd’s murder. It has since rolled out in Washington, D.C., Tulsa, Oklahoma, Boston, New York and now Detroit.

BookFest@BankStreet Set for October

The Center for Children’s Literature at Bank Street College of Education will host the virtual BookFest@BankStreet on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The annual event, which is designed for adults, features members of the children’s literature community. Authors, illustrators, editors, reviewers, and scholars will take part in three panel discussions at this year’s program. Newbery winner and New Kid author and illustrator Jerry Craft will keynote.

Panelists and moderators include April Harrison, Oge Mora, Cozbi A. Cabrera, Chris Myers, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Carole Boston Weatherford. Panel discussions topics include: Black women picture book biographers; new imprints and voices in publishing; and a conversation with the creators of the picture book Milo Imagines the World by Newbery medalist Matt de la Peña and Caldecott recipient Christian Robinson.

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