2012 Sibert Medal and Honor Books


2012 Medal Winner

Balloons over Broadway cover imageBalloons over Broadway:  The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet, published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

The story of Tony Sarg, the artistic inventor who conceived the huge balloons that float through New York City each Thanksgiving. Beginning at a very young age, his never-ending zeal for play and discovery delighted millions, and likewise, Sweet’s festive words, mixed media illustrations and thorough research, bring their own contagious joy to this celebration of his life’s creative process.

“Sweet’s book rose above all others this year by brilliantly showing and telling the story of one person’s ideas with passion and panache, demonstrating the very best of what an informational book can be,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Andrew Medlar.


2012 Honor Books

Black and White co ver imageBlack & White:  The Confrontation between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor, written by Larry Dane Brimner and published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press, Inc.

This powerful examination of a crucial dichotomy in the civil rights movement focuses on two polar opposites—one man committed to ending segregation, and one just as determined to see it maintained—with visual elements as arresting as the stimulating words.




Drawing from Memory cover imageDrawing from Memory, written and illustrated by Allen Say and published by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Say, an esteemed children’s book creator, engagingly relays his early training, including the influences of his family and his artistic sensei, by filling his distinct scrapbook format with captivating text and dynamic illustrative styles, from watercolors to comics, which exudes enthusiasm and talent.





The Elephant Scientist image coverThe Elephant Scientist, written by Caitlin O’Connell and Donna M. Jackson, photographs byCaitlin O’Connell and Timothy Rodwelland published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Power-packed photos and prose transport readers to the dusty world of African elephants and a woman who studies such large mysteries as how they use their feet and trunks to communicate with other animals and sense distant thunder.  Throughout, O'Connell, Jackson, and Rodwell keep readers constantly engaged with curiosity sparked by the latest discoveries from the field.




Witches cover imageWitches!:  The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem written and illustrated by Rosalyn Schanzerand published by the National Geographic Society.

Whether being introduced or reintroduced to the topic, readers will be stunned by the research and accusations in this pivotal drama of American history.  With a size reminiscent of a prayer book and startling scratchboard-style illustrations, this work of art presents an account of our past and asks questions of our future.





Members of the 2012 Sibert Medal Committee are:  Chair Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library; Roxane L. Bartelt, Kenosha (Wis.) Public Library; Marian L. Creamer, Children’s Literature Alive!, Portland, Ore.; Karen MacPherson, Takoma Park (Md.) Library; April Mazza, Wayland (Mass.) Free Public Library; Susan Z. Melcher, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Ky.; Patty Saidenberg, George Jackson Academy, New York; Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library; and Deborah Taylor, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore.


Information books are defined as those written and illustrated to present, organize, and interpret documentable, factual material for children. There are no limitations as to the character of the book, although poetry and traditional literature are not eligible. Honor books may be named; they shall be books that are truly distinguished. The first award was announced at the Midwinter Meeting in 2001 and then presented at the ALSC Membership Meeting held during the Annual Conference.